Rob Zepp Establishes New Lehigh Valley Phantoms Record

November 7, 2014

Manchester, NH – The Manchester Monarchs kept coming and coming. With a seemingly endless barrage of drives at veteran goalie Rob Zepp, the Phantoms were somehow able to push their way through to a heart-stopping 3-2 victory in central New Hampshire on Friday night.

The 33-year-old Zepp established a new record in the young history of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms with his 42 saves as part of his best performance of the year. Not bad at all for a guy who hadn’t played on this continent for almost a decade while he was honing his craft in Finland and Germany.

Veteran Andrew Gordon scored a pair of goals and rookie Taylor knocked added another during the team’s three-goal outburst in the final ten minutes of the middle period that proved to be the difference in the thrilling and physical victory over the top affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.

From there, it was a matter of scratching, clawing and blocking their way to the finish line through a 16-4 shot disparity in the third period. This wasn’t solely the Robb Zepp show though. His teammates in front had a number of key blocks including some big ones from Oliver Lauridsen and Brandon Manning among others.

The Phantoms found themselves once again skating a man short for most of the contest after second-year center Nick Cousins received a game misconduct for his five-minute boarding major. The shorthanded crew came through with an early five-minute kill to help the Phantoms hold the game scoreless through 20 minutes.

Colin Miller picked his corner early from the left circle on a second period power play to give Manchester the initial lead.

But Oliver Lauridsen’s fight with fellow big-man Justin Auger seemed to provide the Phantoms with the spark they needed. After being out shot by the Monarchs 20-5 to that point, Lehigh Valley then turned the tables on Manchester for a 16-8 shot difference for the rest of the frame.

Just three minutes after Lauridsen’s fight, Andrew Gordon converted on the power play from Scott Laughton and Zack Stortini at 10:51 of the second period to tie the score at 1-1. Then it was Gordon again, shortly after a faceoff win by Scott Laughton, tipping a shot from Shayne Gostisbehere at 15:03 to put the Phantoms in front 2-1.

In between Gordon’s goals, Derek Mathers accepted former Philadelphia Phantom Josh Gratton’s invitation to drop the gloves in another inspired bout but momentum stayed on Lehigh Valley’s side.

Three minutes after Gordon had give the Phantoms the lead, it was rookie Taylor Leier getting to a rebound off Manchester goalie J.F. Berube to poke home a loose puck in the crease for a valuable third goal.

Nick Dowd received a pass in front of the net after a successful Monarchs dig in the corner. He was able to steer in his first of the season past the left skate of Zepp at eight minutes into the third period to pull the host Monarchs within one.

When Zack Stortini was charged with an elbowing major for another five-minute power play for the Monarchs with just 8:46 remaining, it perhaps seemed to the fans on hand that the table was set for a Manchester comeback. But the Monarchs picked up two minor penalties of their own through their long power play including a late slashing penalty by Colin Miller breaking up a nifty two-on-one shorthanded rush by Brandon Alderson and Petr Straka.

Those penalties combined with some stingy penalty-kill play yet again helped the Phantoms in front. And Rob Zepp was able to hold down the fort to the final seconds in the exciting finish.

Zepp improves to 5-1-1 as the Phantoms overall record shoots above .500 again at 5-4-1. The Monarchs fell to 5-4-0. This was Lehigh Valley’s only visit to New Hampshire this year. The team teams will not meet again until March 29 when the Monarchs visit the PPL Center for a Sunday afternoon contest.

Manchester out shot the Phantoms 44-25. Lehigh Valley’s penalty kill was a huge factor in the game and limited the Monarchs to 1-for-6 even without Nick Cousins and also Darroll Powe who was serving the first of a two-game suspension. The Phantoms were 1-for-4 on the power play and are now 5-1-0 in games in which they score a power-play goal.

Shayne Gostisbehere recorded a pair of assists but left the game in the third period with an injury after crashing out into the boards.

Manchester head coach Mike Stothers was a long-time member of the Philadelphia Flyers organization as a player and a coach for two decades. Stothers was the assistant coach for the Philadelphia Phantoms under Bill Barber for their first four years of existence from 1996-97 through 1999-2000 and was also an assistant coach for the Flyers for two years. This game marked the first time ever that Stothers opposed the Phantoms.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms conclude their New England trek on Saturday night at the Portland Pirates. They wrap up their stretch of four consecutive away games next Friday at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

The Phantoms begin a nice run of home games next Saturday, November 15th against the Toronto Marlies. Lehigh Valley also has home games on November 19th, 21st and 22nd against Hershey, Worcester and St. John’s. Tickets are available at pplcenter.com or by calling 610-347-TIXX (8499) or in person at the Mealey’s Furniture Box Office at the main entrance of PPL Center.

Check it out! Don’t miss the action and fun of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey at PPL Center in downtown Allentown! Contact the Phantoms Front Office for information on season tickets and affordable partial-season plans by calling 610-224-GOAL (4625).

Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3 at Manchester Monarchs 2 – Status: Final
Friday, November 7, 2014 – Verizon Wireless Arena

Lehigh Valley 0 3 0 – 3
Manchester 0 1 1 – 2

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Cousins Lv (major – boarding, game misconduct – boarding), 7:56; Horvat Mch (interference), 18:04.

2nd Period-1, Manchester, Miller 3 (McBain, Backman), 3:46 (PP). 2, Lehigh Valley, Gordon 2 (Laughton, Stortini), 10:51 (PP). 3, Lehigh Valley, Gordon 3 (Gostisbehere, Hagg), 15:03. 4, Lehigh Valley, Leier 3 (Gostisbehere, Manning), 18:08. Penalties-Gordon Lv (slashing), 3:22; Schultz Mch (hooking), 5:35; Lauridsen Lv (fighting), 7:44; Auger Mch (fighting), 7:44; Schultz Mch (tripping), 9:56; Mathers Lv (fighting), 11:23; Gratton Mch (fighting), 11:23; Alderson Lv (high-sticking), 12:37.

3rd Period-5, Manchester, Dowd 1 (Gratton, Backman), 8:16. Penalties-Stortini Lv (major – elbowing), 11:14; O’Neill Mch (high-sticking), 11:47; Miller Mch (slashing), 14:46; Alderson Lv (hooking), 17:18.

Shots on Goal-Lehigh Valley 5-16-4-25. Manchester 15-13-16-44.
Power Play Opportunities-Lehigh Valley 1 / 4; Manchester 1 / 6.
Goalies-Lehigh Valley, Zepp 5-1-0 (44 shots-42 saves). Manchester, Berube 3-3-0 (25 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Terry Koharski (10), Jake Brenk (15).
Linesmen-Joe Ross (92), Alex Stagnone (7).

Upcoming Home Games:

Saturday, November 15, 2014, Toronto Marlies vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 PM

Wednesday, November 19, 2014, Hershey Bears vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 PM

Friday, November 21, 2014, Worcester Sharks vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 PM

Saturday, November 22, 2014, St. John’s IceCaps at Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 PM

In their 19th season of operation, the Phantoms are currently in the midst of their Inaugural Season as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms playing at the brand-new PPL Center. Established in 1996, the Philadelphia Phantoms spent their first 13 seasons at the Spectrum before re-locating to Glens Falls, New York in 2009 where the team spent the next five seasons as the Adirondack Phantoms. A new era of Phantoms hockey began in the fall of 2014 when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms began play at the state-of-the-art PPL Center. Through 18 incredibly successful campaigns, the Phantoms have captured two Calder Cup Championships (1998, 2005), two Conference Championships (1998, 2005), two Regular Season Titles (1996-97, 1997-98) and four Division Championships (1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 2003-04).