Coming off a tough loss Friday in Springfield, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms returned home on Saturday looking for some measure of revenge against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. In the last two contest between the Atlantic Division rivals, the Phantoms have been outscored 12-2, with both losses coming away from the PPL Center.
While they did manage to get a point in the standings, they came out on the shiort end of the score line again. Penguins Captain Tom Kostopoulos tallied his 20th of the season, and Tristan Jarry made 34 saves to snap Wilkes-Barre-Scranton’s four game losing streak.
The teams traded chances in the first, but it was a defensive miscue that handed the Penguins the lead late in the period. An ill-advised cross ice pass by Robert Hagg was picked off by Kevin Porter, and he broke in two on one with Kostopoulos. the 39 year old veteran did not miss, beating Alex Lyon from the right circle.
The Phantoms tied the game at 8:43 of the second, thanks to power play maestro Greg Carey. At the tail end of a Jean-Sebastien Dea holding the stick penalty, Andy Miele and T.J. Brennan worked the puck around the zone and found Carey in the right circle. Carey wasted no time in beating Jarry for his 25h of the season.
Lehigh Valley expanded their lead six minutes later, when Danick Martel barely got his stick on the rebound of a Chris Conner wraparound. It was Martel’s 14th of the season. Just before the Martel Goal, a Travis Sanheim slapshot appeared to go in, but the puck hit the crossbar and came straight down, never crossing the goal line.
The lead was short lived, however.
1:52 later, Jarrett Burton deflected an Oskar Sundqvist cxentering pass from the left corner past Lyon for his second of the season. That would send the teams to the locker room tied at two.
Dea put the Penguins into the lead early in the third, one-timing a Dominik Simon centering pass from the corner at 2:04.
The Phantoms rallied back midway through the period, when Corban Knight buried the rebound of a Will O’Neill slapshot on the power play for his seventh goal of the season.
The Phantoms dominated the majority of possession in overtime, and nearly won it on the stick of Scott Laughton. With three minutes left, Laughton went coast to coast. After cutting to the slot, he couldn’t slip the puck around the outstreched leg of Jarry.
Simon got a rush back the other way, and while Lyon made the first safe, neither he nor Chris Conner could stop Barry Goers’ shot for from going in. The goal, Goers’ first since April of 2015, secured a crucial extra point in the standings for the Penguins.
Notes: With the win, the Phantoms gap to first place sits at eight. Forward Taylor Leier remained an injury scratch, having played since the AHL All-Star Classic at the end of January.
3 Stars: 3) WBS-Jean-Sebastien Dea
3) WBS-Jean-Sebastien Dea (Goal, Assist)
2) LV-Greg Carey (Goal, Assist)
1) WBS-Barry Goers (Game-Winning Goal)
Up Next: Lehigh Valley starts a weekend three in three when they look for revenge at the MassMutual Center, facing the Springfield Thunderbirds at 7:05.