PROVIDENCE, RI — Streaks end. It’s a fact in sports. Eventually, any winning streak, no matter how long, will end.
For 40 minutes Friday night, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms looked headed for a certain defeat. Then they flipped a switch. Scott Laughton (pictured) tallied the overtime winner, and Greg Carey erased a two-goal deficit in the final frame Friday night in Providence.
The result? A 4-3 Phantoms victory, their eighth in a row.
The first period was arguably the Phantoms worst of the season. Thanks to penalties by Maxim LaMarche and Cole Bardreau, Providence jumped out by two in the first 10 minutes. First, Tommy Cross one-timed a Matt Grzelcyk pass over the shoulder of Alex Lyon. Less than three minutes later, a great individual effort by Wayne Simpson added to the lead. Simpson picked up the rebound of a Jordan Szwarz shot, tracked around the back of the net and backhanded it off Lyon’s skate.
Providence controlled things until late in the period. Four seconds before a Jordan Szwarz penalty ended, LaMarche bombed a one-timer over Malcolm Subban’s shoulder at 18:02. Assists went to Danick Martel and Taylor Leier.
The Phantoms continued to sleepwalk in the second, and it cost them. Jordan Szwarz momentarily made it 3-1 when he batted a puck out of the air after it bounced off the backboards into the air, but it was ruled to be touched with a high stick. It didn’t matter, though, because Colby Cave restored the two-goal advantage just over a minute later. Wayne Simpson centered the puck, and Cave tipped the puck through Lyon’s pads and into the net. It was Cave’s second of the season.
Something happened in the locker room between periods, because the Phantoms dominated the third, and they were led by Greg Carey. Providence had a couple chances to put the game away, but they couldn’t make it happen. Matt DeBrusk was stopped in the slot on a sparkling defensive spot by Corban Knight, and then Colton Hargrove hit the right post on a spinning shot from the slot two minutes later.
Cue the Greg Carey show.
Carey’s ninth of the season came at 12:36 when he slid a shot in tight through the crease. Chris Conner collected the puck behind the net, found Carey and this time, he made it count. The secondary assist went to Martel.
Less than five minutes later, The Phantoms forced overtime with Carey’s team-leading tenth of the season and second power-play goal of the night. He went coast to coast and fired a wrister from the near circle that Subban misjudged. It deflected off his right pad and skipped into the net.
Overtime was a back and forth affair as three-on-three often is, both teams went end to end trading chances. It was a costly defensive turnover on a breakout past that cost the Bruins the victory. Travis Sanheim intercepted a breakout pass as two Bruins were cherry picking at center ice. Sanheim found Taylor Leier in the slot, and he found Scott Laughton in the near circle, and he went top shelf over Subban to seal the victory.
Notes: Forward Steven Swavely recalled from the ECHL’s Reading Royals earlier in the day, as Jordan Weal was unable to play after getting banged up in Wednesday’s contest against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Impressions: I’m running out of ways to describe this team. Just when you think they are about to lose, they find another gear and win. If you watched the first two periods, you would swear that the tea, that came out for the third wasn’t the same group of guys. Anyone that says that they knew that the Phantoms would outshoot Providence 18-5 in the third is lying.
It wasn’t all perfect, though, Alex Lyon will want a couple of those goals back, I’m sure. Also, Travis Sanheim struggled mightily before setting up the game-winner.
3) PRO-Wayne Simpson (Goal, Assist)
2) LV-Greg Carey (Two Goals)
1) LV-Scott Laughton (Overtime Game Winner)
Up Next: The Phantoms bussed overnight to Bridgeport, CT to face the Sound Tigers Saturday at 7:05.