The top two teams in the Atlantic Division met Friday night in Allentown.
As it has been so far in the season series, it was a big bully beatdown. But, it’s not a one-sided affair, as both teams are really good and no team dominates the other all season. These two sides are evenly matched.
5-2 Phantoms win tonight. Alex Lyon is the difference in this one as the Penguins chase starter Dustin Tokarski less than ten minutes into the first period and Lyon stops all 26 shots faced the rest of the way. Nic Aube-Kubel scored a pair of goals and its again “those guys” that get us “this time.”
A hell of a series to watch if you don’t have a dog in the fight. I’m sensing a clash in the Calder Cup Playoffs between these two at some point down the line.
Zach Aston-Reese — Greg McKegg — Ryan Haggerty
Garrett Wilson – Gage Quinney – Daniel Sprong
Adam Johnson – Jarrett Burton – Colin Smith
Thomas Di Pauli – Teddy Blueger – Christian Thomas
Andrey Pedan – Kevin Czuczman
Jarred Tinordi – Zach Trotman
Chris Summers – Frank Corrado
Anthony Peters – Tristan Jarry
Lineup Notes: J-S Dea was re-assigend by Pittsburgh earlier in the day but Dea did not dress. Neither did Tom Kostopoulos. Expect one, or both, Saturday at home against Binghamton. Clark Donatelli still has some bite on his curveball. He told WBS media yesterday that Tristan Jarry was starting both games but it was Anthony Peters that got the start tonight.
One other note which gets its own paragraph, radio mentioned during the game that tonight was the last game for Christian Thomas before he heads to Pyongyang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics where he will represent Team Canada in Men’s Ice Hockey.
First Period: Really active period. Phantoms battled back from one goal deficits twice and starting goaltender Dustin Tokarski only lasted 6:26 into the game after giving up two goals on three shots. Here’s the first from Daniel Sprong…
That was :54 into the game.
Phantoms got one right back when Greg Carey scored here to make it 1-1.
Nice redirect there, but Zach Aston-Reese had a better one as he scored on a redirect of a shot from the point by Andrey Pedan that made it 2-1 and shared Tokarski.
Elite play by Aston-Reese. Phantoms defender draped all over him, cross checks him and he gets a stick on it falling down. Here’s another look…
Things settled for the Phantoms after that as Alex Lyon would enter the game.
Pens would lose Nic Aube-Kubel in the neutral zone, he would break in and score to make it 2-2 heading into the second. First, the goal…
Second Period: Frank Corrado and Jarred Tinordi pinch on a play the sees TJ Brennan squirt through and score to make it 3-2 Lehigh Valley.
Just awful defending there that deep in your own zone and super quick transition by Lehigh Valley to edge ahead.
Lehigh Valley would pepper Anthony Peters with shots on a power play but Peters was up to the challenge and kept it a 3-2 game.
Daniel Sprong appeared to have scored on a play, but a disagreement between Andrey Pedan and the aforementioned Brennan in front of Peters crease nullified the would be tying goal for the Pens by Sprong.
Shots were 19-17 Phantoms heading into the…
Third Period: Back and forth to open, neither team scoring. TJ Brennan takes his third penalty of the game, and you could point to the Penguins lack of success on the power play tonight and all season really to help spring them in the right direction as one of the reasons they couldn’t build any momentum when they had the man advantage. Wilkes-Barre went 0-for-5 on the power play tonight.
Wilkes-Barre, after the power play expired, can’t score in a furious rush near Lyon and back the other way by Peters, Mike Vecchione pounds home a Peters rebound that makes it 4-2.
1:12 later, Aube-Kubel scores his second of the night to make it 5-2.
Wide open in the neutral zone, collects the puck, darts in and scores.
Pens couldn’t get anything going. On their fifth and final power play, Lehigh Valley had two good shorthanded tries.
Three Stars: 3) TJ Brennan (goal, +3) 2) Nic Aube-Kubel (two goals, assist, +3) and 1) Alex Lyon (26 saves on 26 shots)
Around the Division: Providence crushes Hershey 5-2. Seven losses in a row for Hershey and fading fast….Springfield hands on to beat Bridgeport in a fun one 5-3 and Hartford edges Charlotte 3-2 in a shootout.
Standings: Penguins (.675 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.640) — Providence (.619) — Charlotte (.583) — Bridgeport (.558) — Hartford (.477) — Hershey (.477) — Springfield (.457)
Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 2-1 in overtime at home against Reading. Reid Gardiner had the goals for Wheeling. Adam Morrison takes the overtime loss, stopping 27 of 29.
If I see a highlight package out of Lehigh Valley, I will work an edit in here.
Pens host Binghamton in what will likely be a sellout crowd Saturday night. The game will be on TV if you can’t make it down. Gameday setup hits here Saturday afternoon at 3.