Just expecting to go into another teams building because of past success in said building against said opponent is a dangerous way to do business when you are pursuing a playoff spot.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms didn’t have a single power play goal tonight but still managed to get two special teams goals by Cole Bardreau and defeat the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins 4-2.
The Penguins, the control car in the Atlantic Division for other teams magic numbers, help Hershey lower their magic number to two and the Providence Bruins, the only other team besides the day’s opponent that matters to the Penguins lower theirs to six.
The Bruins lost in Bridgeport 4-3 in regulation tonight. They host Utica, who shutout Hartford down the road in Connecticut tonight 4-0 on Sunday. Each team has four games left. The Penguins cannot be a playoff team by the end of the weekend.
Flat effort all around by the Penguins tonight. Lehigh Valley jumped on the Pens from the beginning and I got the sense that all Wilkes-Barre needed to do was withstand the rush by the Phantoms and let the game come to them but the hits kept coming.
Regroup and get back at it Sunday.
Tristan Jarry opposed Alex Lyon.
Lineup Notes: Top three lines untouched, Jordy Bellerive made his professional debut, centering Chase Berger and Jimmy Hayes. Calen Addison, fresh off of signing a three year entry level contract with Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon, was paired with Chris Summers. Bellerive replaced Chase Berger and Addison replaced Michael Kim. John Muse backed up.
First Period: Flurry of offense from the Phantoms, who get one to go in a pile of bodies when Tyrell Goulbourne scores to give the Phantoms the lead.
Felt at the time that all the Penguins needed to do was get out of the mad rush by the Phantoms to win the game in the first ten minutes and then take control.
Alex Lyon was dialed in early, stopping a Kevin Czuczman shot teed up for him by Sam Lafferty.
Penguins were headed to a power play, the only of the period, and it was a chance to level things.
Only Cole Bardreau had other ideas.
Steals it from Haggerty, dances past Prow and leaves defenders in his wake. Rough goal to give up in the sequence for Wilkes-Barre.
But then, on the same power play, Sam Lafferty dangles his way in, dishes to Ryan Haggerty and scored on his knee a goal that cut the deficit to one.
Penguins somehow outshot the Phantoms 7-6 despite the lollygag start.
Second Period: Very contentious period. The Penguins were robbed of a goal that should have counted and allowed yet another shorthanded goal to fall down a pair of goals.
First, the disallowed goal. Adam Johnson was hooked driving to the net and still managed to get a shot off and it went in.
Only the referee, I couldn’t tell if it was Mike Duco or Mike Dietrich down there in the corner, washed the would be goal out. Take a look.
Two things. First, hit play on the video above and watch Lyon’s glove, then watch the referee make the move to his mouth. You have the hand being quicker than the eye and the intent to blow. You would have liked to see the other referee jump in there and say that Lyon never had the puck covered, but I don’t think they can overrule intent to blow. It sucks, given the circumstances.
What sucks even more, is that Cole Bardreau scored his second shorthanded goal of the game that extended the Phantoms lead to two.
Penguins couldn’t get anything going by way of a later power play, almost playing too cautious to not allow a third shorthanded goal, so it was 3-1 Phantoms heading off to the…
Third Period: Byron Froese, the stone in the shoe of the Penguins for a while now, scored on a wraparound to effectively salt the game away with this goal that made it 4-1.
Brandon Hawkins scored with just south of six minutes remaining to make it a two goal game and you started to think if the Penguins could stage yet another third period comeback in Allentown that would be epic.
But, with Jarry pulled for the extra attacker, no more offense would come.
Pens would go on to outshoot the Phantoms 35-23. Lyon was good for Lehigh Valley and their penalty kill was better.
Three Stars: 3) Alex Lyon (33 saves) 2) Byron Froese (goal, assist) 1) Cole Bardreau (two shorthanded goals)
If Lehigh Valley sets up video highlights and I can work an edit tin before now and 11 am Sunday I will work it in here. 11 am Sunday is the Gameday setup for the rematch in Allentown.
Let’s Go Pens!