It’s time to Rally the Valley, folks.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms looked like they were down and out against the Providence Bruins on Friday night at the PPL Center. After scoring the first goal of the game just 31 seconds in, the Bruins quickly scored two to take the lead, and then added two more to go up 4-1 in the second period.
The Bruins held onto that lead through two periods and into the third, but the Phantoms Rallied in the Valley to secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
The Phantoms got it started early.
Scott Laughton’s deflection was the aforementioned opening goal to get the crowd into it early.
But it wasn’t until midway through the third period that the Phantoms got on the board again.
Colin McDonald found the loose puck off Laughton’s deflection in front and put the rebound home with nine minutes gone in the third period.
It gave the Phantoms life again as they were down by just two.
The Phantoms pulled their goalie for the extra attacker with over two minutes left, and they converted. Greg Carey got the puck in the slot and fired it past Zane McIntyre to make it a 4-3 game.
A great no-look pass and shot for the third goal of the night for the Phantoms.
The Phantoms could feel it now. They needed just one goal to push the game into the extra session.
Of course the Phantoms completed the comeback, well to tie it at least.
Andy Miele shot the puck from the faceoff circle and it found it’s way into the back of the net to tie up the game with 31 seconds left in the game!
The Phantoms were feeling it as they headed into overtime, and they made quick work of it.
Corban Knight crashed the net and finished Chris Conner’s cross-ice pass just 48 seconds into overtime.
The Phantoms showed off their exciting brand of hockey yet again this season to clinch home ice advantage in the first round. It was truly a team effort. There were five different goalscorers, with 10 players recording points in the game. Defensemen T.J. Brennan (three assists) and Travis Sanheim (two assists) led the way for the Phantoms.
With Anthony Stolarz on the shelf it was a team effort in net as well. Alex Lyon let in four goals on 14 shots and was pulled early in the second period in favor of Martin Ouellette, who was recalled from the Reading Royals. Ouelette stopped all 18 shots he faced in just his third game of the season with Lehigh Valley. He has been called upon twice this month and has stopped all 26 shots he’s faced.
The Phantoms will need more of this type of energy as they head into the playoffs. The building seemed to be electric on Friday night and it should be even louder as they host games one and two of the first round of the playoffs next weekend. But, before that, they finish up their season on Saturday night in Binghamton.
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