For future reference, don’t challenge Pheonix Copley, because he’s a pretty big dude!
What started out as a contentious first period turned into a masterful come-from-behind 5-4 victory for the Hershey Bears Saturday night in Lehigh Valley. The Bears now lead the best-of-five series 2-0 and have the Phantoms on the verge of elimination.
With 33 seconds to go in the third period, Chris Bourque tapped his inner Justin Williams and sniped a shot past Martin Ouellette who had to come on in relief of an injured Alex Lyon. Christian Djoos, who passed the puck to Bourque, earned the primary assist with Hubert Labrie earning the secondary assist to prevent the game from heading into overtime.
But early on, it seemed as if mental mistakes were going to doom the Bears. In an ugly and contentious first period that saw five “get-togethers” between the two clubs and eight roughing penalties doled out, Lehigh Valley capitalized twice on the PP.
TJ Brennan put the Phantoms up just 70 seconds into the game with a slap shot with Tyler Lewington in the penalty box.
But Stan Galiev tied the game at the 5:58 mark. Riley Barber and Madison Bowey worked the puck to the front of the net where Galiev was camped out, and the Russian wasted little time tying the game on the Bears’ first shot of the game.
The Phantoms regained the lead with 11.5 seconds left on the clock in the first period. That goal also came with Lehigh Valley on the man-advantage.
Hershey, who had a 5-on-3 advantage in the first period, did not get the equalizer until the 3:37 mark of the second. Off the faceoff win, Barber and Galiev sent the puck to Djoos for the goal.
Greg Carey then scored two goals late in the second period and appeared to have taken control of the game, but Chris Bourque took matters into his own hands as Bears fans have seen him do many times over the years.
First he deflected the puck into the net off a Bowey shot 7:27 into the final period. Alex Lyon then had to come out of the game after an apparent leg injury. His status for Wednesday’s game is not known.
On Hershey’s first shot on Ouellette, Tyler Lewington scored an unassisted goal tying the game at 4-4 with 10:05 left to play. The puck appeared to deflect off a Phantom stick from Lewington’s right point shot.
That paved the way for Bourque’s heroics; he is the all-time playoff scoring leader for Hershey.
Pheonix Copley stopped 30 of 34 shots as the Phantoms outshot the Bears by a 34-17 margin.
The series now shifts to Hershey for Game 3 Wednesday night. Game 4 will also be in Hershey on Saturday. if necessary. While the two teams seemed to settle down a bit after the first period with only two more roughing penalties assessed, with Lehigh Valley’s backs to the wall, the officiating crew for Wednesday’s game may have their hands full as well.
Hershey was 0-for-3 on the PP while the PK was 2-for-4.
Chris Bourque was the game’s first star and Galiev was the third.
The winner of this series will face the winner of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton-Providence series.
Video highlights from Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) April 16, 2017