Lehigh Valley Phantoms
On a night their NHL affiliate earned a victory over the New York Rangers, the Hershey Bears fell 5-4 to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, despite an eventful and energized comeback.
- Pheonix Copley got the nod in net for Hershey, with blueliners Aaron Ness and Tyler Lewington, and forwards Liam O’Brien, Jeremy Langlois, and Dustin Gazley making up the starting lineup for Head Coach Troy Mann.
- Connor Hobbs is still out after injuring his wrist earlier this season. He is skating with the team, but still with no contact.
- Travis Boyd has returned to the lineup after spending two games with the Washington Capitals.
- Tyler Graovac did not play tonight after clearing waivers and being re-assigned to the AHL by the Capitals
Copley began the first period with three big saves after a faceoff in the Bears’ defensive zone. After a Bears turnover caused by a miscommunication, the Phantoms had themselves a prime opportunity and left wing Tyrell Goulbourne did not disappoint, as he fired the puck under the pads of Copley to give Lehigh Valley the 1-0 lead.
Just under halfway through the first frame, Bears forward Chris Bourque set up rookie defenseman Lucas Johansen for a prime scoring opportunity, but came just inches from making it an even game. Hershey continued to have many great passing setups, but just couldn’t seem to get the puck past Lehigh Valley goaltender Dustin Tokarski.
John Albert scored his second goal of the season and Hershey’s first goal of the night at the 17:17 mark, making the game 1-1 with 2:83 left in the first, on assists from Anthony Peluso and Mason Mitchell. The Phantoms did not take long to respond and answered back with just 57.6 seconds to play in the first on a goal from Adam Comrie. The Phantoms led after the first period 2-1, and held the advantage in shots 13-9.
Just 4:13 into the middle frame, the Phantoms struck again on a goal from Mike Vecchione, making it a 3-1 game. Vitek Vanecek replaced Copley between the pipes for Bears Head Coach Troy Mann. The Bears continued to give the Phantoms momentum as Liam O’Brien was called for holding, giving the Phantoms the first man-advantage of the night. Hershey was able to kill of the Lehigh Valley power play to keep the game within two, but a soft call on Anthony Peluso for hooking sent Hershey on their second penalty kill of the game.
Hershey was given a great opportunity to bring the game within one as they were awarded with their first power play of the night. Ness had a great look but was robbed by Tokarski. Lehigh Valley was able to get one over Vanecek’s blocker at the 15:47 mark to take a commanding 4-1 lead.
Phantoms defenseman Maxim Lamarche was called for interference with 3:04 left in the period, giving the Bears their second power play. The Bears were again, unable to take advantage of the one-man advantage and found themselves down 4-1 after 40 minuets had expired and behind in shots, 20-13 .
The Phantoms struck early in the third to take a dominating 5-1 lead, but Lucas Johansen responded under a minute later, bringing the Bears within three. Ness took a hit to his right side and doubled over in pain, but there was no whistle to stop play, forcing the Bears to play a man down for more time than desired.
With 13:50 to play in the third, Bears forward Mathias Bau slipped the puck in past Tokarski to make it a 5-3 game and give the Bears a fighting chance. The fun didn’t stop there, as Ness scored his second of the season with 2:28 to go to bring the game within one. The Phantoms gave the Bears a gift of a power play with 54 seconds left in the final frame. Coach Troy Mann pulled Vanecek to give Hershey the 6-on-4 advantage to finish out the third period. The Bears had some great opportunities and played a great third period, but were unable to tie the game giving Lehigh Valley the 5-4 victory.
By Allison Shuey