|Calder Cup Playoffs | First Round
Game 4 | Saturday April 28, 2018 | Phantoms win series 3-1
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Forward lines and defense pairings:
Carey – Knight – Aube-Kubel
Martel – Vecchione – Connor
Lindblom – Bardreau – Krushelnyski
Goulbourne – Fazleev – McDonald
Brennan – Friedman
Willcox – Lamarche
Sanheim – Myers
Sam Morin, Will O’Neill, Mikhail Vorobyev, Steven Swavely, Carsen Twarynski, Phil Varone, Pascal Laberge, David Drake, James de Haas, Isaac Ratcliffe, Anthony Stolarz, John Muse
It was almost like deja vu at the PPL Center on Saturday night. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms, looking to close out their series against the Providence Bruins, outshot their opponent and gained an early lead in the first period, then regressed and allowed the visting team to take over and press back for the remainder of the game.
The teams looked tentative for the first five to ten minutes of the opening frame. Shots weren’t coming easily, and not much traffic was getting close to either net. Then T.J. Brennan wristed a shot beautifully from the point off a pass from Greg Carey to put the puck past Jordan Binnington.
Just over 30 seconds later, Chris Conner followed that up by banging home a rebound as he, Reece Willcox, and Oskar Lindblom drove the net hard. It seemed that Lehigh Valley had found their momentum and was ready to play.
But a minute later, things became unhinged as the tensions which had been brewing for this entire series finally boiled over. Philippe Myers took a hard hit in the corner, to which Travis Sanheim took exception. Seconds later, every player on the ice except for the goaltenders was involved in the scrum and every time the officials broke things up, guys would go at each other again. Even Binnington came out to the blue line to try to entice Alex Lyon to dance with him.
When penalties eventually got sorted out, and four players had received 10-minute misconducts for continuing an altercation, play finally resumed. Before the period ended, Conner had put the Phantoms up 3-0 with a textbook forehand-backhand move on a breakaway.
Binnington continued to put his emotions on display as he clipped Danick Martel as the teams left the ice, knocking off Martel’s helmet in the process. Binnington then taunted the crowd as he left the ice, and after giving up three goals on 14 shots he didn’t return to the crease to start the second period.
The middle frame was much quieter in terms of penalties and discipline but Providence started to tilt the ice in their favor as they pinned the Phantoms in the defensive zone and got 14 shots on Lyon in the process. They managed to finally get on the board late in the period.
With their season on the line, Providence wasn’t going to go down easily and it was all Bruins in the third period. Outshooting the Phantoms 18-4 in the period, there were just eight minutes left on the clock when Anton Blidh found his way through Lyon to bring his team within one goal. Austin Czarnik potted the equalizer three minutes later, which would force overtime.
Fatigue seemed to set in right away in the OT period for Lehigh Valley, who seemed to have nothing left in the tank. They again only mustered four shots on goal in the extra minutes, compared to Providence’s 14 shots.
Just when it looked like the teams were destined for a second overtime, with just over a minute left in the period, Maxime Lamarche flipped an innocent-looking shot towards Zane McIntyre and the puck found it’s way over the goal line. The home crowd erupted as their team took the series in dramatic fashion.
After an evening of celebration on home ice, the Phantoms now have about a week to prepare for their next opponent: the formidable Charlotte Checkers. Games one and two will take place at PPL Center on Friday and Saturday night.
▲ Chris Connor, Alex Lyon, T.J. Brennan, Travis Sanheim, Maxime Lamarche
▼ Tyrell Goulbourne, Mike Vecchione
|0 for 4||Power Play||0 for 3|
|AHL Three Stars|
|Post-game interview with Scott Gordon
Post-game interview with Alex Lyon
Post-game interview with Maxime Lamarche
Post-game interview with Chris Conner
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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