|Calder Cup Playoffs | Second Round – Division Finals
Game 2 | Saturday May 5, 2018 | Series even at 1-1
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Forward lines and defense pairings:
[one_half]Martel – Vecchione – Aube-Kubel
[one_half_last]Brennan – Friedman
Travis Sanheim, Radel Fazleev, Will O’Neill, Steven Swavely, Carsen Twarynski, Phil Varone, Pascal Laberge, David Drake, James de Haas, Isaac Ratcliffe, Anthony Stolarz, John Muse
The first game of this series was relatively calm, tightly played, and seemed to be a battle of goaltending as the Phantoms barely eeked out a one-goal win on Friday night.
Saturday night’s rematch, however, was a completely different story. With Travis Sanheim declared out for the remainder of the series with a lower body injury after taking what looked like a hit to the knee late in Friday’s game, both teams came out with a bit of an edge.
Less than four minutes after puck drop, Nicolas Aube-Kubel took a high shot at Charlotte defender Josiah Didier, hitting him in the head and knocking him to the ice. Didier needed assistance to get off the ice and had a lot of trouble staying upright on his skates. Aube-Kubel is a repeat offender for hits to the head, so despite only receiving a two-minute interference penalty, look for the league to review this play with potential for discipline.
After that incident, the discipline at both ends of the ice went drastically downhill – and quickly. The teams combined for a total of 78 penalty minutes, complete with 11 roughing penalties, two boarding minors, and three 10-minute misconducts. It was an ugly, drawn-out battle between two teams who suddenly don’t like each other one bit.
The difference maker in this game was the Checkers’ power play units were clicking at all levels, scoring four out of eight times they were on the power play, while the Phantoms’ man-advantage came up short and couldn’t capitalize on any of their six opportunities.
To make matters worse, Lehigh Valley also couldn’t score while five-on-five. Down 4-0 to start the third period, the Phantoms chased the puck and the play but couldn’t find the back of the net. Alex Nedeljkovic made some very solid saves and looked confident all night long. With Charlotte finding their way past Dustin Tokarski two more times in the final minute of the game, Lehigh Valley lost all steam and now look ahead to the next game.
One positive note on the night was the return of Samuel Morin to the defense. Even though he was brought in to replace an injured Sanheim, Morin looked to be in good shape and form and will be a commanding presence on the blue line going forward in the series.
With the series now tied 1-1, the teams head south to Charlotte for the next three games. The Phantoms will need to win at least one of those games in North Carolina in order to force a Game 6 back in Allentown in front of their hometown crowd.
▼ Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Cole Bardreau, Danick Martel
|0 for 6||Power Play||4 for 8|
|AHL Three Stars|
|Post-game interview with Head Coach Scott Gordon
Post-game interview with Colin McDonald
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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