|Calder Cup Playoffs | Second Round – Division Finals
Game 1 | Friday May 4, 2018 | Phantoms lead series 1-0
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Forward lines and defense pairings:
Martel – Vecchione – Aube-Kubel
Lindblom – Knight – Conner
Carey – Vorobyev – Fazleev
Krushelnyski – Bardreau – McDonald
Brennan – Friedman
Sanheim – Myers
Willcox – Lamarche
Sam Morin, Will O’Neill, Steven Swavely, Tyrell Goulbourne, Carsen Twarynski, Phil Varone, Pascal Laberge, David Drake, James de Haas, Isaac Ratcliffe, Anthony Stolarz, John Muse
After making relatively quick work of the Providence Bruins in the first round of the 2018 Calder Cup playoffs, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms welcomed the Charlotte Checkers to Allentown for the kickoff of the Division Finals best-of-seven series.
This game had a much different feel to it than the previous series, as both teams seemed a bit tentative while sizing each other up. The game moved more slowly and physical play was nearly nonexistent to start, but began to ramp up as the game moved along.
With Alex Lyon and Alex Nedeljkovic guarding their respective nets, the two teams found it difficult to get pucks over the goal lines. Valentin Zykov seemed to be in a constant spotlight as he took two minor penalties in the first period, and another one in the third which took Travis Sanheim out of the game with an apparent knee injury, as well as potting the first goal of the night through traffic on a screen.
With that momentum, the Checkers opened up the ice in the second period and outshot the Phantoms 15-9 in the frame. Despite finding themselves pinned in the defensive zone for much of the period, Lehigh Valley found a way to bury an equalizer when Alex Krushelnyski scooped up a rebound and lifted the puck over Nedeljkovic’s pads to make the score 1-1.
The Phantoms managed to outshoot Charlotte 15-3 in the third period, however they struggled to maintain puck possession as the Checkers consistently found ways to force turnovers and intercept pucks through the neutral zone.
It looked as if the game was heading to an inevitable overtime when Zykov tripped Sanheim, which left the Phantoms defenseman writhing in pain and needing help to get off the ice. Just six seconds into the ensuing power play, with 1:43 remaining in regulation, Greg Carey finished a quick tic-tac-toe sequence to give Lehigh Valley the win.
Both teams don’t have long to think about what happened in this game as they rematch at the PPL Center again on Saturday night. Lehigh Valley will be looking for another win to take a 2-0 lead into Charlotte next week, while the Checkers will be hoping to even the series before heading home for three games.
▲ Alex Lyon, Alex Krushelnyski, Greg Carey, T.J. Brennan, Corban Knight
▼ Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Mikhail Vorobyev
|1 for 5||Power Play||0 for 2|
|AHL Three Stars|
|Post-game interview with Alex Krushelnyski
Post-game interview with Greg Carey
Post-game interview with Alex Lyon
Post-game interview with Josiah Didier
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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