|FINAL | 2018-19 Season, Game 9 | October 28, 2018
Giant Center, Hershey, PA
Forward lines and defense pairings:
Carey – Varone – Bardreau
Bunnaman – Vecchione – Conner
Twarynski – Vorobyev – Fazleev
Kase – Rubtsov – McDonald
Brennan – Samuelsson
Palmquist – Myers
de Haas – Friedman
Carter Hart, Reece Willcox, Taylor Leier
If games between the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are entertaining rivalry matchups, next in line for excitement are divisional games between the Phantoms and the Hershey Bears. Early Sunday evening marked the first of 12 times these two teams will meet over the course of this season, and the series kicked off with Hershey getting home ice advantage.
The Bears also took early control of the game when Mike Sgarbossa tipped in a blast from the point by Aaron Ness less than two minutes after opening puck drop. The Phantoms quickly tried to recover, and the pace of the game was fast and punishing. The speed of the game and the physicality between these two teams could have proved to be a factor for a Lehigh Valley team playing their sixth game in 10 days.
Earlier in the day, Mikhail Vorobyev was sent down from the Philadelphia Flyers and he found himself centering the third line with Carsen Twarynski and Radel Fazleev on his wings. The trio looked comfortable together and created some good chances.
But Alex Lyon was nonetheless busy in the crease, as the Bears peppered him with dangerous shots left and right. Some of Lyon’s rebounds looked a bit uncontrolled, but he and the defense managed to keep Hershey to just a single goal in the opening frame.
The second period started just like the first: with a quick goal by the Bears. This time it was Liam O’Brien who backhanded a rebound off of a shot by Jonas Siegenthaler to make it 2-0 for Hershey.
Despite being a physical game, it was very disciplined. Each team only took two minor penalties, and neither side could convert the man advantage into a scoring opportunity. About halfway through the period, the Phantoms finally got on the board when Connor Bunnaman buried Phil Varone‘s rebound to score his first professional goal.
Lyon found himself getting more frustrated as the game went on, due to a lot of incidental contact he seemed to be experiencing in the crease, and at one point he wasn’t afraid to let the officials know that he was getting fed up.
But the Bears kept coming, and the Phantoms didn’t seem to have an answer for their forechecking. In the third period, a penalty shot awarded to Hershey and Riley Barber put the puck right through Lyon’s elbow on his blocker side to give his team a two-goal lead. It was a hole that Lehigh Valley just couldn’t crawl out of.
After the game, head coach Scott Gordon called his team’s performance one of the worst of the season. Be sure to listen to his full interview in the player below. The Phantoms now head home for a bit of rest and some days of practice before heading to Binghamton on Friday night for a home-and-home series against the Devils.
▲ Connor Bunnaman, Mikhail Vorobyev, Phil Varone
▼ Mark Friedman, Alex Lyon, Cole Bardreau
|0 for 2||Power Play||0 for 2|
|AHL Three Stars|
|Post-game interview with Scott Gordon:
Post-game interview with Connor Bunnaman:
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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