|Calder Cup Playoffs | Second Round – Division Finals
Game 3 | Tuesday May 8, 2018 | Phantoms lead series 2-1
Bojangles Coliseum, Charlotte, NC
Forward lines and defense pairings:
Carey – Knight – Fazleev
Lindblom – Vecchione – Conner
Martel – Vorobyev – McDonald
Goulbourne – Bardreau – Krushelnyski
Brennan – Friedman
Morin – Myers
Willcox – Lamarche
Travis Sanheim, Will O’Neill, Steven Swavely, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Carsen Twarynski, Phil Varone, Pascal Laberge, David Drake, James de Haas, Isaac Ratcliffe, Anthony Stolarz, John Muse
The big question on the table leading into Tuesday night’s game in Charlotte? Finding out how the Lehigh Valley Phantoms would respond to their 6-0 defeat on home ice last Saturday. To make matters more difficult, Nicolas Aube-Kubel has been suspended for three games, and Travis Sanheim and Phil Varone are still on the injury list.
For the first few minutes after the initial puck drop, Charlotte controlled the puck and tested Alex Lyon in the crease a few times. But then momentum drastically shifted, just over three minutes into the game, when Mike Vecchione scooped up a rebound and lit the lamp to put the Phantoms on the board first.
Just moments later, Danick Martel potted his third goal of the postseason as he cut through traffic in the slot and pushed the puck past Alex Nedeljkovic as Martel fell to the ice.
It was a disciplined period, with no penalties taken by either team, but soon into the middle frame Alex Krushelnyski headed to the box for closing his hand around the puck. Only 10 seconds into the Charlotte power play, Valentin Zykov found the back of the net on a rebound to bring the Checkers within one goal.
But the Phantoms didn’t back down. Chris Conner fired a wrister from the top of the circle that lifted the puck up over Nedeljkovic’s shoulder to regain a two-goal lead for Lehigh Valley, followed by Oskar Lindblom getting in close to the crease and flicking a wobbly rebound over the goal line.
That goal chased Nedeljkovic from the net and brought Jeremy Smith into the game. The teams headed to the second intermission with the Phantoms leading 4-1.
The third period was all Charlotte, but Lyon stood tall and turned aside 19 shots in the frame. The Checkers pulled Smith with about four minutes left in the game, but Greg Carey forced a turnover in the neutral zone as he jumped out of the penalty box and, after he was tackled to the ground, Lindblom picked up the puck to bury an empty-netter.
Lehigh Valley now leads the series 2-1 and put forth a tremendous bounceback effort in Charlotte for this game. They’ll need to continue that kind of gameplay on Wednesday night when the Checkers will certainly be looking to even the series once again.
▲ Alex Lyon, Oskar Lindblom, Mike Vecchione, Danick Martel, Philippe Myers, Greg Carey
|1 for 2||Power Play||1 for 4|
|AHL Three Stars|
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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