Lehigh Valley Phantoms vs Hershey Bears Game Recap: Line-up, Game Report, Statistics, Highlights, Three Stars, Post-Game Interviews, Philadelphia Flyers
|FINAL – OT | Game 1, Away Game 1 | Saturday, February 6, 2021|
|Giant Center, Hershey, PA|
Phantoms LineupForward lines
Ryan Fitzgerald – Cal O’Reilly – Zayde Wisdom
Maksim Sushko – Tanner Laczynski – Linus Sandin
Garrett Wilson – David Kase – Tyson Foerster
Samuel Morin – Chris Mueller – Max WillmanDefense pairings
Egor Zamula – Tyler Wotherspoon
Linus Hogberg – Derrick Pouliot
Chris Bigras – Wyatte WylieGoaltenders
Zane McIntyre – Felix SandstromScratches
Tanner MacMaster, Matt Strome, Logan Day, Ralph Cuddemi, Brennan Saulnier, Pascal Laberge, Eamon McAdam, Mason MillmanInjuries
Game Report written by Amy Johnson
After some shuffling, rescheduling, and canceling of preseason games, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms finally took to the ice at the PPL Center on Thursday night for the first and only exhibition game this season. They new-look club performed well, shutting out the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2-0. But today, after waiting for almost a year to return to game action, the Phantoms kicked off their 2020-21 season with a road game against the Hershey Bears.
This year marks the franchise’s 25th year, and the seventh year calling the Lehigh Valley home. The Phantoms have just nine returning members this year, and boasts nine rookie prospects like Zayde Wisdom, Tyson Foerster, Egor Zamula, Wyatte Wylie, Tanner Laczynski, & Linus Sandin.
Speaking of Wisdom, he became the youngest player in franchise history to skate in a game (18 years, 6 months, 30 days). He’s just 20 days younger than Derek Mathers, the former holder of this record, who played for the Adirondack Phantoms in 2012.
The Phantoms got off to a decent start to begin this game, maintaining a good pace, and putting pressure on Hershey’s Phoenix Copley in net. Foerster rifled a snap shot on Copley, trying to put the puck through the five-hole, but the Bears netminder closed the door. David Kase also looked as ready as he did in Thursday’s preseason game, getting involved every chance he could.
Wylie took the game’s first penalty, for delay of game, but the Phantoms penalty kill looked just as strong as it did against the Penguins. And yes, Samuel Morin did get out on the PK again. Scott Gordon mentioned this week that, not knowing how long Morin will be with the Phantoms, he wants to give the new forward as much ice time as possible, even if that means playing him on defense during the penalty kill.
Hershey went on to take three penalties in the opening period, but Lehigh Valley couldn’t convert any of those man-advantage opportunities.
Morin kicked off the middle frame by taking a tripping penalty and putting the Phantoms immediately on the PK. Again the penalty killers worked their system well and kept Hershey without a goal.
The Bears definitely put the pressure on in this period, though, and kept the Phantoms from registering a single shot on goal until well after the midway point in the frame. Hershey also peppered Zane McIntyre with shots, but the Lehigh Valley goaltender put on a terrific performance in the crease, making big glove saves and stretching across the crease.
Bears forward Kody Clark registered the first goal of the game when he drove the net hard up the middle and tipped a centering shot from Eddie Wittchow up and over McIntyre’s glove. After that, Gordon shuffled his lines a little bit, trying to generate some offensive pressure and shots, and Foerster found himself up on the first line in Wisdom’s place for a bit.
The third period got a bit messy, and more than a bit physical. To start, Damien Riat boarded Max Willman, sending him awkwardly into the boards. Willman was slow to get up, but seemed to be no worse for wear when he got back to the bench.
Just over five minutes later, in an apparent attempt to inject some energy into his bench, Morin dropped the gloves with Kale Kessy. Both forwards landed a couple of tepid hits each, but it was more of a grappling match than anything.
In the most concerning moment of the period, Joe Snively went down and took Foerster out at the knees in the process. The Phantoms rookie looked to be in quite a bit of pain as trainers came out to check on him, and it didn’t seem like he could put any weight on his right leg as he was helped off the ice.
As the final minutes ticked away at the Giant Center, it began to look as if the Phantoms would drop their opening game, until Chris Mueller won an offensive-zone faceoff, dishing the puck back to Wylie who one-timed it past Copley to tie the game with just 44 seconds left on the clock.
Two minutes into overtime, it was Wylie’s turn to set up a goal when he connected with Ryan Fitzgerald to put home the game winner.
What’s Next?Wisdom performed well, laying some pretty big hits in open ice, and even briefly leaving for the dressing room for repairs before returning to the game and getting some good chances on net. We’ll have to wait to find out a prognosis on Foerster’s apparent injury. The Phantoms managed to stick to their systems and pull out an inspired last-minute (literally!) victory in their first game of the season.
Plus / Minus
▲ David Kase, Zane McIntyre, Wyatte Wylie, Maksim Sushko
▼ Derrick Pouliot, Linus Hogberg
|0 for 5||Power Play||0 for 3|
Stars of the Game
|AHL Official Three Stars|
What Did They Say?
Post-game interviews not currently available for Phantoms away games due to COVID-19 media protocols.
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for The AHL Report
|Follow @TheAHLReport and @TheFlyersReport on Twitter|
Make that a 2-pt night for @LVPhantoms @WyatteWylie86 – scored the game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation, & got the assist on Ryan Fitzgerald's OT winner. What a night for the rookie!@TheAHLReport @theflyersreport @WHLsilvertips #Flyers #AnytimeAnywhere @NHLFlyers— Amy (@FlyersRule) February 6, 2021