Astounding Ustimenko in 2-1 Loss at Syracuse
Syracuse, N.Y. - Rookie goalie Kirill Ustimenko turned in a magnificent 36-save performance in his return to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms but ultimately the host Syracuse Crunch held on for a 2-1 victory on Saturday night.
Carsen Twarynski (5th) broke Spencer Martin's shutout bit with just 58 seconds remaining but the Phantoms could not find the equalizer in the intense finish.
Ustimenko faced a barrage of point-blank Syracuse scoring chances in the first period making 19 saves on 20 shots while athletically moving to get a piece of almost everything the Crunch shooters threw his way. Alex Barre-Boulet (23rd) scored from the right of the cage on a nifty reverse from behind the goal by Matthieu Joseph setting him up but otherwise "Usti" was perfect. The 21-year-old goalie from Belarus had just been brought back up from Reading on Thursday and was playing his second career game in the AHL and his first since his winning debut at Wilkes-Barre two weeks earlier.
Lehigh Valley (23-25-8) was behind the eight-ball for much of the second period in a game in which the team successfully killed seven Syracuse power plays. The Crunch had two full minutes of 5-on-3 in the middle frame but the Phantoms hung on to stay within one. Mark Friedman, returned to the Phantoms from Philadelphia earlier in the day, came up with a big shot block in the key sequence.
Shayne Gostisbehere unloaded a big shot from the left circle in the opening minute of the third period in an attempt to equalize but Martin had pivoted over to his right and then reached way across with the glove to make perhaps the best save of the evening in the splendid goaltenders' duel.
Syracuse (26-22-8) finally pushed their lead to 2-0 when one player drove to the net from the right corner and Ustimenko was flipped with the contact. Dominik Masin (2nd) ripped a big slapper from the high slot for the team's second goal as the Phantoms goalie was still recovering and gaining his orientation.
Lehigh Valley scored a 6-on-5 goal for the second game in a row with Gostisbehere pushing the puck down low for Chris Bigras who drove to the net eventually setting up Carsen Twarynski to poke home a backhander in a mad scramble. The Phantoms efforts for another late, dramatic tie were erased by the Crunch who clinhced the intense contest.
The Crunch out shot Lehigh Valley 38-24. Syracuse was held to 0-for-7 on the power play while the Phantoms were 0-for-2.
The Phantoms return to PPL Center next Friday and Saturday for consecutive home games against the Charlotte Checkers on the team's "Miracle on Ice" Weekend featuring tickets available for just $19.80.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms 1 at Syracuse Crunch 2
Saturday - Upstate Medical University Arena
Lehigh Valley 0 0 1 - 1
Syracuse 1 0 1 - 2
1st Period-1, Syracuse, Barre-Boulet 23 (Joseph, Colton), 10:50. Penalties-Witkowski Syr (interference), 5:17; Carey Lv (slashing), 12:52; Ratcliffe Lv (cross-checking), 14:44.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Gabriel Lv (roughing), 3:25; Andreoff Lv (roughing), 6:02; Sushko Lv (holding the stick), 9:21; Vorobyev Lv (delay of game - faceoff violation (batting puck with hand)), 9:21; Witkowski Syr (slashing), 13:45.
3rd Period-2, Syracuse, Masin 2 (Colton, Witkowski), 10:33. 3, Lehigh Valley, Twarynski 5 (Bigras, Gostisbehere), 19:02. Penalties-Friedman Lv (high-sticking), 13:51.
Shots on Goal-Lehigh Valley 9-6-9-24. Syracuse 20-8-10-38.
Power Play Opportunities-Lehigh Valley 0 / 2; Syracuse 0 / 7.
Goalies-Lehigh Valley, Ustimenko 1-1-0 (38 shots-36 saves). Syracuse, Martin 9-11-4 (24 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Jake Jackson (76), Michael Duco (82).
Linesmen-Jesse Marquis (86), Neil Frederickson (68).
NEXT TIME OUT: The Phantoms conclude their four-game road trip at Syracuse on Saturday night. They will return home on February 28 for a weekend series against the Charlotte Checkers as the team celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the 1980 Miracle on Ice.
Images from this story
Lehigh Valley Phantoms goaltender Kirill Ustimenko vs. the Syracuse Crunch
Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Morgan Frost
• Discuss this story on the American Hockey League message board...
American Hockey League Stories from February 22, 2020
- Iowa Bounces Back with 4-0 Shutout of Texas - Iowa Wild
- Heat Climb to First in Pacific with 4-1 Win - Stockton Heat
- Wild Top Stars 4-0 in Series Finale - Texas Stars
- Griffins' Streaks End with 4-3 Loss to Rampage - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Sens Storm Back to Beat Moose in Overtime - Belleville Senators
- Crunch Defeat Phantoms, 2-1 - Syracuse Crunch
- Up 3-0, Moose Finish Short in OT - Manitoba Moose
- Bridgeport comes back to earn one point in front of 5,026 fans on Saturday - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Kostin Caps Comeback in Grand Rapids - San Antonio Rampage
- Astounding Ustimenko in 2-1 Loss at Syracuse - Lehigh Valley Phantoms
- P-Bruins Win Fourth-Straight Game, Beat Springfield Thunderbirds, 7-4 - Providence Bruins
- Johnson's OT Penalty Shot Lifts Pens over Wolf Pack - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- Admirals Hammer IceHogs - Milwaukee Admirals
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Tips Wolf Pack in OT - Hartford Wolf Pack
- Bears Erase Early Deficit, Win in Shootout over Bridgeport - Hershey Bears
- Checkers Storm Back to Double up Devils 6-3 - Charlotte Checkers
- Bruins Outslug T-Birds on High Scoring Saturday Night - Springfield Thunderbirds
- Monsters Take Down Amerks in 3-2 Overtime Victory - Cleveland Monsters
- Checkers Halt Devils With 6-3 Win - Binghamton Devils
- Rocket Use Crowd's Energy to Surge Past Marlies 2-1 - Laval Rocket
- Syracuse Crunch Sign Forward Tyler Bird to PTO - Syracuse Crunch
- American Hockey League Announces Suspension - AHL
- Game 51 Preview: Stockton at Tucson - Tucson Roadrunners
- O'Connor Recalled to NHL's Colorado Avalanche - Colorado Eagles
- Marlies in Laval for Rendezvous with Rocket - Toronto Marlies
- Moose Release Forward Danny Moynihan - Manitoba Moose
- LA Kings Sign Frk to Two-Year Extension - Ontario Reign
- Coyotes Assign Kuemper to Tucson for Conditioning Purposes - Tucson Roadrunners
- Mark Friedman Returned to Lehigh Valley - Lehigh Valley Phantoms
- Heat Shoot for First Saturday at Tucson - Stockton Heat
- Condors Host Wizard Night with Harry Potter Wands Tonight - Bakersfield Condors
- Rochester Americans Game Preview: Saturday, February 22, 2020 vs. Cleveland Monsters - Rochester Americans
- Game Preview: Bears at Sound Tigers, 7 PM - Hershey Bears
- Jaros Recalled by Ottawa - Belleville Senators
- Game Day Build-Up: Senators vs. Moose, February 22 - Belleville Senators
- Monsters Announce Pair of Roster Moves - Cleveland Monsters
- Sound Tigers Face Top Two Atlantic Division Teams this Weekend - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Roadrunners Return Home Comes With Dramatic Overtime Win - Tucson Roadrunners
- LaDue Breaks Through Late to Earn Reign a Point - Ontario Reign
- Stolarz Continues Gulls' Run in 4-1 Win - San Diego Gulls
- Werner Leads Eagles to 2-1 OT Win at Ontario - Colorado Eagles
- Starrett Scores First AHL Goal in Loss - Bakersfield Condors
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Lehigh Valley Phantoms Stories
- Mark Friedman Signs Two-Year Contract Extension
- 11 Phantoms Make Flyers Training Camp Roster
- Phantoms Owner Part of AHL Return to Play Task Force
- American Hockey League Cancels Remainder of 2019-20 Season
- GOALS4LV Challenge Has Raised $6,550 in Just Two Weeks