Never-Say-Die Phantoms Battle Back for 7-6 Win over Hershey
Lehigh Valley, Pa. - The Lehigh Valley Phantoms erased a 5-1 deficit Friday evening in earning a dramatic, come-from-behind 7-6 triumph over the rival Hershey Bears in front of 7,835 fans inside PPL Center. Nic Aube-Kubel notched two goals and an assist while Danick Martel added a goal and two assists as the Phantoms ran their home point streak to 11 consecutive games (9-0-2).
With the win, the Phantoms improved to 36-15-3-4 overall this season as Lehigh Valley continues to pace the Atlantic Division with 79 standings points. With Friday's triumph, the Phantoms have now claimed 13 of their last 17 games overall (13-2-2). What's more, Lehigh Valley has now won five straight head-to-head meetings with the Bears and captured all six rivalry showdowns in downtown Allentown. The Phantoms are an impressive 9-2 head-to-head against Hershey this year.
Chris Conner (14th), Mike Vecchione (14th), Cole Bardreau (6th) and Phil Myers (4th) rounded out the scoring for Lehigh Valley in front of the goaltending tandem of John Muse (6 saves on 10 shots) and Dustin Tokarski (18 saves on 20 saves) who helped backstop the Phantoms to their league-leading sixth victory this season when trailing entering the third period.
With Friday's victory, Lehigh Valley is now an impressive 19-5-3-2 at PPL Center this season and an equally impressive 17-3-3-4 in one-goal games this year.
Special teams played a big part in the victory as well as Lehigh Valley converted a pair of power play markers in seven man-advantage chances while the Phantoms' penalty kill successfully thwarted each of the Bears' four power plays.
Hershey opened the scoring just over five minutes into the contest when a nifty pass from below the goal line by Jeremy Langlois connected with Dustin Gazley who promptly punched in his eighth goal of the season. Langlois and Chris Bourque assisted on the even-strength strike netted 5:08 into the first period.
The Phantoms leveled the rivalry showdown just over four minutes later when, while on the power play, T.J. Brennan's blast from the high slot kicked off the end boards where Conner was able to collect the loose disc before sending it in for his 14th goal of the year. Greg Carey collected the secondary assist on the man-advantage marker tallied 9:12 into the first period.
The Bears then erupted for a four-goal barrage in a span of just 2:59 in opening up a 5-1 advantage before the close of the first frame. Lucas Johansen (6th) and Langlois (5th) both converted during a stint of four-on-four hockey before Nathan Walker (7th) and Tyler Graovac (11th) scored at full strength, five-on-five action.
The Phantoms remained resilient though and began their comeback effort with early second period goals from Aube-Kubel (16th) and Myers. Aube-Kubel's first conversion came from Martel and Mikhail Vorobyev 4:58 into the middle stanza before Myers made it a 5-3 contest with his fourth goal of the season. Myer's conversion was an unassisted, even-strength strike netted 6:27 into the second period.
The Bears didn't wilt easily though and punched back with a tally of their own 8:09 into the middle stanza when Riley Barber netted his 20th goal of the year.
That would prove to be Hershey's final conversion of the evening though as the Phantoms landed two more in the second period before netting a pair in the final frame of regulation in securing a comeback fans won't soon forget.
Bardreau got the deficit back to two goals with his sixth marker of the year, which came 9:52 into the second period from Mark Friedman and T.J. Brennan. Then, with just over eight minutes left in the middle stanza, Martel made it a one-goal game as he buried a loose puck in the goal crease for his 20th goal of the season. Aube-Kubel and Myers assisted on the five-on-five conversion scored 11:59 into the second periods.
Trailing 6-5 entering the third period, Lehigh Valley leveled the contest just over four minutes into the final period when Vecchione spun a puck into the Hershey crease that was inadvertently knocked in by Bears' goaltender Pheonix Copley. Travis Sanheim collected the only assist on the equalizing marker scored 4:12 into the third period.
The Phantoms then claimed the lead for good with just under seven minutes left in regulation when Aube-Kubel capped his dynamic night when he swatted in a rebound at the side of the cage for his second goal of the game and 17th conversion this year. James de Haas and Martel assisted on the go-ahead tally.
The Phantoms return to action on Saturday when they welcome the Binghamton Devils, AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, to PPL Center for a 7:05 p.m. showdown. A limited number of tickets remain for Saturday's clash and are available HERE.
Family 3-Packs are available for select games in March including three tickets, three hot dogs and three sodas with souvenir cups. The package is available for $67.50 and fans can add extra tickets to their group for $22.50 each. The Family 3-Packs are valid for games on March 9th, March 11th and March 18th. Secure your Family 3-Pack by calling the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at (610) 224-GOAL .
Reserve your group outings for the 2017-2018 season of Phantoms hockey. For more information on how to reserve your seat at PPL Center to the hottest ticket in town, call the Phantoms front office today at 610-224-GOAL !
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