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Phantoms Gain Critical Standings Point on Teddy Bear Toss Night

December 12, 2017 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Lehigh Valley Phantoms News Release

Lehigh Valley, PA - Fans didn't have to wait long for the highly-anticipated Teddy Bear Toss goal on Saturday as Matt Read (2nd) scored just 1:25 into the Lehigh Valley Phantoms' showdown with the Laval Rocket setting off an avalanche of stuffed animals before the Phantoms gained a critical standings point in the team's 4-3 overtime decision in front of a standing room-only sell-out crowd of 8,512 fans inside PPL Center.

With Saturday's decision, the Phantoms moved to 13-7-1-2 overall this season as Lehigh Valley continues to pace all Atlantic Division clubs with 29 standings points.

Greg Carey (12th) and Corban Knight (4th) also scored for the Phantoms in front of goaltender Dustin Tokarski who turned in a strong 31-save performance in moving to 5-1-2 on the year. Carey's goal was part of a multi-point outing as the 27-year-old winger tallied a goal and an assist on Saturday and has now recorded an impressive seven goals and nine total points across his last six outings. Meanwhile, Knight converted for the second night in a row as the 27-year-old pivot has now tallied three goals and seven points over his last six games. Read joined the likes of Brett Hextall (2014), Andrew MacDonald (2015) and Nic Aube-Kubel (2016) as Phantoms who have tallied the Teddy Bear Toss goal since the team's arrival in Lehigh Valley. All the teddy bears and stuffed animals thrown onto the ice Saturday will be donated to Valley Youth House to be distributed to children across the Lehigh Valley.

Through the first three years, Phantoms fans have donated more than 8,600 stuffed animals through the team's Teddy Bear Toss. This year's donation will be counted first thing Monday morning with all the stuffed animals scheduled to be delivered to Valley Youth House that afternoon. With Saturday's outcome, the Phantoms collected three of a possible four standings points in their two-game regular season series with the Rocket after Lehigh Valley opened the season set with a 5-2 win at Place Bell in Laval back on November 17.

Saturday's game marked the third standing room-only sellout produced by Phantoms fans this season and the club's 65th capacity crowd since the PPL Center opened its doors in the Fall of 2014. The Phantoms opened the scoring just over a minute into the contest when Read swept at a bouncing puck atop the Laval goal crease in sending home his second goal of the season. Carey grabbed the only assist on the even-strength strike netted 1:25 into the contest as Lehigh Valley netted the game's opening goal for the second time in as many nights.

Laval leveled the contest just over seven minutes into the second period when a two-on-one transition rush resulted in Daniel Audette's one-timer from the right wing that sizzled into the back of the Lehigh Valley cage for his sixth conversion of the year. Chris Terry and Markus Eisenschmid assisted on the five-on-five marker netted 7:01 into the middle stanza. The Phantoms regained the lead just over six minutes later though when Carey stepped into a screaming slap shot that overpowered Rocket goaltender Michael McNiven on its way into the back of the net for Carey's 12th goal of the season. Nic Aube-Kubel and Mike Vecchione assisted on the even-strength strike landed 13:33 into the second period.

Lehigh Valley appeared to collect an insurance marker 15:21 into the third period when Knight landed his fourth goal of the season from James de Haas but Laval didn't back down and found a way to level the contest with a pair of goals in the game's final four minutes. First, Adam Cracknell made it a 3-2 contest with his third goal of the season netted 16:12 into the final frame. Then, with just 13 seconds left in regulation, Jeremy Gregoire converted his fourth tally of the year in evening the tilt 3-3.

Cracknell then converted the winner in overtime with assists from Terry and Noah Juulsen 1:17 into the extra session.


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