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 Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Phantoms Out-Chance Bears But Fall in Game 2

May 4, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms News Release

Lehigh Valley Phantoms' Cal Petersen in action
Lehigh Valley Phantoms' Cal Petersen in action
(Lehigh Valley Phantoms)

Hershey, PA - The scrappy Lehigh Valley Phantoms outshot the Hershey Bears almost by a 2-to-1 margin on Saturday night but the Chocolate and White prevailed in Game 2 of the Atlantic Division Semifinal series in a 5-1 decision. Hershey now has a 2-0 lead in the Best-of-5 series putting the Phantoms into a Do-or-Die game in Allentown on Wednesday when the two rivals next meet Game 3 of the series.

Hunter McDonald scored his first pro goal late in the first period to get the Phantoms on the board but Ethen Frank paced the Hershey attack with two goals and an assist while Hunter Shepard repelled 30 Lehigh Valley chances for the second consecutive game.

Tensions escalated and eventually boiled over in the closing minutes of the game resulting in a five-on-five skirmish resulting in multiple misconducts perhaps setting the tone for more fireworks to come in the rematch on Wednesday with the Phantoms' backs to the wall.

Hershey roared out to a hot start and a 2-0 lead on a pair of Ethen Frank tallies in the game's opening nine minutes. With Lehigh Valley buzzing and pressuring and generating chances, Dylan McIlrath found an exit and connected with Frank on a stretch pass allowing the speedy sophomore to rush in uncontested on Cal Petersen where he buried his breakaway backhand beauty for the game's opening score at 4:47 into the contest.

Frank converted from the left of the cage after a Joe Snively shot off the pads of Petersen bounded over to his direction on the backdoor and suddenly it was 2-0 at 8:18.

It actually could have been 3-0. Cal Petersen blew everyone's mind with his sprawling save on a Hershey 2-on-1 when he denied Jimmy Huntington on the backdoor of a give across from Ivan Miroshnickenko. Somehow, Petersen got his glove on the puck practically right on the line to keep it out. Video review from the officials upheld the decision on the ice that Petersen had just turned in one of the best saves of the year.

Overall, the Phantoms seemed to largely have the edge in the latter portion of the first period especially despite the costly coverage mistakes. Lehigh Valley outshot the Bears 14-9 even though Hershey had the period's only two power plays.

Rookie defenseman Hunte McDonald pushed his way into the slot and scored off the block of an Adam Brooks drive from the point to build even more momentum with 1:15 remaining in the first at 2-1. Helge Grans also assisted on the McDonald tally.

Earlier in the period, Tanner Laczynski was open out in front after a Hershey turnover and a puck nudged his way between the circle. The team's leading postseason goal scorer just missed on his fourth of the playoffs when Shepard appeared to barely get a shoulder on Laczynski's effort which dinged off the top of the crossbar and out of play.

The Bears would strike for two more in the second period while eventually taking advantage of three consecutive Phantoms infractions late in the frame. Henrik Rybinski was first on the little redirect of a Bogdan Trineyev shot. Getting a piece of it in that net-front battle gave Hershey a 3-1 cushion at 4:48 into the second period.

Lehigh Valley had penalty troubles late in the second and Hershey took advantage on one of the power plays on a deflection at the net-front by Alex Limoges after a cross-ice set-up by Hendrix Lapierre to Frank.

Trailing 4-1 in the third period, the Phantoms continued to dominate the shot-count. Hershey was barely hanging on to its three-goal lead and also found itself in penalty trouble when they took consecutive power play late. But even a big Olle Lycksell drive and a penalty shot for Bobby Brink wouldn't work for the Phantoms as Lycksell's shot was cranked off the post and Brink's penalty shot was kicked out by Shepard's right pad.

Eventually, Hendrix Lapierre scored an empty-netter with 3:30 remaining to finish the scoring on what was Hershey's only shot on goal in front of the red-line and just their second shot on goal in a third period otherwise dominated by the Phantoms with a ton of pressure and various chances at Hunter Shepard.

Louie Belpedio mixed it up with Pierrick Dube behind the Phantoms goal with 2:57 remaining sparking some serious fireworks at the end of the game with all of the skaters on the ice grabbing dancing partners. Six Phantoms players took misconducts and that became seven following another scrap with three seconds remaining. Hershey was assessed five misconducts in the initial series of altercations and one more at the end as there was plenty of elbow-room to be had at both benches during the final minutes of the contest.

The Atlantic Division Semifinals come to PPL Center in Allentown for Game 3 of the series on Wednesday night as Lehigh Valley looks to keep its playoff run going.

Another Orange Out and giveaway of rally towels is in store for Phan Nation.

Game 4 of the series is on Saturday, May 11 also at PPL Center.


1st 4:47 - HER, E. Frank (1) (J. Snively, D. McIlrath) (0-1)

1st 8:18 - HER, E. Frank (2) (J. Snively, C. Priskie) (0-2)

1st 18:45 - LV, H. McDonald (1) (A. Brooks, H. Grans) (1-2)

2nd 4:48 - HER, H. Rybinski (2) (B. Trineyev, M. Strome) (1-3)

2nd 15:24 - HER, A. Limoges (1) (H. Lapierrem E. Frank) (PP) (1-4)

3rd 16:30 - HER, H. Lapierre (2) (B. Trinyevk) (EN) (1-5)


LV 31 - HER 16


LV 0/3, HER 1/7

Penalty Shot:

3rd 12:27 - LV, B. Brink - No Goal


LV - C. Petersen (L) (2-2) (11/15)

HER - H. Shepard (W) (2-0) (30/31)


Hershey leads 2-0 in Best-of-5


Game 3 - Wednesday, May 8 (7:05) at Lehigh Valley

Game 4 - Saturday, May 11 (7:05) at Lehigh Valley

Game 5 - Sunday, May 12 (7:00) at Hershey

Images from this story

Lehigh Valley Phantoms' Cal Petersen in action
Lehigh Valley Phantoms' Cal Petersen in action


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