Posts But No Cigar
Lehigh Valley, PA - The Lehigh Valley Phantoms had an early sequence of three consecutive shots off the post and then found iron again on a game-tying bid near the end in ultimately falling to the Charlotte Checkers 5-3 on Friday night at PPL Center.
Adam Clendening (2nd), Nick Lappin (1st) and Garrett Wilson (4th) all scored for the Phantoms in the wild, see-saw game.
Five different goal scorers for Charlotte included a two-point effort for Cole Schwindt who scored the winning goal with just 5:16 left to break a 3-3 tie and then assisted on an empty-netter by Zac Dalpe to finish it off.
Trailing 4-3 in the late minutes, a stretch-pass connected with speedy Charlie Gerard away from the benches catching Charlotte trying to change players. Gerard's breakaway opportunity was nicked by Checkers goalie Evan Fitzpatrick and then off the iron bouncing almost straight down. The red light came on and some Phantoms players thought Gerard had scored on the play. But the decision of no goal was upheld after video review with just 2:28 left.
Early in the contest, the Phantoms had a 5-on-3 power play that saw a sequence of three consecutive shots off the post from Egor Zamula, Gerry Mayhew and Garrett Wilson. To put it mildly, the Phantoms just weren't catching the breaks or the bounces. But they WERE finding the iron. A lot.
Lehigh Valley had the better of the play, including their chances off the posts, in the first period. Adam Clendening scored in the final minute of the first on a well-placed point shot through traffic shortly off a Cal O'Reilly faceoff win. Clendening's second goal of the second was also assisted by Egor Zamula who adeptly moved the puck over to Clednening for the scoring opportunity.
Charlotte responded in the opening seconds of the second period on a quick rush and multiple shots on net ending with Logan Hutsko (5th) converting on the team's third straight try down low.
The Checkers had control in the second period and Henry Bowlby's redirect in the slot of a point shot by NHL'er Olli Juolevi, with Charlotte on a conditioning loan, put the Checkers up 2-1 just before the midway mark of the game.
The Phantoms answered just 94 seconds later on a scramble at the net front with Nick Lappin scoring his first as a Phantom from the left of the cage elevating the equalizer top shelf after chances in front from Isaac Ratcliffe and Matt Strome. Lappin, the former New Jersey Devil, had recently signed a tryout contract with the Phantoms and tied the score at 2-2.
Cale Fleury beat Sandstrom to the glove side on his shot from the top of the right circle in the third period at 4:36 to give the Checkers a 3-2 advantage.
But Wilson's aggressiveness got it back for the Phantoms as the hulking winger banged his way to the puck on the forecheck and then found his his attempt at a center pass from behind the cage bouncing off the goalie instead and into the net thus finding an unusual way to notch his fourth of the season while tying the game at 3-3 with 8:39 remaining.
But Cole Schwindt (8th) got a piece of a Connor Carrick point-shot to redirect a go-ahead marker past Sandstrom with 5:16 left for a 4-3 Checkers lead.
Then came the heartbreaking and agonizing breakaway that was so close to tying the game for Charie Gerard with the red light coming on and the Phantoms fans believing their team had scored the equalizer. But it wasn't to be. Zac Dalpe later scored an empty netter with 51 seconds left to finish the night.
The Phantoms will not play their originally scheduled Saturday night game due to COVID-19 protocols affecting the Hershey Bears.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms next play on Friday, December 10 at the Hartford Wolfpack.
The Phantoms return to PPL Center on Saturday, December 11 against the Cleveland Monsters on Teddy Bear Toss Night presented by Dan's Canmera City also featuring UUU performing in the Saturday Night Hockey Live concert series.
The Phantoms also have a home game on Sunday, December 12 at 3:05 p.m. againsd the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Tickets for upcoming Phantoms games are available HERE
1st 19:09 - LV, A. Clendening (2nd) (E. Zamula, C. O'Reilly) 1-0
2nd 0:22 - CLT, L. Hutsko (5) (S. Wilson, A. True) 1-1
2nd 9:22 - CLT, H. Bowlby (2) (O. Juolevi, C. Carrick) 1-2
2nd 10:56 - LV, N. Lappin (1) (I. Ratcliffe, M. Strome) 2-2
3rd 4:36 - CLT, C. Fleury (2) (C. Twarynski, S. Noel) 2-3
3rd 11:21 - LV, G. Wilson (4) (L. Hogberg) 3-3
3rd 14:44 - CLT, C. Schwindt (8) (C. Carrick, G. Denisenko) 3-4
3rd 19:09 - CLT, Z. Dalpe (5) (C. Twarynski, C. Schwindt) (EN) 3-5
LV 28 - CLT 29
LV 0/3, CLT 0/2
LV - Felix Sandstrom (L) (3-7-3) (24/28)
CLT - E. Fitzpatrick (W) (1-0-0) (25/28)
Lehigh Valley (3-11-5)
Images from this story
Lehigh Valley Phantoms exchange elbow bumps
Lehigh Valley Phantoms defenseman Linus Hogberg vs. the Charlotte Checkers
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