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Weal Snaps Home Overtime Winner at Hershey

December 3, 2016 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Lehigh Valley Phantoms News Release

Hershey, PA - Jordan Weal continued his big weekend with an overtime wrister from the slot going top shelf on Vitek Vanecek in the 3-on-3 extra session as the Phantoms returned the favor with a 3-2 victory at Giant Center on Saturday night.

It was the second night in a row for Weal to notch a goal and assist as he upped his team-leading point total to 23. The Phantoms exacted revenge from a hard-fought 4-3 setback dealt by Hershey back at PPL Center from 24 hours earlier as both teams snagged W's in their rivals home arenas in the back-to-back weekend series.

T.J. Brennan (7th) and Colin McDonald (10th) also converted for the visiting victors while rookie netminder Alex Lyon turned in a 34-save performance featuring several gems that has to rate among his very best of the season.

Chris Bourque (5th) and Travis Boyd (6th) pulled the Bears back to even with their tallies at 1-1 and 2-2 respectively. Lehigh Valley never trailed.

The intense match-up between the two rivals was perhaps to be expected particularly in a back-to-back home-and-home weekend scenario but the action and excitement in this one was off the charts.

Lyon made several quality denials on the Bears at different key points in the game including a shorthanded breakaway stop on Ryan Bourque in the third period and a fantastic scrambling backwards right-leg kick save on Zach Sill stationed at the left side of the net with a wide open opportunity with just a few minutes remaining that somehow preserved the 2-2 deadlock.

Alex Lyon improved to 8-4-1 with the victory while the Lehigh Valley Phantoms are level in the season series against the Hershey Bears at 2-2. The Phantoms ran their record to 14-6-1 overall and moved back ahead of the Hershey Bears in the standings by mere percentage points as the hosts moved to 12-4-5 with the solitary extra-stanza standings point.

T.J. Brennan opened the scoring at 12:01 into the first period with a top-shelf laser on the power play from the right circle. Andy Miele neatly set up the goal sliding the puck across from center point while Greg Carey received the secondary assist on the play allowing the Phantoms to emerge from the opening 20 minutes with a 1-0 advantage.

Hershey blasted away throughout much of the second period including a snipe off the left post by young prospect Zach Sanford in his Giant Center debut since coming down from the Washington Capitals. The Bears finally broke through with a Chris Bourque snapper in the slot aimed for the right post just past the left skate of Alex Lyon that capped an extended push into the Phantoms end and with under three minutes remaining in the middle stanza the Bears were on the board. Lyon turned aside 15 of 16 drives he faced in the second frame to hold the Bears in check and keep the score at 1-1 after two.

The two teams would trade power-play goals in the third period. Colin McDonald neatly smacked a midair tumbling puck just beneath the cross-bar after Vanecek was unable to find the handle on a scramble in the slot. McDonald's tally from the side of the net into the upper left corner put the Phantoms back out in front 2-1. Taylor Leier had successfully turned to the slot from the right of the cage almost setting up Chris Conner who was bumped down in the chaos but McDonald was there to pull the puck out and keep the play alive. Weal had tossed the puck into Leier to receive an assist on the play as well.

The Phantoms struck for a pair of power-play goals for the third consecutive game going back to their Tuesday night victory at Toronto. They are 6-for-20 (33.3%) in their last three games and their 26 man-advantage markers represents the most in the AHL while their season-long 26% conversion rate ranks tops in the Eastern Conference.

Hershey received a power-play advantage at a critical time late in the third and Travis Boyd's wrister from the left circle to the upper far corner with 5:01 left would again even the count, this time at 2-2.

The Bears had the early possession at opportunities in overtime but the Phantoms defense rotated around and stayed strong to deny Hershey any solid opportunities.

The lone shot in the overtime came almost three minutes in after Mark Zengerle shoved a man away to chase a puck drifting back to his own blue-line. Upon securing possession he neatly connected with Jordan Weal who cruised up the right wing, cut for the slot, and connected on his winner top shelf over the shoulder of Vanecek.

The Phantoms improved to 2-1 in overtime while the Bears fell to 1-4.

Lehigh Valley and Hershey have a pair of rematches coming up at PPL Center later in December when the Bears arrive to downtown Allentown on December 16th and December 26th.

The Phantoms continue their three-game road-trip with a Sunday matinee at the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 3:00 followed by a Wednesday night engagement at the Syracuse Crunch.

The Phantoms are then back in action at PPL Center for a pair of games next weekend against the Rochester Americans, the AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres. First, on Friday, December 9, there's a Youth Winter Hat Giveaway courtesy of PPL Corporation where the first 2,500 kids 14 and under receive a free Phantoms youth winter hat courtesy of PPL Corporation. Then, on Saturday, December 10, it's the annual Teddy Bear Toss presented by Dan's Camera City where fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used teddy bears and stuffed animals to the game and throw them onto the ice when the Phantoms score their first goal. All bears/stuffed animals will then be donated to Valley Youth House to be distributed to children across the Lehigh Valley. A limited number of tickets remain for both Friday and Saturday's games and can be purchased online HERE.

RISE UP! Another thrilling season of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey at PPL Center is underway! Reserve your season tickets and group outings for the 2016-2017 season of Phantoms hockey today. 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 [4625]!

Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3 (OT) at Hershey Bears 2 - Status: Final OT

Saturday - Giant Center

Lehigh Valley 1 0 1 1 - 3

Hershey 0 1 1 0 - 2

1st Period-1, Lehigh Valley, Brennan 7 (Miele, Carey), 12:01 (PP). Penalties-Stephenson Her (tripping), 11:22; Martel Lv (slashing), 17:08; Hagg Lv (tripping), 19:40.

2nd Period-2, Hershey, C. Bourque 5 (Stephenson, Djoos), 17:20. Penalties-Williams Her (interference), 3:39; Djoos Her (interference), 7:46; Miele Lv (tripping), 8:22; Bowey Her (slashing), 8:47.

3rd Period-3, Lehigh Valley, McDonald 10 (Leier, Weal), 3:14 (PP). 4, Hershey, Boyd 6 (C. Bourque, Djoos), 14:59 (PP). Penalties-Labrie Her (roughing), 2:37; O'Brien Her (roughing), 5:52; Martel Lv (holding), 13:36.

OT Period-5, Lehigh Valley, Weal 9 (Zengerle), 2:51. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Lehigh Valley 8-8-11-1-28. Hershey 9-16-11-0-36.

Power Play Opportunities-Lehigh Valley 2 / 6; Hershey 1 / 3.

Goalies-Lehigh Valley, Lyon 8-4-1 (36 shots-34 saves). Hershey, Vanecek 5-3-2 (28 shots-25 saves).

A-8,188

Referees-Guillaume Labonte (35).

Linesmen-Bob Goodman (90), Tom DellaFranco (71).

RISE UP! Another thrilling season of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey at PPL Center is underway! Reserve your season tickets and group outings for the 2016-2017 season of Phantoms hockey today. 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 [4625]!

And for the latest Phantoms news, visit www.phantomshockey.com or follow the team on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/lehighvalleyphantoms), Twitter ( @lvphantoms), Instagram ( @lehighvalleyphantoms) and Snapchat (lvphantoms).

The Phantoms are thrilled to host the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross at PPL Center January 28-30. The AHL All-Star Classic weekend includes a Phan Fest during the day on Saturday, January 28 and a Tailgate Party that evening, followed by the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 29 and the 2017 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, January 30. Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime event. Packages starting at just $67 for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross are on sale now and include admission to Saturday's Phan Fest & Tailgate Party, Sunday's AHL All-Star Skills Competition and Monday's All-Star Game. To purchase tickets, please visit www.phantomshockey.com or www.pplcenter.com.

The Phantoms are coming off their 20th Anniversary Season and second campaign in the Lehigh Valley playing at the state-of-the-art PPL Center. Established in 1996, the Phantoms spent their first 13 seasons at the Spectrum in Philadelphia before re-locating to Glens Falls, New York in 2009 where the team spent the next five seasons as the Adirondack Phantoms. A new era of Phantoms hockey began in the fall of 2014 when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms began play at the state-of-the-art PPL Center. Through 20 incredibly successful campaigns, the Phantoms have captured two Calder Cup Championships (1998, 2005), two Conference Championships (1998, 2005), two Regular Season Titles (1996-97, 1997-98) and four Division


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