Photo: Steve Kuzma/Flyerdelphia
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms were riding a four-game winning streak as they prepared for the final game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before heading into the All-Star break. Looking to keep the momentum going, they wanted to end on a positive note.
They did just that with a 5-3 win on Saturday night over the Penguins.
The Penguins got the scoring started at 9:05 of the first with a goal by Will O'Neill. The Phantoms held a 12-11 shot advantage after one, but trailed on the scoreboard where it counts.
The second period was a different story for the Phantoms. Taylor Leier struck for a power-play goal just 34 seconds on a deflection. Colin McDonald added his eighth goal of the season to give the Phantoms the lead at 5:04. Just 38 seconds later, Chris Conner scored to make it 3-1.
The Phantoms would hold that lead until 11:06 when Scott Wilson scored a power-play goal, his 21st of the season, to cut the lead to one.
Pavel Padakin scored his first goal of the season at 17:48 to restore the two-goal lead.
The first two periods featured a mass of penalties as physical play and frustration from the Penguins set in. Overall, the teams combined for 60 penalty minutes in the game.
The third was a much more disciplined period as the two teams zeroed in on finishing off the game. The Penguins cut the lead to one at 9:47 of the third, with Wilson scoring his second of the game and 22nd of the season.
That one-goal lead would be protected by Anthony Stolarz and the Phantoms defense for the remainder of the game until Colin McDonald scored his second goal of the game into an empty net with 48 seconds left to seal the win for the Phantoms.
Stolarz made 24 saves in the win. McDonald's two goals brought his total to six for the week. Andrew MacDonald had three assists while Leier and Conner each had one goal and one assist apiece.
The Phantoms schedule now takes a pause for the All-Star festivities in Syracuse. Nick Cousins and Stolarz will represent the Phantoms.
The Phantoms return to the ice from the All-Star break on Friday when they travel to face the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Game time is at 7 p.m.
Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.