Photo: Steve Kuzma/Flyerdelphia
A win. The one thing the Lehigh Valley Phantoms had been fighting for finally came.
Four different goal scorers talied, and Jason LaBarbera made 42 saves as the Phantoms downed the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon at Webster Bank Arena.
It was a rough start for Lehigh Valley, as they had managed just one shot in the first seven minutes of the game, and Bridgeport had two power plays in that seven minutes. LaBarbera kept the game scoreless, and close to the middle of the period, Taylor Leier got the Phantoms on the board.
Sam Gagner let go of a booming slap shot from the center point, and the rebound came right to Leier in the slot, and he promptly put it past Bridgeport goaltender Parker Milner. It was Leier's 10th of the season.
The Phantoms weren't done. Milner tripped Chris Conner on a breakaway and after a scrum in the corner between Nick Cousins and the Sound Tigers' Kyle Burroughs, Conner was awarded a penalty shot, which he converted with a backhand move through Milner's five hole. Bridgeport outshot the Phantoms, 18-9, in the first, although most of the shots were on the two early power plays.
The game was scoreless for most of the second until the Sound Tigers' Mike Halmo cut the Lehigh Valley lead in half with the man-advantage at 17:15. With Gagner in the box for hooking, Halmo took a pass down low and cut to the slot and put it home past LaBarbera. Shots in the period were closer, with Bridgeport having a 15-9 edge.
Lehigh Valley iced the game with two goals in 30 seconds less than four minutes into the third period. First, Danick Martel's 14th of the season put the Phantoms up by two at 2:37. Just after a penalty to Connor Jones expired, Conner fed Martel for a one-timer.
30 seconds later, Kevin Goumas picked off a pass in the neutral zone that led to a two-on-one with Cole Bardreau. In the near-side face-off dot, instead of passing, Goumas picked the corner over Milner's glove to give the Phantoms a lead they would not relinquish.
Up Next: Lehigh Valley travels to the land of chocolate on Saturday to take on the Hershey Bears at 7:05.
Brent Baldwin is Lehigh Valley Phantoms beat writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @BBFlyerdelphia.