By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
If the Lehigh Valley Phantoms find a way to overtake the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and win the Atlantic Division, mark this one down as the reason why.
Against all odds, the Phantoms stared a 4-0 deficit in the face and rallied back, scoring four unanswered goals in the final 21 minutes of regulation before sealing a 5-4 win in overtime over the St. John's IceCaps on Tuesday night.
St. John's opened the scoring with two quick goals in the first. At 7:07, Mark MacMillan scored his sixth of the season to put the IceCaps on the board. Just 21 seconds later, Jeremy Gregoire tallied for his eighth of the season.
The IceCaps outshot the Phantoms, 10-8, in the first.
St. John's kept the pressure on in the second. Jacob de la Rose scored just 10 seconds into the Phantoms first power play of the game at 2:40 to make it 3-0. Daniel Audette struck on an odd-man rush with a shot past Anthony Stolarz at 10:35 and just past the halfway point of the game, the Phantoms trailed 4-0.
The Phantoms rally started with one minute remaining in the second period.
Travis Sanheim intercepted the puck on a clearing attempt and fed Cole Bardreau in the slot for the quick snap shot to get Lehigh Valley on the board.
The furious rally continued in the third. At 7:45, a point shot by Maxim Lamarche hit a St. John's defender, bounced in the air and landed in the net for Lamarche's fourth goal of the season, cutting the lead to two.
With just over eight minutes to play, a shot by Sam Morin was deflected in by Nicolas Aube-Kubel to cut the lead to one.
With time winding down and under two minutes to play, the Phantoms managed to tie the game. T.J. Brennan found the net with a long-range one-timer to even the score, his 19th goal of the season, with 1:44 to play.
The Phantoms also had a chance to win the game in regulation, getting a power play with 50 seconds left. While they didn't score in the remaining time of regulation, they wasted little time ending things in overtime.
It was Brennan again getting his 20th goal of the season for the game-winner, taking a perfectly-placed wrist shot from in close along the right circle.
Stolarz finished the game with 29 saves in the win, despite allowing four goals in just over 30 minutes of play.
Brennan was joined by Sanheim, Lamarche and Andy Miele with multi-point games. Sanheim and Miele each had two assists. Lamarche added an assist to his goal.
While the win was certainly good theater and showed tremendous character, it did not do anything in the standings. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's win over Hartford meant that the dramatic comeback win helped the Phantoms keep pace. That said, they do go head-to-head with the Penguins on Saturday and have a game in hand on the Penguins.
The Phantoms remain in St. John's for another game on Wednesday night with puck drop coming at 6 p.m.