Lehigh Valley Comes from Behind to Trap Bears in OT


Photo: Steve Kuzma/Flyerdelphia

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms were looking for revenge after last Saturday's overtime defeat to the Hershey Bears. 

Thanks to Nick Cousins, they got it.

Petr Straka and Danick Martel scored third period goals to erase a two-goal deficit, and Cousins scored 3:45 into overtime to secure a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night at PPL Center.

Lehigh Valley came out flying in the first, getting numerous quality chances, but it was Hershey that got on the board first. With Sam Morin in the box for cross-checking, Connor Carrick blasted a shot from the circle that leaked through the pads of Anthony Stolarz and into the net. Chris Bourque and Riley Barber collected assists.

In a four on four situation, Dan Ellis robbed cousins in close and seconds later, left Morin looking at the rafters with a slick glove save from the bottom of the near circle. Hershey's Eric Burgdoerfer took a penalty at 19:17. The powerplay carried over into the second period, but Lehigh Valley was unable to capitalize with the man-advantage. Sean Collins had a breakaway, but Stolarz made a nice standing save.

Midway through the middle frame, Hershey extended their lead halfway through. Mike Moore finished off a feed from Tyler Boyd beat Stolarz inside the near post. Madison Bowey picked up a secondary assist. Hershey almost made it 3-0 on a power play late in the period. With Mark Alt off for a cross check, a Paul Carey shot hit the post, and with less than a minute left, a centering pass from Chandler Stephenson deflected off of Nick Cousins, behind Stolarz and glanced off the pipe. 

Things began to turn for Lehigh Valley in the third. Petr Straka took a pass from Colin McDonald, flew down the far side and went top shelf on Ellis finding a gap that seemingly wasn't there, sending the water bottle on top of the net flying in the process. The goal came at 11:22 and Martel picked up the secondary assist. After going off for boarding at 13:01, Martel made up for it exactly four minutes later. He scored a nearly identical goal to that of Straka at 17:01. Assists on the play wet to Taylor Leier and Sam Morin. It was Martel's ninth marker of the season.

In the overtime, Stolarz robbed Chris Bourque on a one-timer from the slot, and that save eventually lead to Cousins' game winner. On a three on two, Cousins took a drop pass from Taylor Leier, cut into the slot, and unleashed a wrister that went over Ellis' shoulder, deflected off the post and in. It was Cousins' seventh of the season at 3:45.

Notes: Jay Rosehill entered the lineup, taking the place of Tim Brent, who is dealing with a "minor ailment". When pressed for details after the game, Head Coach Scott Gordon would only say: "If he's ready Friday, he'll play." Maxim LeMarche, who was called up from the Reading Royals on Monday, took the place of Jesper Pettersson in the lineup. 

Quotes: Nick Cousins, on his goal in overtime: "I think I was screaming from the other blue line at [Leier] that I was open. He made a nice heads up play and I just beat him blocker side. I was actually going to go back to (Leier) but the guy made a good read and it sort of opened up. I just closed my eyes and shot it and it went in, so we'll take it."

Scott Gordon, on the difference between tonight and the loss Saturday in Hershey: "Our play in the offensive zone was a night and day different than what it was in Hershey (Saturday), We actually played in the offensive zone. We had some extended zone time."

Petr Straka, on his third period marker: "It was pretty tight coming down the wall. There wasn't much room to squeeze, but somehow I got through. I was able to create some space and I just cut off the angle a little bit and saw Ellis going off the post a little bit. I saw the hole opening up, I tried to rip it. Sometimes you miss the net and it goes out of the zone. This time it just worked out perfectly. I don't think it could've went better than that."

Danick Martel describes his third period goal: "When I got the puck from Leiersey, (Taylor Leier) I didn't watch to the net to see where the goalie was, I just took the shot and scored. I took a corner in my head, and whacked the puck at the net. It was a good shot and we got a goal."

3 Stars 3) LV-Danick Martel (Game-tying goal, assist) 2) HER-Dan Ellis (28 saves) 1) LV-Nick Cousins (Game-Winning Goal in Overtime)

Up Next: The Phantoms return to action Friday night at PPL Center when they battle the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:05 PM

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