Ouellette, Conner lead Phantoms to snap 8-game skid


Nina Weiss/Flyerdelphia

Looking to bounce back from an 8-0 loss to the Hershey Bears on Wednesday that head coach Scott Gordon termed "disgraceful," the Lehigh Valley Phantoms bounced back in a big way, defeating the Providence Bruins 4-3 on Friday night at PPL Center.

The Phantoms came out flying in the first, scoring less than four minutes in. Providence goalie Jeremy Smith went behind the net and threw the puck directly to Chris Conner, who put the puck into the empty cage. The goal was unassisted.

Less than two minutes later, a deflected Colin McDonald shot from the slot bounced to Tim Brent in the near circle, who one-timed it home. It was a power-play goal after Colton Hargrove tried to goad McDonald into a penalty and failed.

Ironically, it was Hargrove who pulled Providence to within one less than five minutes later, stuffing the rebound of an Anton Blidh shot past Martin Ouellette.

Davis Drewiske's shorthanded tally 40 seconds later reinstated Lehigh Valley's two-goal advantage. It would also lead to Providence pulling Smith in favor of Zane McIntyre.

But Providence wasn't done, however. Justin Hickman's over-the-shoulder snipe on Ouellette closed the period at 16:37 sent the teams to locker room with the Phantoms holding a 3-2 advantage.

In the second, Brian Ferlin struck on a 2-on-1 in which he did not pass, cut to the slot and roofed a backhand over Ouellette at 1:35. About 13 minutes later, Conner scored the wackiest goal of the season.

After winning a puck battle in the corner, he put the puck off the side of the net and it popped in the air. Providence's Collin Miller tried to knock the puck down, but instead, it went off McIntyre's back and into the net. The score at the end of two favored Lehigh Valley 4-3.

The Phantoms were content to sit back and protect the lead in the third. It was evident by the fact that they only put seven shots on goal. Providence didn't fare much better, only managing eight for the final frame. The Bruins pulled McIntyre with roughly 90 seconds left, but Ouellette managed to stand tall in net, preserving Lehigh Valley's first win in their last eight contests.

Notes: D Reece Willcox, who joined the Phantoms earlier this week from Cornell University, was a healthy scratch. After the game, two assists were added on the second Chris Conner goal, going to Aaron Palushaj and Mark Alt.

Quotes: Gordon on the win: "It was obviously a huge bounce back. The end result the other night, 8-0 at home, is quite honestly disgraceful. We played hard in that game when we had the puck, but didn't defend well or play with enough bite, battle and compete and that's what we had tonight. Guys played physical, there were second efforts, they weren't sleeping on the bench. Thursday was a productive day with the captains, on the ice with the players and the individual meetings. They responded well and that's nice to see."

Up Next: Lehigh Valley hosts the Hartford Wolf Pack at 7:05.

Brent Baldwin is Lehigh Valley Phantoms beat writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @BBFlyerdelphia.

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