Phantoms Fantastic Third not Enough as They Lose Fourth Straight

The key number tonight? 42. That's the number of saves the Hershey Bears' Justin Peters made on Friday. That was the difference in a game the Phantoms probably should have won. Instead, they lost their fourth in a row/ 

In a back and forth first, both teams each had a great chance. Hershey's Nathan Walker put a shot over the top of the net. A minute later, Danick Martel tried to connect with Nick Cousins on a two on one, but Martel's shot went just wide. Kevin Goumas was stopped by Peters on a back door play, and that was the extent of the offense for either side in the frame. Shots were 10-8 Hershey.

Ibn the second, things got busy. Chris Bourque got Hershey on the board first at 1:55. Connor Carrick took a shot from the point that was blocked, and Tyler Boyd tapped the puck to Bourque who put it home, Hershey made it 2-0 six minutes later when Tyler Lewington collected the rebound of a Carter Camper shot and put it into an open net. It was Lewington's second goal and point of the season, with both of them coming against Lehigh Valley.

The Phantoms roared back with two goals 56 seconds apart less than two minutes later. Cousins got his tenth when he deflected a Mark Alt centering pass at the edge of the crease at 9:26. A 10:18, Chris Conner shoveled home a puck at the side of the net. Assists went to Cole Bardreau and Sam Gagner, his second of the night.

The tie was short lived, however as the Bears retook the lead 2:02 later. Carrick took the puck behind the net, and found Liam O'Brien, who took a shot that deflected off the catching glove of Jason LaBarbera and trickled over the goal line. Shots in the period were 10-10,

In the third, the Phantoms launched the biggest onslaught of the season, by any team in the league. They outshot the Bears to the tune of, get this, 27-1. The problem? Hershey's lone shot resulted in a goal. Chris Brown found Dustin Gazley in the bottom of the far circle with a pass from behind the net at 14:23. Tyler Lewingtongot his second point of the game with a secondary assist. The Lehigh Valley showed life 2:37 later when Colin McDonald notched his third of the season from the slot. Taylor Leier found him with a pass from the near side boards. Cole Bardreau collected the other assist on the play.

Tyler Boyd closed his hand on the puck with nineteen seconds left, giving Lehigh Valley a six on four advantage to finish the game, as LaBarbera had been called to the bench. Try as they might, Peters and the Bears held on, handing the Phantoms their fourth consecutive loss.

Notes: Petr Straka (Injury) and Aaron Palushaj (Veteran rule) joined Kevin Sundher, Michael Parks, Jay Rosehill and Matt Lashoff as scratches. Earlier in the afternoon, Lehigh Valley Head Coach Scott Gordon was named to John Tortorella's staff with Team USA for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey. The 27 shots in the third period are a league-high this year and the most in one period since the Adirondack Phantoms had 29 on February 25th, 2012. After the game, Sam Gagner's assist on Nick Cousins' tally was changed and credited to Mark Alt.

Quotes: Gordon, on the loss and the domination of the third period: "You come in after a loss and it's your fourth loss in a row the first thoughts are did you do everything you could offensively to win, and we did. I didn't like our coverage on three of their goals. Just poor reads and mistakes and they capitalized on it. We gave up one shot in the third and it ends up being the game winner. We did everything we needed to do in the third period to try to give ourselves a chance to win and we have to build off of that."

On the message going into tomorrow's game against Hartford, given the third period that they had: "For our players to understand what we did right in the third period. It doesn't happen by accident…you can talk about getting the puck deep, you can talk about shooting the puck, but it's not going to happen if you don't go to work. Our players were determined to outwork Hershey and they did. At the end of the day, their goalie made some saves and when he didn't, some other people did."

On being named an Assistant Coach for Team USA: It's awesome, I've been apart of 5 World Championships, 2 Olympics, and now the World Cup of Hockey. This is my eighth opportunity to be apart of the United States hovckey program and I've loved every single one of them. Every challenge has been different, but I can tell you there's no better feeling."

Mark Alt, on the third period push: " That was quite the push. That's what we said in between periods that we wanted to do and we accomplished it. You just think in that number that one of those would have gone in because all we needed was one at that point."

Chris Conner, on continually leaving points on the table: "I thought we came out and played well in the third, but these are the games we need to start winning. We gave ourselves a chance, we came back, We have to find a way to get another goal there…I don't know, but we need to figure it out soon here. We are losing these points. I think we keep going, take something from this third period and move onto tomorrow."

3 Stars: 3) HER-Connor Carrick (2 Assists) 2) HER-Justin Peters (42 Saves, Win)  1) HER-Tyler Lewington (Goal, Assist)

Up Next:  The Hartford Wolf Pack come to PPL Center Saturday at 7:05 PM

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