Phantoms Shut Out by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for 3rd Straight Time


(Tommy Hendricks/Sports Talk Philly)

By Tommy Hendricks, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms were unable to clinch a playoff spot on Friday night, mainly because they couldn't take care of their end of business. The Phantoms were shut out by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-0.
The game marks the third time Lehigh Valley has been shut out on the season, all by the Penguins in their last three meetings against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.


Lehigh Valley got bombarded by the Penguins early on, falling behind in shots 9-0 just nine minutes into the frame. Colin McDonald finally got a shot on goal with 10:37 left, but it was easily turned aside by Tristan Jarry and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton kept momentum in their favor.

The Phantoms started to battle back, getting seven shots of their own during the period and establishing some pressure. The Pens had the better of the play however, outshooting Lehigh Valley 15-7, including rattling off six shots while having the Phantoms pinned in their own zone for a minute and a half. Anthony Stolarz proved to be the difference early on, making save after save to keep his team in the contest.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton finally solved Stolarz just 4:19 into the middle stanza to take a 1-0 lead. Ryan Haggerty sprung Oskar Sundqvist down the far-side wing from the neutral zone, and Sundqvist stepped in with a purpose. He loaded up and blasted a slap shot that caught the top corner over Stolarz's shoulder, finally opening the scoring in the game.
Lehigh Valley got two opportunities to tie the game on their power play, but fumbled both. The Penguins top-ranked penalty kill kept the Phantoms to the outside, forcing them to take bad and awkward-angled shots toward Jarry. Lehigh Valley ended up having 42 seconds of their second man advantage carry over to the third period, still trailing by one.
Wilkes-Barre extended their lead to two after the Phantoms power play expired. Just 1:28 into the third, Sundqvist put a tough-angle shot off the crossbar behind Stolarz and in to give him two goals on the night. Haggerty assisted on the goal, also giving himself two points.
The Penguins controlled play from there, never removing their foot from the gas pedal. Lehigh Valley attempted to make a late comeback, pulling Stolarz after taking a timeout with 3:53 left. David Warsofsky ended up with the puck below the Penguins goal line, and sent it the length of the ice into the empty cage to ice the game for the Pens. 
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton cruised to their third straight shutout of the Phantoms, having been the only team to blank Lehigh Valley all season. The Phantoms again missed out on a great opportunity to move closer to a playoff spot, losing again in a critical game.
Lehigh Valley takes on the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday night in what is becoming a must-win game. The Phantoms magic number remains at five points to clinch a playoff berth with four games left.
  • Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has now shutout the Phantoms for 215:38 straight.
3 Stars
1. Oskar Sundqvist (WBS) – 2 Goals, Assist, +3
2. Ryan Haggerty (WBS) – 2 Assists, +2
3. Tristan Jarry (WBS) – 21 Saves, Shutout
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