A power play goal nearly five minutes into overtime put an end to the winning ways of the Berlin Wall as the suddenly ineffective Lehigh Valley Phantoms fell 2-1 at the hands of the intra-state rival Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins as the American Hockey League‘s all-Pennsylvania competition continues.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rookie netminder Matt Murray, the lanky 20-year-old (6’5″ 172 lbs) from Thunder Bay, Ontario, who was the third round pick (# 83 overall) of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, had a phenomenal evening in turning aside 42 of 43 shots faced.
Fellow Penguins rookie Jean-Sebastien Dea, the undrafted 20-year-old center from Laval, Quebec, scored the game-winner and added an assist against the Phantoms, as well, to assume Scranton/Wilkes-Barre leadership with seven points so far this season (7 ga, 3 go).
Lehigh Valley, clearly missing the influences of the two American defensemen, Shayne Gostisbehere (recalled by the Philadelphia Flyers) and Mark Alt (injured), went a woeful 0 for 9 on the power play and failed to convert two lengthy 5-on-3 opportunities, one each in the second and third periods, respectively. The punchless Phantoms also did not take advantage of the fact that, during the course of the contest, the visiting Penguins lost two of their six defensemen on account of injuries. Roughhouser Reid McNeill, the sixth round selection (# 170 overall) of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2010 NHL Draft who had 119 penalty minutes in 55 games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season, went to the locker room towards the end of the second period while Derrick Pouliot, the highly touted 20-year-old rookie who was the Penguins’ first round (# 8 overall) choice at the 2012 NHL Draft who did well for Canada (7 ga, 1 go, 5 pts) at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships last winter, got hurt early in the third frame.
Pouliot made an excellent pass set up Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s first goal from experienced Canadian legionnaire Andrew Ebbett, the 31-year-old former University of Michigan center who has skated in 200 NHL games (25 go, 65 pts) in his career.
Former Eisbaeren Berlin goaltender Rob Zepp made thirty saves and did not concede an even-strength goal but it was not enough to prevent the German national team veteran from absorbing his first defeat in the American Hockey League since the now 33-year-old stood between the pipes for the Lowell Lock Monsters more than a decade ago during the 2003/04 season.
The depleted Lehigh Valley Phantoms have now scored just one goal in nearly 125 minutes of AHL play against the two Pennsylvania foes and will need to regroup quickly.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms shot-stopper Rob Zepp (72) increased his save percentage (.918) while lowering his goals-against-average (2.50) but still suffered his first AHL loss in five starts this season against the visiting Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins on Wednesday night.
October 29, 2014
PPL Center – Allentown, Pennsylvania
Attendance : 6,733
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins 2 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 1 … (overtime)
11:17 … SWB – Ebbett (Pouliot, Dea) – ppg
35:59 … LV – Sortini (Cousins)
64:58 … SWB – Dea (Dumoulin, Chorney) – ppg
shots-on-goal : LV 43 ( 11 + 13 + 12 + 7 ) – SWB 32 ( 13 + 8 + 9 + 2 )
penalty minutes : SWB 25 – LV 15
power plays : SWB 2/5 – LV 0/9
fights : Flemming (LV) vs Wilson (SWB)
10-minute misconducts : none
Lehigh Valley : Zepp – Hagg, Pettersson ; Lauridsen, Flemming ; Delisle, Lamarche – Leier, Laughton, Gordon ; Powe, Goumas, Alderson ; Straka, Cousins, Sortini ; Fyten, Johnston, Mathers
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre : Murray – Dumoulin, Chorney ; Samuelsson, McNeill ; Harrington, Pouliot – Wilson, Ebbett, Megna ; Kuehnhackl, Dea, Rust ; Zlobin, Torquato, Kotsopoulous ; Uher, Payerl, Letourneau-Leblond
Notes — with Gostisbehere recalled to Philadelphia and Alt on the shelf with a shoulder injury, the Phantoms defensive corps lost even more human resources when the Flyers summoned Brandon Manning to the National Hockey League. The undrafted 24-year-old from Prince George, British Columbia, spent all of last season with the Adirondack Phantoms in the American Hockey League but already has ten games of NHL experience under his belt having spent parts of his first two professional campaigns with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Up from the Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League to beef up the Lehigh Valley back line is Maxim Lamarche, the undrafted 22-year-old from Laval, Quebec, whose spent most of his rookie season turning out in the ECHL for the Elmira Jackals (50 ga, 3 go, 8 pts, 38 pen, + 2 def rat) but did make a dozen appearances for the Adirondack Phantoms in the AHL, as well.
Returning to active duty for the Phantoms against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was left wing Petr Straka, the 22-year-old import from the Czech Republic who was the second round choice (# 55 overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2010 NHL Draft; Straka had two goals and three points in four games for Lehigh Valley before going out injured.
One-third of the eighteen skaters who were in uniform for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ first-ever official regular season AHL game on the road at the Scranton/Wikes-Barre Penguins almost three weeks were not available for the return match-up in Allentown on Wednesday night.