After scoring a power play goal to take the lead in the latter stages of the last period, the home team still needed to survive a shot off the iron and a highly unusual six-on-three shorthanded situation as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms outlasted the visiting Toronto Marlies 3-2 to get back on the winning track in the American Hockey League.
Canadian legionnaire Brandon Manning, the undrafted 24-year-old rearguard who has now skated a dozen National Hockey League games for the Philadelphia Flyers in his four seasons of professional hockey, netted a 5-on-3 power play goal for the Phantoms with just under four minutes remaining; immediately after having his offensive skills questioned by this very blog, it is Manning who produces power play strikes in back-to-back AHL games Lehigh Valley this weekend, it shall be noted here.
Third-year pro Greg McKegg, the 22-year-old center who was the third round selection (# 62 overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2010 NHL Draft, was unlucky not to equalize for the visiting Marlies very late after clanking the iron; it had been McKegg who had already leveled for Toronto on the power play earlier in the third period.
Lehigh Valley goaltender Rob Zepp, the former Eisbaeren Berlin backstop and veteran German international who has started ten of the Phantoms’ first thirteen games this season, made a few key saves along the way, particularly at the end of the contest, and lowered his impressive AHL numbers this term (10 ga, 2.56 avg, .920 svpct) in the process; Lehigh Valley defenseman Robert Hagg, the 19-year-old rookie from Sweden who was the second round pick (# 41 overall) of the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2013 NHL Draft, had a pivotal block in the closing moments.
November 15, 2014
PPL Center – Allentown, Pennsylvania
Attendance : 8,664
Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3 – Toronto Marlies 2
05:09 … TOR – Bodie (Ross, Carrick)
09:55 … LV – Laughton (Leier)
10:52 … LV – Cousins (Delisle)
48:25 … TOR – McKegg (Brown, Finn) – ppg
56:02 … LV – Manning (Gordon, Laughton) – ppg
shots-on-goal : LV 31 ( 9 + 9 + 13 ) – TOR 30 ( 6 + 11 + 13 )
penalty minutes : TOR 17 + 10-min misconduct – LV 17 + 2 10-min misconducts
power plays : LV 1/5 – TOR 1/5
fights : Mathers (LV) vs Broll (TOR)
10-minute misconducts : Fyten (LV), Ross (TOR), Rosehill (LV)
Lehigh Valley : Zepp – Delisle, Manning ; Hagg, Pettersson ; Lauridsen, Flemming – Leier, Laughton, Gordon ; Straka, Cousins, Sortini ; Rosehill, Powe, Alderson ; Fyten, Goumas, Mathers
Toronto : Gibson – Finn, Granberg, Loov, MacWilliam, Marshall, Nilsson, Percy – Biggs, Bodie, Broll, Brown, Carrick, Devane, Findlay, Kontiola, McKegg, Ross, Watling
Notes — the Phantoms duo of Robert Hagg and Jesper Pettersson combined with the Marlies trio of Petter Granberg, Viktor Loov and Tom Nilsson meant that this AHL contest featured no fewer than five Swedish defensemen operating on the two blue lines; Loov, the well-built (6’3″ 210 lbs) 22-year-old who was the seventh round choice (# 209 overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2012 NHL Draft, was a teammate of Hagg’s with Mo Do Ornskoldsvik in the Swedish elite league last season.
One highly experienced international player turning out for the Toronto Marlies in downtown Allentown was 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Petri Kontiola, the creative 30-year-old center who has appeared with Finland at six major international tournaments in his career (52 ga, 17 go, 42 pts). Kontiola skated in a dozen games (0 go, 5 pts) for the Chicago Black Hawks during the 2007/08 NHL campaign and was a consistent point-producer at the AHL level (147 ga, 37 go, 130 pts), mostly for the Rockford IceHogs, during his first stint in North American pro hockey but has spent the last five years in the Kontinental Hockey League playing for Russian clubs Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Traktor Chelyabinsk. Kontiola was named Best Forward and also selected to the tournament All-Star team at the 2013 IIHF World Championships in Scandinavia after registering eight goals and 16 points in 10 games for the unlucky Finns, who would up empty-handed after losing 3-2 to the United States in the Bronze Medal Match.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms center Scott Laughton, the 20-year-old rookie who was the Philadelphia Flyers’ first round pick (# 20 overall) at the 2012 NHL Draft, ended his seven-game goal-less streak with a first period strike against the Toronto Marlies.