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Thursday, November 17, 2016

WBS @ Lehigh Valley Recap w/Post-Game reactions by @WBSJeff_PI

First of 12 Meetings between the Rivals

Starting Goalies - 

WBSTristan Jarry (6-2-1; 1.76GAA; .935 SV Pct.)

- LV: Alex Lyon (2-1-1; 2.99GAA; .909 SV Pct.)

Starting Lineups:

WBS: #2 Ruhwedel, #3 McNeill, #17 Rowney, #29 Kostopoulos, #19 Garrett Wilson

- LV: #13 Colin McDonald, #23 Taylor Leier, #43 T.J. Brennan, #44 Reece Wilcox, #49 Scott Laughton

First Period:

- The first five minutes of play between these bitter rivals this season was a prime example of the feeling out process. Both teams struggled to make accurate passes and create anything in the form of a good scoring chance. Icing and offside whistles echoed throughout the crowded PPL Center as the Penguins accomplished their goal of not allowing the large crowd into the game early. The first good scoring chance for either team came for the Phantoms as their young defenseman Travis Sanheim entered the zone on the rush. He tried to make a play with a nifty pass that wouldn't find the mark and a sprawling Tristan Jarry was able to breathe. At the 12:28 mark of the period, Tom Kostopoulos entered the Lehigh Valley zone and fed a perfect cross-ice pass to the tape of Carter Rowney who skated into the slot and buried a sweet wrister behind Lyons. The referee waved it off without hesitation claiming Jake Guentzel had interfered with the Goaltender. The replay showed Guentzel clearly close to Lyons but it appeared as though he avoided making contact with the netminder. Dominik Simon almost made it 1-0 on the only Power Play of the period but he chipped a rebound just wide of the mark. Late in the frame Phantoms forward Scott Laughton had a breakaway chance denied by Jarry who got his blocker up just in time to deflect the shot harmlessly into the corner. The Phantoms dominated the shot totals but the Pens had quality scoring chances. 

- Shots: WBS: 7 LV: 16

WBS PP: 0/1 PK: 0/0

- Scoring: N/A

Second Period:

- Just over two minutes into the second stanza of this monster mid-week clash of rivals, rookie Thomas Di Pauli crashed the crease and banged home an Oskar Sundqvist rebound to register his very first pro goal. A huge goal indeed, assuring the Penguins wouldn't be haunted by the Rowney disallowed tally in the first period. Tristan Jarry continued to make save after save, including a handful of the highlight reel variety. Both teams would trade unsuccessful Power Play chances and then the Penguins started to control things a bit. They were getting to their game, getting pucks deep and controlling possession with long offensive zone shifts. The second line specifically created several top notch scoring opportunities. Simon and Guentzel teamed up on a gorgeous passing play but were unable to finish. Late in the period Corban Knight was robbed on the rush by Jarry who sprawled and made a huge pad save, only Knight tapped in the rebound for his fourth of the year to tie the game at 1. That's how the frame ended setting up a huge early season third period for the AHL's version of Rivalry Night.

- Shots: WBS: 18 ; LV: 28

WBS PP: 0/2 ; PK: 1/1

- Scoring: 2:23 - WBS - Thomas Di Pauli (1) from Sundqvist; 17:29 - LV - Knight (4) from Fazleev, Martel.

Third Period:

- Corban Knight committed a tripping minor just under three minutes into the third and final period of this battle. The Penguins had their chance to take control of the game and erase the momentum of the late 2nd period equalizer, they would not. Almost a full two minutes of inaccurate passing and poor decision making instead gave the momentum to the team killing the penalty. With about fourteen minutes left to play, LV dumped a puck into the WBS zone, where the Penguins would fumble and whack at a puck on the boards. Somehow the puck ended up directly at the feet of Tristan Jarry who watched Greg Carey tuck an easy one behind him. Not even a full minute later, uber-talented defenseman Travis Sanheim threw a puck to the net where Jarry tried to glove it out of the air. The netminder didn't play it cleanly and dropped it right onto the stick of Taylor Leier standing on the doorstep. 3-1 Phantoms and despite another few Power Plays the Penguins remained silent throughout the period. T.J. Brennan hit an empty WBS net from the far blue line and the 4-1 final brought the Phantoms to within 2 points of the Pens in the Atlantic Division Standings.

- Shots: WBS: 31 ; LV: 36

WBS PP: 0/5 ; PK: 3/3

- Scoring: 5:57 - LV - Carey (8) from Zengerle and Conner; 6:51 - LV - Leier (4) from Sanheim and Laughton; 19:35 - LV - Brennan (4) Unassisted

3 Stars:

*** - Greg Carey (1G)

** - Alex Lyons (30/31 Saves)
* - Corban Knight (1G)

Post Game Notes & Quotes:

- Head Coach Clark Donatelli addressed the Phantoms getting so many shots early on in the game by saying; "That's a good team over there, they have a lot of good players and we just didn't have our "A" game."

- Puck management was clearly Donatelli's message following the 4-1 loss. "Too many turnovers. If you give that kind of team too many chances they are going to end up in the back of your net."

- Thomas Di Pauli netted his first pro goal early in the second period. His coach was proud and thinks there is more where that came from. "Nice Goal, he's gonna get a bunch of those. He's hard on the pucks, good in front of the net and if you go to those hard areas you're going to get rewarded."

- Lukas Bengtsson played in his second straight game after missing the first month of the season with an illness (Lyme's Disease). He skated on a pairing with David Warsofsky and displayed his puck moving skills. He is a good one folks, makes it look easy.

- The PPL Center announced the mid-week clash as a standing room only sell-out, but in reality the building was about half full.

- This was the first of 12 meetings between these two teams. They meet again on Jan. 20th and then they will play 10 of WBS' final 30 Games head-to-head.

Thanks so much for the interaction tonight during the game and to anyone reading my recap here! Follow me on twitter @WBSJeff_PI.

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