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Phantoms fight off a 6-on-3 PK to lock in 3-2 win over Toronto

Phantoms PK is good.

ALLENTOWN— The Phantoms kick off a five game home stand with a 3-2 thriller over the Toronto Marlies in front of the largest crowd the PPL Center has hosted this season.

Leading the Marlies (5-7-1) by one with two minutes to go, two avoidable penalties by the Phantoms (6-6-1) gave Toronto a 6-on-3 (!) advantage after pulling their goalie.

Robert Hagg, Brandon Manning and Darroll Powe were Rob Zepp’s only line of defense for the eight recorded shots in the final 1:30 of the game. Toronto had only sent four shots towards Zepp in the first 18 minutes of the period.

Hagg recorded at least three blocked shots as Zepp was forced to lay out post-to-post multiple times.

Zepp saved 28-of-30, but credits the game to the men in front of him during the 6-on-3.

“It’s a huge boost when you’re killing and making saves and those guys are blocking shots,” Zepp said. “When the table is kind of stacked against you and everyone is kind of laying it all out there its great thing when you’re able to get through that.”

  • The Phantoms were in familiar territory after Toronto tied the game at two with just over 11 minutes remaining in regulation. Every home game this season has been down to the wire, with Lehigh Valley utilizing its home ice advantage.
  • The Phantoms capitalized on a 5-on-3 opportunity thanks to a slapshot from Brandon Manning from beyond the faceoff circle for the game winner.
  • After dropping three straight at the end of October, the Phantoms began their two week road slate in hopes to improve their performance with some team bonding.
  • Tonight’s win improves the Phantoms to 2-5-1 in the last eight games. Still some work to do, but with four more games at home in the next eleven days, head coach Terry Murray thinks the team will improve with a combination of its home ice advantage, and the vitality of winning games at home.
  • Scott Laughton kicked off Phantoms scoring with his first goal since Oct. 25 assisted by Taylor Leier. Despite his three-week scoring drought, Laughton still led the Phantoms in goals prior to tonight’s game with five goals, and extended his margin with his two point performance.
  • Hextall played his last game with the Phantoms on Oct. 18; in his three games with Lehigh Valley before sustaining a upper body injury, he accumulated a minus two rating with no points and three SOG.
  • Marlies ranked 30th (!) in the AHL in offense, averaging 1.7 goals per game. Toronto scored their first of the night off its first shot of the game after a strange rebound behind Zepp.
  • It was a scrappy game from the start, from Stortini taking a high stick to the face in the first minute, to rough hits and extra curricular’s after the whistle. Forty-four minutes of unsportsmanlike penalties were handed out during tonight’s game, including a 10 minutes game misconduct to Jay Rosehill after the final buzzer, and both benches cleared, forcing officials to separate the dueling teams.
  • With tonight’s attendance of 8,644, the Phantoms beat their opening night numbers by 17. The team has sold out two of their five regular season home games so far this season, and each game has brought in over 8,000 fans.
  • With the win, Lehigh Valley moves to third in the East Division, back at .500.

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