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Double-digit penalties doom Phantoms as they drop first of 2015

After a four-game winning streak on the road to kick off the new year, the Phantoms were unable to push past Albany on Friday.

Pat Jacoby Photography

ALLENTOWN -- Phantoms head coach Terry Murray had no comment on tonight's 3-2 loss to Albany, but we can all guess what he's thinking.

After taking a one-goal lead in the second period, the Phantoms spent a lot of unnecessary time in the penalty box -- 10 penalties in total for the game -- and handed the Devils two power-play goals, which sealed their fate despite valiant efforts to regain the lead.

Prior to tonight's game, the Phantoms killed off 11 straight penalties, and another seven at the beginning of tonight's matchup. But the levy broke five minutes into the third period.

"People have to just go home and look in the mirror and say, 'What the hell was I thinking?'," alternate captain Andrew Gordon said, referencing specifically, an unnecessary slash and a hold. "Just don't do that... It's just these simple things that we find ourselves not thinking about for a split second could cost us the game, could cost us the playoffs."

Murray has preached composure to his young team all season, but a combination of frustration and getting too comfortable coming off of a four-game winning streak on the road led to avoidable mistakes. But Gordon said the team has time to correct those mistakes before tomorrows game against Binghamton.

Albany is 3-0 over the Phantoms with one game remaining between the two teams this season.

  • The Phantoms' top two scorers, Nick Cousins and Andrew Gordon, scored for Lehigh Valley, netting their 10th and 11th goals, respectively.
  • After Cousins’ goal in the second period, the Phantoms fell flat, allowing Albany to take control of the pace of the game. Midway through the second period the Phantoms led in shots 18-9, but by the final buzzer, indicating the end of the second period the Phantoms trailed in SOG 22-24.

  • Anthony Stolarz kept the game as close as possible, saving 33-of-36. Stolarz is now 6-7-1-1, and has emerged as the Phantoms No. 1 goaltender with Rob Zepp out of the lineup.
  • The Phantoms and Devils were tied at 41 points prior to tonight's matchup, with the Phantoms having three games in-hand over Albany. The regulation loss cost Lehigh Valley eighth place in the conference, and kept them from moving up to second place in the East Division.
  • The Phantoms remain two points behind Hershey in the East, with one game in hand. Luckily Hershey and Wilkes-Barre, the two divisional teams ahead of the Phantoms in the standings, did not play tonight, so they did not lose too much ground in the division.
  • The Phantoms introduced their orange alternate jerseys tonight, and will wear the new sweaters during every Friday home game for the remainder of the season.

  • With 8,701 fans in attendance tonight the Phantoms have sold out eight games this season with tonight’s being its third-consecutive standing-room only sellout. Tomorrow’s game against Binghamton will be the Phantoms fourth-consecutive sellout, and largest crowd this year, as tickets are already completely sold out, no tickets, including standing room, will be sold at the gate.
  • The previous Phantoms attendance record was 8,918 fans, with more than 500 standing room tickets sold. Tomorrow’s game could potentially break 9,000 fans in attendance.