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Phantoms melt the IceCaps in important win before All-Star break

A third-period surge boosts the Phantoms past St. Johns before a four-day AHL All-Star break.

Kevin Goumas nets his third goal of the season in Phantoms 4-3 win over St. Johns
Kevin Goumas nets his third goal of the season in Phantoms 4-3 win over St. Johns

ALLENTOWN— After dropping four of their last five, and one game remaining before the AHL All-Star break, the Phantoms were desperate for a win Saturday as they welcomed the St. Johns IceCaps. But with four days off, the Phantoms can relax after earning an important two points in a 4-3 win over our friends from the North.

In true Phantoms fashion the team’s leading scorers Nick Cousins and Andrew Gordon kicked the night off in Lehigh Valley. Thanks to a forecheck by Zack Stortini, Cousins forced a takeaway above the right faceoff circle in LV’s offensive zone, fed a pass across the crease to Gordon who easily tipped it in, to give the Phantoms an early lead.

In 31 games played, forward Kevin Goumas netted just one goal for the Phantoms. But since Friday, the second-year Phantom has a goal and an assist in two consecutive games, including the spark that lit the Phantoms successful three-goal third period. Petr Straka and Taylor Leier would also score in the Phantoms 4-3 win.

  • Terry Murray confirmed during post-game interviews that Ryan White will head to Philadelphia in wake of the forthcoming Rinaldo suspension. Although Rinaldo's hearing is scheduled for Monday, White planned to leave for Philadelphia directly after the Phantoms post-game jersey auction (his went for $725).
  • Martin Ouellette made his fourth AHL start Saturday, after a mid-week mishap that had him pulled in the first 15 minutes of the opening period of his third start in Lehigh Valley. Despite allowing three goals on seven shots Wednesday, Ouellette kept the Phantoms competitive Saturday, facing an aggressive St. Johns team, and saving 23-of-26 shots faced for his third AHL win.
  • While the Phantoms special teams unit has been inconsistent this season, the Phantoms PK worked hard Sunday as they killed off five of seven penalties. Despite allowing two power play goals by Will O’Neill, Terry Murray said he is happy with the way the Phantoms unit has worked this season, thanks to "great goaltending all the time."
  • The two power-play goals allowed came from a wicked slapshot from O'Neill and on a 5-on-3 opportunity for the IceCaps as the Phantoms took a regrettable penalty for playing with a broken stick-- penalties that Murray said the team obviously shouldn't be committing.
  • The Phantoms debuted special inaugural season jerseys Saturday, paired with another orange t-shirt giveaway. Every fan in attendance (8,983 total-- a the largest crowd for a Phantoms game this season) received special inaugural season t-shirts, and had the opportunity to bid on the game-worn jersey of their choice in a post-game auction benefiting Phantoms Charities.
  • D-man Brandon Manning is the lone Phantom to attend the AHL All-Star Classic in his second appearance on an AHL all-star roster. Manning has missed just two games for the Phantoms this season, and has seven goals and 19 helpers, making him the team’s highest scoring defenseman.
  • The 2015 classic will be held in Utica, NY with the skills competition scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 25 at 8PM, and the Hall of Fame induction and All-Star game scheduled for Monday, Jan. 26 at 7PM. The AHL skills competition and all-star game will be broadcasted live on CSN Philly.