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Phantoms can't catch a break, lose 5-1 to Providence at home

At least it wasn't a shutout?

Pat Jacoby Photography

ALLENTOWN— After dropping their sixth consecutive home game, and 11th of the New Year on Friday in a 5-1 setback to Providence, head coach Terry Murray didn't address his team, saying the players needed time to "grab a hold of this thing and think about what they've got to do."

The loss placed the Phantoms in 11th place in the conference, with a six point deficit behind eighth-place playoff cutoff and 24 games remaining in the regular season.

The first 20 minutes started slow, with both teams figuring each other out in their first meeting of the season. Scoreless after the first period, and chances for each, the Bruins reemerged from the locker room ready to put some points on the board.

Providence’s starting center Ryan Spooner scored from the point just eight seconds into the second frame, giving the Bruins the momentum they needed to put four unanswered goals on the board in the second period. Spooner earned a two-goal performance for Providence with the opening goal and a final power play goal with two minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Colin Stuart also had a two-goal game for Providence with a power play and even strength goal in the Bruins victory.

With a late third-period goal, Petr Straka saved the Phantoms from being shut out on home ice for the first time this season, but the time for a come back had passed.

Lehigh Valley took unnecessary penalties and turned over the puck at the wrong times, Friday. Committing more fundamental mistakes that have plagued the young team frequently this season.

"It's fixable mistakes," Phantoms d-man Oliver Lauridsen said. "It's not something they're doing its something we're doing to ourselves. It's a shame for our fans, its a shame for ourselves because its important games we're playing at home."

  • Starting goaltender Anthony Stolarz was replaced by ECHL call-up Martin Ouellette after allowing four goals on 18 shots in the second period. Stolarz has been pulled in 24 percent of his starts this season (relived in six of 21 starts).
  • The Providence Bruins were sit comfortably in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, and have won eight of their last 11 outings. But away from the comfort of their home ice, the Bruins have struggled on the road, with just one win in the last seven road contests prior to Friday's contest. With a win over Lehigh Valley, Providence is 2-3-4 on the road since the New Year.
  • Starting  at center for the Phantoms, Scott Laughton was on the first line for the first time since his three-month stint with the Flyers, paired with Jason Akeson and Andrew Gordon. Laughton was line-mates with Gordon and Taylor Leier Wednesday, in the Phantoms OT loss vs. Binghamton. Terry Murray said the line-change prior to tonight's game (placing Taylor Leier on the fourth-line with Kevin Goumas and Petr Straka) were due to performance on Wednesday, but after allowing four goals in the second period, Leier was moved to Laughton and Gordon's line once again in hopes to gain momentum.
  • Jason Akeson's 10-game point streak ended Friday before setting the AHL season-high for longest streak. Prior to Friday Akeson had eight goals and six assists in his last 10 appearances. Since returning to the Phantoms on Nov. 28, the winger has registered 16 goals (tied for team-high) and 16 assists.