ALLENTOWN— After dropping seven of his last 10 starts, we may have seen a new and improved Anthony Stolarz Saturday, as the rookie goaltender aided the Phantoms (25-22-6-1) to an important two points in their 3-2 OT win against Binghamton (22-26-6-1), and received a secondary assist on the game-winning overtime goal, for his first pro point.
In front of the second largest Phantoms crowd this season, Stolarz stopped 25 of 27 shots including two odd-man rushes in overtime to save the game. Saturday was his first win at home since Dec. 19.
Saturday's win also broke a rough seven game losing streak at home for the Phantoms.
Kevin Goumas netted his fifth goal of the season, scoring off one knee thanks to a perfect play from Zack Stortini and Brandon Manning mid way though the first period.That one-goal lead would last until the third before rookie Ryan Dzingel would score his 12th and 13th goals of the season -- nearly netting a hat trick with less than a minute left in regulation.
In true Phantoms fashion, after allowing Binghamton to gain a late lead, a third period power play goal by Brett Hextall would tie it up and send the game into overtime for the sixth (!) time in the Phantoms last eight contests.
With 3:27 left in the overtime period, Manning receives a pass from Petr Straka and sends a center-point slap shot past Senator's goaltender Peter Mannino for the game-winner and his 10th goal of the season.
- Saturday was Stolarz's 22nd start for the Phantoms (8-11-3-1). The rookie has struggled since December, winning just three of his last 12 starts. Stolarz has been relieved in 23% of his starts this season (five out of 22).
With just 14 seconds left in the first period Nick Cousins dropped the gloves for the second time this season after being challenged by rookie Ryan Dzingel. After pushing Cousins’ back into the Binghamton bench, linesman Matt McNulty stepped in to separate the two, and took a punch to the back of the head from Dzingel, and "blacked out for a moment." McNulty returned for the start of the second period, but left midway though and did not return. Along with the fighting major, Dzingel received a 10 minute misconduct for attempting to continue the fight after officials stepped in. The AHL will likely take a look at the footage to determine if he should receive any suspension for striking an official. Dzingel would eventually score both of Binghamton’s goals in the third period.
- The Flyers placed goaltender Rob Zepp on waivers Saturday due to his extended time in Philadelphia, with the intent to return him back to Lehigh Valley. There is no reason to believe that Rob Zepp will not clear waivers, meaning the 33-year-old will return to the Phantoms and will likely start against Hershey on Sunday evening.
- Phantoms remain in third place in the East Division with 57 points, but are creeping up on that eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, now in 11th place and nine points behind Providence, currently ranked eighth. Twenty-two games now remain in the regular season.
- Twenty-three year old defenseman Mark Alt was a late scratch Saturday due to illness. No reason to believe his absence is due to any trade negotiations, Murray confirmed Alt came down with food poisoning prior to puck drop. Alt missed 17 games (seven weeks) after breaking his right hand on Dec. 31, and returned Feb. 14.
- Blair Jones will likely return in mid-march from a lower body injury he sustained on Jan. 16. The center has missed 16 games, and is projected to miss at least three more.