ALLENTOWN— The Phantoms wouldn't let fans end the season without at least one more nerve-wracking win, despite the standings. Friday, Lehigh Valley put on another show for fans, as they forced the last-place Admirals into overtime and eventually a shootout to earn their sixth win over their East Division foe this season by a score of 2-1.
The team did not have an effective start, however, allowing a wraparound goal by Matt Bailey just two minutes into the game.
Head coach Terry Murray used their time out just four minutes in to set the team straight after a few unnecessary mistakes. The young team looked sloppy and could not control the puck early in the first period.
Scott Laughton evened the score on a power play goal, screened by Zack Stortini midway through the second period.
Laughton's game-tying goal would eventually lead the team into their 21st overtime appearance this season.
But after seven minutes of scoreless overtime, the game headed into a shootout-- where the Phantoms have excelled this season. Lehigh Valley leads the league in shootouts with a 7-1 overall record after OT. It was no different tonight as Rob Zepp stopped two-of-three Norfolk's shooters, while Faragher allowed goals from Laughton and Petr Straka for the Phantoms win.
- Rob Zepp started in his ninth-straight game Friday but the 33-year-old didn’t miss a beat. It was an exciting night on both ends of the ice in terms of chances, with Zepp making acrobatic saves to keep the score down. Zepp faced more than 30 shots on average in his previous eight starts, and faced 34 Friday. Head coach Terry Murray said Zepp will not start in 10-straight, however, despite his excellent performance in the second half of Friday's win. Anthony Stolarz will get his first start since March 14.
- The Phantoms hold a perfect 6-0 record over Norfolk, with every win being a one-goal contest, including three in shootouts. They take on the Admirals again tomorrow with Stolarz in net.
- With their playoff hopes done, and just six games remaining in the season, Friday night was also an audition for the Phantoms forwards in front of Ron Hextall and Paul Holmgren, who were in town scouting a forward to step in during the Flyers season finale Saturday versus Ottawa. Murray could not release information on who the team has chosen to recall. The team will most likely announce the call-up Saturday morning. Look for Laughton to make another NHL appearance, though, as the center had a regulation goal and the game-winner in the shootout. He was impressive with his speed and kept his composure when the team was struggling early in the first period.
- There were no scratches Friday that would point towards a potential recall. All scratches were due to injury or illness.