If you aren’t planning to watch the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the playoffs this season, you are going to miss out on some exciting hockey. They just came back from a 4-1 deficit to beat the Providence Bruins in overtime tonight.
Already having the playoffs clinched, the Phantoms were looking to clinch home-ice advantage in the first round of the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, and to do that they would need a win at the PPL Center. And boy, did they need to work for it.
With 10:51 left in regulation, captain Colin McDonald sparked a sliver of life in the hearts of the Valley with a goal to make it 4-2.
When coach Scott Gordon decided to pull Martin Ouellette for the extra attacker in the dying minutes of the game, the Phantoms threw everything they could on Providence goaltender Zane McIntyre. Coming out of a power play without a goal, it looked as if the Phantoms would have to wait until the final day for a chance at home-ice advantage. However, with 1:02 remaining, Greg Carey scored to make it 4-3. All of a sudden, there was a game at hand.
Time started running again. The Phantoms began to pressure immensely. Nothing seemed to make its way through.
“I am score,” said Andy Miele as the puck went off his stick and in the back of the net. OK, maybe he didn’t say exactly that, but his goal with 31 seconds left tied the game up for the Phantoms.
You need to give a lot of credit to Colin McDonald there, because that was an absolutely incredible and underrated screen. That goal doesn’t happen if he is not in front of the net.
Going into OT, the Phantoms had the momentum. On a bang-bang play in front of the net, a Chris Conner pass found its way to the skate of Corban Knight and in the back of the net. A review would only prove to confirm the call on the ice, and the Phantoms won the hockey game in the oddest of fashions. This clinched them home-ice for the first round.
They will end up playing either the Bruins or Hershey Bears in the first round of the playoffs. Those teams play each other in their final game tomorrow night in Hershey, and the winner will play the Phantoms. It doesn’t matter if one wins in any specific situation, so for those of you who like to keep things simple (I know I do), there you go.
This Lehigh Valley Phantoms team is going to be an exciting one to watch next week in the playoffs.