With time running out late in the third period and the Devils hanging onto a slim one goal lead, Binghamton had a chance of winning but a failed clearing attempt led to a tie goal by the Phantoms with 4.5 seconds left, as Lehigh Valley went on to win 3-2 in overtime at PPL Center on Saturday.
The BDevils (5-5-2-0) dominating all night as they caught a Phantoms (6-3-1-1) club that appeared flat, but let one slip by near the end. The contest remained scoreless for the first two periods, as all goals resulted in the final 20:48 minutes of play.
In his first appearance in three years at the AHL level, Pavel Zacha earned a point as he worked the puck from behind the net and found Marion Studenic out in front for his fifth of the season and a 1-0 lead.
Binghamton soon made it 2-0 on a fluke goal from defenseman John Ramage near the center ice red line, as his slapper caught the post and in past Phantoms’ netminder Alex Lyon. At this point, the BDevils were in complete control and dominating play with a 8-1 shot advantage early in the third until a drastic call that finally woke up the Phantoms.
With Eric Gryba and Phil Varone both in the box for roughing, Lehigh Valley pulled Lyon with 6:34 left for a six on four man advantage, and the move paid off. Defenseman T.J. Brennan’s shot from the point was tipped in by Colin McDonald past Mackenzie Blackwood that sent the home fans into a frenzy, including their players.
Then the back-breaker would come.
With Lyon pulled once again and a failed clearing attempt by Devils’ forward Blake Pietila, Varone tied it with his tip-in from, once again, another shot from the point by Brennan that sent the game into overtime.
The Devils had their scoring opportunities in the OT, but Lyon came up big stopping Kevin Rooney and Pavel Zacha, twice. However, the Phantoms made good on their only shot in the extra session as Mike Vecchione scored with about a minute left for the game winner.
Binghamton out-shot Lehigh Valley 42-26, including 4-1 in OT but earned a point on the road to help secure a three out of four possible point weekend against last season’s Atlantic Division Champions Phantoms.
Line-Up, Game #12
Forwards: Quenneville - Zacha - Studenic, Pietila - Rooney - Lappin, Baddock - McLeod - Bastian, Gignac - Sharangovich - Schmelzer
Defensemen: Kapla - Ramage, White - Gryba, Hammond - Jacobs
In Goal: Mackenzie Blackwood, Eddie Lack
Scratches: Eric Tangradi, Brian Strait both out injured, Colby Sissons healthy
Post Game Notes
- Rooney and Kapla with the A’s.
- Pavel Zacha made his first appearance in the AHL since 2015-’16 when he skated in eight games for the Albany Devils. He looked very smooth and polished as he showcased a very quick shot along with automatic passes, as he finished with an assist and a game high 6 shots.
- Devils had this one in the bag. Yes, they got a fluke goal by Ramage but they really showed an effort and gave hope. Tough loss to swallow.
- This ended the third contest in eight days between the two clubs as the Devils went 1-1-1-0 during that span against a very good Lehigh Valley team.
- Real gutsy move in pulling Lyon from head coach Scott Gordon, but his players responded. In hindsight, the game was tilted all night on the Devils end so drastic times call for drastic measures, I’m assuming. Maybe I would’ve done the same? Nah. Still, it was effective.
- Pietila with a really poor effort of getting rid of the puck as he had all the time in the world but his backhanded attempt was weak and nonchalant it would appear.
- Mikey McLeod continued with another strong performance as he has found his groove. Ever since he was benched, this is a totally different player. A full year is needed in his development as there are plenty of other forwards to go around as a next call-up.
- Blackwood was great. Made some really nice kick saves as he looks to be in excellent shape. Not to blame in this one.
#1. Mike Vecchione (1g, 1a), #2. Phil Varone (1g), #3. Colin McDonald (1g)
Binghamton visits Bridgeport on Wednesday before two weekend games at home. The Devils face the Sound Tigers just twice this season.