Well, it was fun while it lasted.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (35-15-3-4) with the best offense in the league, skated away with a slim 2-1 victory over the Binghamton Devils (17-28-6-3) that ended their modest four game winning streak on Saturday at The Floyd. Goalie Ken Appleby made his fifth consecutive start and took the loss with his 22 save effort.
The game was a defensive performance by both clubs that featured some strong goaltender skills with Appleby and John Muse for the Phantoms, as the deciding goal came within the first two minutes in the third period by LV forward Chris Connor when he redirected a short pass from Tyrell Goulbourne past Appleby’s stick and into the back of the cage.
It was a spirited first period as Binghamton would open up the scoring on the first shot of the night when the Devils took advantage of a Phantom turnover near the wall that found the stick of Blake Pietila, fresh off his short stint in NJ. Pietila fed Nick Lappin from around the perimeter and his hard wrister beat Muse for his team-leading 18th goal of the season and a 1-0 Devils lead.
Things were clicking well for the BDevils in that first period and halfway into the middle frame against the powerful Phantoms until the team appeared to tire the rest of the way. Lehigh Valley saw the opportunity as the ice tilted their way and eventually tied it with a turn-around shot from inside the circle by Greg Carey that snuck by Appleby low, glove side for his team-leading 23rd goal.
Binghamton would come close during the waning seconds with Appleby finally pulled and a power play opportunity, as Carey was called for slashing with under two minutes remaining. A mad scramble in front of the net would ensue but the bouncing puck couldn’t be cradled past Muse before it was sent down the ice as time ran out for the BDevils.
Shots were in favor of Binghamton 27-24 as they held the Phantoms at bay. Nothing to hang their heads about as the effort was there and the BDevils almost pulled it off in the end against the second best team in the league.
Forwards; Pietila-Kennedy-Lappin, Lucia-Rooney-Bertschy, Latta-Speers-Bastian, Baddock-Mandat-Thomson. Defensemen; Strait-Jacobs, MacDonald-Santini, Kapla-Walman. In Goal; Ken Appleby Back up; Mackenzie Blackwood. Scratches; Brandon Gignac (inj.), Yaroslav Dyblenko, Bracken Kearns, Austin Cangelosi and Colton White. Strait, Rooney and Latta with the A’s.
Random Post Game Notes
- Forwards Ryan Penny and Kevin Morris were released prior to tonight’s game as everyone is healthy with the exception of Gignac.
- The power play was non-existent going 0/4 that included a 5v3 with very little scoring set-ups with the occasional offsides being called. Frustrating.
- Lehigh Valley has 7 players in double digits vs 4 for Binghamton. To hold the best offensive team in the league (196) to a pair of goals is really something, as they average 3.50 coming into the contest.
- Again, the pulled goalie seemed later than it should've been as Applebly went with a 1:02 left that created a 6v4. Just seems there were ample time before that OR, the coaching staff has little confidence considering how the power play is run.
- Another good crowd of over 4000 as fans were often loud with some Phantom fans in attendance as well.
#1.) Chris Connor (1g), #2.) Greg Carey (1g), #3.) Nick Lappin (1g)
Devils will hit the road for the next three games beginning on Tuesday in Belleville.