The Binghamton Senators (5-9-1-1) and Lehigh Valley Phantoms (11-4-1-0) locked horns that featured both goaltenders solid in net, as the Phantoms skated away with the slimmest of margins, by a score of 1-0 on Thanksgiving Eve at The Floyd on Wednesday night. LV’s rookie netminder Alex Lyon (5-2-1-0 2.49 GAA, 0.920 SV%) recorded his first pro shutout with his 28 saves while Andrew Hammond was just as strong in his performance as he stopped all but one of 24 shots in his first appearance since his lower body injury.
The two teams engaged in a defensive battle for the majority of the night when Hammond was tested right off the bat as Phantoms’ forward Taylor Leier’s wrister was gloved, then again on another a short time later. Leier would get his revenge though before the night was over.
But it was Lyon with the save of the game as he simply robbed Sens’ forward Nick Paul in front with a quick glove reaction in the first period that caused Paul to look towards the rafters in disbelief. It was an amazing save, as the puck was headed to the back of the net as Buddy Robinson did all the work from behind the cage.
Lyon also came up with a brilliant toe save on a shot from defenseman Guillaume Lepine that deflected off a stick from a Phantom defenseman in front, as Lyon lunged with a desperate split and was able to deflect the puck harmlessly away to the boards.
The lone goal was scored at the 9:21 mark of the third period as Phantoms’ Captain Colin McDonald scored his eighth of the season by being at the right place at the right time. It was Leier’s short pass to McDonald near the crease that sent Hammond off balance with his move to cover the shooter and was able to stop the initial shot, but the puck bounced right back to McDonald for his own rebound goal as the puck was lifted into the empty net over a sprawled out Hammond.
Binghamton went through the motions in the final two minutes with the extra attacker in place of Hammond, but came up short as the Phantoms with their 11th win in 15 games.
POST GAME NOTES
- Hammond looked cool, confident and collective as I had no issues with his play except on a few rebounds that were ripe for the picking, including the game winning goal. His next start will be on Saturday at home against the Syracuse Crunch as either Matt O’Connor or Chris Driedger will go on Friday in Allentown. All 3 will remain with the team for the time being.
- I thought the Perron-Flanagan-Rodewald was decent with all three swarming the ice on the forecheck and creating offensive opportunities. Add Chris Carlisle in the mix as he also was active on both ends of the ice.
- Lehigh Valley is a strong team that is rather stacked with talent. They are the real deal with 9 players in double digit points (tied for 1st with 60 goals in the AHL) while the Senators have none (next to last with 34 goals), but are somewhat thin with the goaltending, unless Lyon can be a workhorse barring an unforeseeable injury.
- Taking a look in the standings Binghamton (0.375) is 2nd to last place in the entire league, a few percentage points in front of the Hartford Wolf Pack (0.353). Awesome.
- Bailey-Varone-Blunden, Paul-Rupert-Robinson, Perron-Flanagan-Rodewald, Krushelnyski- -Stortint. Claesson/Kostka, Englund/Harpur, Lepine/Carlisle, Sieloff. Nehring should return from his concussion next week. Rumble a healthy scratch.
- Perron switched from #19 to #27, which was Curtis Lazar’s number when he was here as you probably can guess Lazar is up for good in Ottawa.
- 1st star; Lyon. 2nd star; McDonald. 3rd star; Hammond.
- Happy Thanksgiving to those in the USA!/
Home on home series with the Phantoms continues on Friday at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA.