Photo courtesy of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Facebook page.
After getting a good look in back-to-back wins for the Flyers, Shayne Gostisbehere was once again in the lineup on Tuesday night against Los Angeles. However, his time on ice was limited, especially late in the game. He made a risky play in front of his own crease on a breakout that caused some oohs and aahs on one of his three short shifts in the 3rd period. Overall he has 16 shifts totaling 12:40 time on ice with one shot on goal and with a -1 rating.
Prior to Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay the Flyers called up another defenseman from the AHL, Brandon Manning. There was speculation that this move was just precautionary for the road trip, but that wasn’t the case. The arrival of Manning lead to Gostisbehere being scratched from Thursday’s game. General Manager Ron Hextall wants to get Gostisbehere big minutes in the AHL before playing more in the NHL, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In Manning’s 2014 debut on Thursday he put up an assist with a nice floater to the net on Jakub Voracek’s goal in the 3rd period. Manning’s previous NHL experience showed as he played 14 minutes and put up an assist and an even plus-minus.
With the Flyers calling up Manning on Wednesday, that left the Phantoms a bit shorthanded on the blue line for their game that night against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Rob Zepp stopped 30 of the first 31 shots he faced before letting in the overtime game winner in a 2-1 losing effort. The Phantoms definitely put up a good effort though with 43 shots on goal and 9 power play opportunities. Special teams were key here, with the Penguins scoring their first goal on an extended 5-on-3 power play.
Defensive prospect Robert Haag registered a game-high 7 shots on goal, while the top line of Taylor Leier, Scott Laughton and Andrew Gordon had 4, 5, and 4 shots on goal respectively.
Lehigh Valley’s lone goal was scored by tough guy Zack Stortini who also managed 7 shots on goal.
This was the first home loss for the Phantoms as well as their first overtime loss, winning both of their previous overtime games.
Mark Alt was scratched with an upper body injury, and might be missing up to a month. Brett Hextall was also scratched but should be on the ice within the next week.
The Phantoms are now 4-2-1 on the year and continue their season on Saturday against the Hartford Wolf Pack (4-2-1) at the PPL Center in Allentown.
The Reading Royals skated to a 3 to 1 victory over the Wheeling Nailers on Thursday night. Forwards Olivier Labelle, Adam Hughesman and David Marshall all tallied goals with six different Royals registering an assist on the score sheet. Royals goalie Connor Knapp stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced, losing his shutout with just under two minutes to go in the game
The Royals are now 3-2-0 and continue their season Saturday in a revenge game for the Wheeling Nailers, this time on the Nailers home ice.
Ryan Gilbert is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @RiskyBryzness