ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Greg Carey (2 goals, assist) and Phil Varone (goal, 2 assists) paced an offensive outburst by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Friday evening as the Phantoms dropped the rival Hershey Bears 7-2 in front of 7,739 fans on Superhero Night inside PPL Center.
Carey (10th, 11th) became Lehigh Valley's second skater this season to reach the double-digit goal mark while Varone (7th) used a three-point effort to stretch his team-leading point total to 25 total points (7 goals, 18 assists). Varone is now in sole possession of fourth place among all AHL skaters in scoring.
With the win, the Phantoms improved to 13-7-0-2 overall this season as Lehigh Valley continues to pace all Eastern Conference clubs with 28 standings points. The Phantoms now have claimed three of their last four outings as the team improved to 6-3-0-1 when skating at PPL Center this year.
Nic Aube-Kubel (6th), Mark Alt (5th), Tyrell Goulbourne (3rd), and Corban Knight (3rd) also found the back of the net for the Phantoms on Friday in front of goaltender Alex Lyon who improved to 8-6-1 after turning aside 21 of Hershey's 23 total shots. Knight's goal was part of his second multi-point effort (goal, assist) of the season while Chris Conner also put forth a two-point game (2 assists) while leading Lehigh Valley with a plus-four rating.
All told, 12 different Phantoms recorded at least one point in Friday's triumph as the team matched its highest single-game goal total of the season.
With Friday's win, Lehigh Valley improved to 3-1 against the rival Bears this season as the Phantoms have claimed both showdowns in downtown Allentown by a 7-2 final score.
Garrett Mitchell (4th) and Liam O'Brien (4th) converted for visiting Hershey in front of goaltender Pheonix Copley who moved to 5-3-2 after a 34-save performance.
The Phantoms opened the scoring in the final minute of the first period when a right wing offering by Carey deflected off the leg of Hershey's Aaron Ness and then the skate of Bears' forward Chris Bourque before sliding across the goal line. Varone and James de Haas assisted on the even-strength strike netted 19:38 into the opening frame as Lehigh Valley improved to 7-1-0-1 when scoring first this season.
Hershey leveled the contest early in the second period when a wrister from the high slot off the stick of Tyler Lewington deflected off the body of Mitchell atop the Phantoms goal crease before settling in the back of the net. Lewington and Zach Sill grabbed assists on the five-on-five conversion netted 2:54 into the middle stanza.
The Phantoms bounced right back though and flexed their offensive muscles in establishing a three-goal edge thanks to a trio of goals scored just 2:13 apart midway through the middle stanza.
First, Goulbourne won a battle for a loose puck atop the Bears crease before sending home his third goal of the year. Knight collected the only assist on the even-strength tally scored 8:21 into the second period. Then, Lehigh Valley doubled its advantage just over a minute later when Varone brilliantly executed a breakaway opportunity in faking a forehand shot before slipping a perfect backhand past Copley in converting his seventh goal of the season. Oskar Lindblom and Mark Friedman assisted on the five-on-five marker tallied 9:59 into the middle frame.
The Phantoms capped their second period surge less than a minute later when Knight stepped off the bench before leaning into a snap shot that sizzled into the back of the Hershey goal for his third tally of the year. Conner and Carey assisted on the even-strength marker tallied 10:34 into the second period, which produced a 4-1 Lehigh Valley edge that would last into the second intermission.
The Phantoms swelled their lead to a 5-1 edge nearly seven minutes into the final period when Aube-Kubel landed his sixth goal of the year with a brilliant back hand at the side of the net. Danick Martel and Mike Vecchione assisted on the five-on-five marker scored 6:32 into the third period.
The Bears would make their final dent on the score sheet 10:44 into the period when O'Brien converted his fourth goal of the season only to see the Phantoms counter with goals from Alt and Carey in the game's final three minutes to seal the contest.
Lehigh Valley out shot Hershey 41-23 overall on Friday and limited the visiting Bears to just 11 total shots in the game's final 40 minutes. Neither power play converted despite a pair of man-advantage opportunities on each side as Lehigh Valley has now successfully thwarted each of the team's 13 straight man-down scenarios.
Information provided by Lehigh Valley Phantoms
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