CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Radel Fazleev scored his first goal of the season as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms looked to play the role of comeback kids again but this time they were unable to turn the trick against the Charlotte Checkers who hung on for a 5-2 verdict on Wednesday night in North Carolina. The Atlantic Division foes split their hard-fought two-game series with the Phantoms having taken the opener on Tuesday 6-3.
As expected in the highly anticipated matchup of the two most prolific offenses in the conference, the series was not lacking in lamplighters as both squads amassed their share of impressive tallies.
Charlotte built a 4-0 advantage by the latter moments off the second period when the urgency-driven Phantoms roared back into the game and almost mounted a stunning late rally. Matt Read (4th) scored late in the second period on the rebound of a power-play drive from the left wing by Oskar Lindblom to get the Phantoms on the board and build momentum that would carry over into the third. Fazleev's goal 2:36 into the final frame on a nifty assist by Mark Friedman following a steal by Mark Read cut the deficit down to two and from there it would be one close call after another as goaltender Jeremy Smith and the Checkers hung on.
The Phantoms move to 16-9-3 with the decision and stand at 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. The Charlotte Checkers briefly fell behind Lehigh Valley in the tightly contested Atlantic Division race but then leapfrogged back ahead via the Wednesday night triumph improving to 16-9-1 in their successful revenge performance.
Lehigh Valley out shot the Checkers 38-27. The Phantoms finished 1-for-5 on the power play while the high-octane Charlotte Checkers were 2-for-5.
Lehigh Valley is back at PPL Center next Saturday, December 16 when it welcomes the red-hot Syracuse Crunch to downtown Allentown for the first and only time this season.
Game information courtesy of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.