Photo: JustSports Photography
BINGHAMTON, NY – The Binghamton Devils were unable to hang on to a lead over the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday night in a 6-5 regulation loss in front of 3,714 fans at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.
Binghamton took the lead 4:46 into the game courtesy of Nathan Bastian’s fourth goal of the season. Players went to the front of the net and as the puck hopped up into the air, the rookie Bastian batted the puck by the left side of goaltender Alex Lyon for the early lead. Bastian’s goal was assisted by Viktor Loov and Bracken Kearns.
Less than three minutes later, the Devils took a two-goal lead over the Phantoms. Binghamton fired a shot on net that was denied by Lyon but Nick Lappin gathered the rebound and slid the puck by the right leg pad of a sprawling Lyon for the 2-0 advantage. The goal was Lappin’s team-leading sixth of the year at 7:12 of the first period with helpers from Kearns and Jacob MacDonald.
Lehigh Valley pulled back within a goal on a jam play in front of goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood’s crease. Cole Bardreau got the final touch of the puck for the Phantoms and scored his second goal of the year at 11:42 of the opening period. Assists on Bardreau’s goal were credited to Chris Conner and Phil Varone.
Late in the first period, Binghamton took back its two-goal lead off the stick of Blake Pietila. From inside the right wing circle, Pietila received a drop pass and snapped a shot over the shoulder of Lyon to put the Devils out front, 3-1. Pietila’s goal was his fourth of the season with assists from Josh Jacobs and Colton White. White’s assist was hist first point in the American Hockey League and the Devils led by two after one period and outshot the Phantoms, 9-6.
Lehigh Valley scored two quick goals in the second period to even the score. Conner scored his third goal of the year from TJ Brennan and Bardreau at 4:22 to pull the Phantoms back within one. The tying goal came off the stick of Danick Martel at the 6:44 mark of the middle period to tie the game. Martel’s goal was his 12th of the year with assists from Conner and Mike Vecchione to even the score at three goals apiece.
Jacob MacDonald continued his tear on the power play this season to put the Devils back out in front 12:37 into the second period. Lappin played the puck back to MacDonald who held and fired by the blocker pad of Lyon for his third of the year, all on the power play. Lappin and Joe Blandisi tallied the assists on the goal and Binghamton went into the third period with a 4-3 lead with shots even at 15.
To start the third period, Dustin Tokarski replaced Lyon between the pipes for the Phantoms. Following the goaltending change, Lehigh Valley exploded for three goals to take a 6-4 advantage. Conner fired in his fourth of the season and second of the night 2:15 into the third frame to even the score at four a piece. Just 3:11 later, TJ Brennan converted on the power play for Lehigh Valley to put the Phantoms in front for the first time of the game, 5-4. The goal was Brennan’s second of the season with helpers from Varone and Vecchione. Just over mid way through the final frame, Nicolas Aube-Kubel gathered a loose puck and beat Blackwood for a 6-4 lead.
The Devils pulled Blackwood late in regulation for the extra-attacker and scored to bring the deficit back to just one goal. Lappin batted the puck out of the air and over the shoulder of Tokarski for his second of the night and seventh of the year from Kearns and Blandisi and the Devils trailed 6-5 late with 2:10 to go. Binghamton was unable to tie the game late and the Phantoms escaped with a one-goal win.
Blackwood stopped 17 of 23 in the loss and Tokarski picked up the win with four of five saves in the third period. Lyon denied 11 of 15 before being replaced in the third.
The Binghamton Devils hit the road Wednesday to face the Belleville Senators before returnin home Friday and Saturday to host the Toronto Marlies at 7:05 p.m. FREE tickets to both games for all active-duty, reserved, veteran and retired service members! Call the Devils’ front office at 607-733-7367 for more information.
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