NEWARK – Travis St. Denis scored twice as the Binghamton Devils fell to the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Monday night, 6-5.
Six total goals were scored in the first period and the Phantoms kicked it off just ten seconds into the game as Pascal Laberge sent a wrist shot by the leg pad of Gilles Senn for the 1-0 lead. The goal was Laberge’s third of the year, unassisted.
Connor Bunnaman made it a 2-0 lead for the Phantoms at 7:43 with his first of the season. Laberge set up Bunnaman and his shot beat Senn from the left side for the two-goal lead.
Lehigh Valley added to the lead as Cam York scored his first professional goal in the first period. Cal O’Reilly set up York at the top of the left circle and he sent a slap shot through traffic and into the net 11:58 into the game. O’Reilly and Chris Bigras were credited with the assists and the Phantoms took a 3-0 lead.
The Devils answered back as Graeme Clarke set up Travis St. Denis for his third goal of the year at 12:48 of the first. St. Denis split the defense and tipped on a Clarke pass with the second assist going to A.J. Greer and the Devils trailed 3-1.
Bigras got in on the scoring to give the Phantoms a 4-1 lead at 15:59 of the first period. The goal was Bigras’ second of the year from York and Chris Mueller.
Linus Sandin converted on the power play and the Phantoms took a 5-1 lead into the first intermission. O’Reilly went behind the net and set up Sandin at the bottom of the circles and he beat Senn for his third of the year. Assists were given to O’Reilly and York and the Devils trailed by four after one period. Mareks Mitens replaced Senn in net for the Devils to start the middle period.
Early in the second period, Ben Thomson took a pass from Clarke and beat goaltender Zane McIntyre to get the Devils within three goals. Thomson’s sixth of the year came just 1:56 into the second period with the assists going to Clarke and Nikita Okhotiuk and the Devils were down 5-2.
The Devils continued to claw at the lead with a power-play goal late in the second to get within two. From the bottom of the left circle, Fabian Zetterlund ripped a snap shot from a tough angle and found a hole over the right shoulder of McIntyre. The goal was his fifth of the season with helpers from Kevin Bahl and Nate Schnarr and the Phantoms led 5-3 after two periods.
St. Denis scored his second of the night and fourth of the year just 31 seconds into the third period to pull the Devils back within a goal. The puck trickled to the side of the net and St. Denis sent it off the side of McIntyre and in and the Devils trailed 5-4.
Reilly Walsh tied the game with a highlight-reel goal for his fourth of the year at the 6:49 mark of the final period. Walsh went through the neutral zone and put the puck through the skates of the defender and fired it between the legs of McIntyre to tie the game at five. Walsh’s game-tying tally was assisted by Zetterlund and Mason Jobst.
On the power play at the 10:45 mark, Sandin scored his second of the night and fourth of the year after a scramble in front of the net and the Phantoms took a 6-5 lead and that held up as the final score. Mitens stopped 22 of 23 in the loss while McIntyre denied 16 in the win.
The Devils return to the ice Wednesday, April 28 as they take on the Hershey Bears at 6 p.m. inside RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House.
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