Phantoms sink B’s in OT, advance to second round

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Lehigh Valley advanced to the Atlantic Division Finals with a 4-3 overtime win over Providence at PPL Center on Saturday night.

Maxim Lamarche scored 18:36 into OT to thwart a furious Providence comeback attempt and send the Phantoms on to face Charlotte in the next round. It is the franchise’s first series win since 2008, when it was based in Philadelphia.

Lamarche picked up a bouncing puck at center ice, skated in down the left side and spun a shot from the corner just above the goal line that snuck past Zane McIntyre for the winner.

Lehigh Valley raced out to a 3-0 lead and seemed to be on its way to an easy clinching victory, but Providence dominated the rest of the way, outshooting the Phantoms 46-14 over the final three periods of the game.

The Bruins gradually chipped away at the deficit, finally getting on the board with 2:26 to go in the second period on a goal from Tommy Cross.

Anton Blidh then cut the Phantoms’ lead to 3-2 at the 12:00 mark of the third, and Austin Czarnik tied it with 5:01 left in regulation to force overtime for the first time in the series.

Lehigh Valley’s three-goal first period started with T.J. Brennan and Chris Conner scoring 37 seconds apart to give the Phantoms a 2-0 lead, followed by Conner’s second goal of the night on a breakaway at 16:26.

Alex Lyon (2-1) made 49 saves in the win, including 14 in the OT period.

McIntyre (0-2) stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced after coming on in relief of Jordan Binnington (11 saves) at the start of the second period.

With the win, the Phantoms improved to 19-1-1-1 in their last 22 home games.

Atlantic Division Semifinals – Series “A” (best-of-5)
A1-Lehigh Valley Phantoms vs. A4-Providence Bruins
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Lehigh Valley 3, PROVIDENCE 2 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – PROVIDENCE 5, Lehigh Valley 3 | Recap
Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 27 – LEHIGH VALLEY 4, Providence 1 | Recap
Game 4 – Sat., Apr. 28 – LEHIGH VALLEY 4, Providence 3 (OT)