ALLENTOWN, Pa. – It was the back half of a home-and-home set between two Atlantic Division foes as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Providence Bruins met up at PPL Center on Teddy Bear Toss Night. After Cooper Marody scored the goal that unleashed the plush parade, the Bruins bore down and sent the game into overtime. Noted sniper Vinni Lettieri ended the game in the extra session by scoring 52 seconds in to secure the win. Brandon Bussi secured the win with 34 saves, while Nolan Maier took the loss with 17 saves.
The Phantoms drove the play in this game, outshooting the Bruins in all three periods of play and eventually taking the lead with Marody’s second goal of the season. The goal sent the crowd of just over eight thousand into a teddy bear frenzy as Marody deflected a shot from Adam Ginning to find the back of the net. Ginning continues a strong recent stretch with three points in his last two games, while Marody has points in both of those games as well.
The Bruins battled back over the course of the last twenty minutes, striking back with Joey Abate’s second goal of the season to even the count at one to send the game to overtime. In the extra session, Lettieri scored his 11th goal of the season to send the Bruins home with the extra point. Lettieri’s brilliant season continues with his 25th point in as many games, as the productive forward has tallied at a point-per-game pace for most of his career with 205 points in 244 American Hockey League games. His goal spoils the party much like fruit cake at the family Christmas gathering in Lehigh Valley, where the Phantoms will have to settle for a point and a lot of plush toys thrown for a good cause.
The point does lift the Phantoms into fifth place courtesy of a tiebreaker as the Charlotte Checkers suffered a regulation loss out of town to the Rochester Americans in other AHL action on Saturday as the Phantoms roll their recent success into a four-game point streak. The Phantoms had to make do with their lineup after their National Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Flyers, recalled forward Kieffer Bellows on Saturday after a plethora of lineup changes forced their hand. The Phantoms get right back at it on Sunday when they visit the Hershey Bears for the first installment of a home-and-home series with their in-state rival, while the Bruins will pay a visit to Charlotte to see if the Checkers have been naughty or nice in a pair of games at Bojangles’ Coliseum.
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