Phantoms Head Into All-Star Break With Win Over St. John's

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Per Lehigh Valley Phantoms head coach Terry Murray, forward Ryan White will be recalled by the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms enter the AHL's All-Star break on a positive note after a 4-3 win over the St. John's IceCaps tonight.

Andrew Gordon scored his third goal in three games against his former team, Kevin Goumas tallied his second goal in as many nights and Martin Ouellette stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced in the win for the Phantoms.

The big news coming out of tonight's game came after the final horn sounded. In his post-game press conference, head coach Terry Murray clarified - when asked about the possibility that Jay Rosehill would be a replacent - that forward Ryan White will be recalled by the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Phantoms are now off until Thursday night when they host the Albany Devils. With the win, they keep pace in the East Division with the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins - who both won in overtime tonight. It's six points behind Hershey for first place and five points behind the Penguins (with three games in hand).

There's a meeting with the Pens coming next weekend after the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic this weekend in Utica, New York. After traveling to Syracuse for Friday night's game and Allentown tonight, I'm also very fortunate I'll finish the four-day road trip with two nights at one of the league's premier events.  Be sure to follow along on Twitter -> @H_P_Hockey for both nights of the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic starting Sunday night with the Skills Competition.

Full recap and the latest Lehigh Valley Phantoms roster news/notes after the jump.

Saturday's Morning Skate 1/24

Petr Straka (#24) has tallied goals in back-to-back games this week for Lehigh Valley.
It was another busy Friday night in the American Hockey League (AHL) as teams battle for playoff position heading into this weekend's All-Star break. I'm more than looking forward the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic in Utica, NY - my first as a credentialed working media member - but teams and players alike must not overlook Saturday's final game before the break.

Last night, I was at the War Memorial in Syracuse, New York as the Crunch hosted the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Phantoms' 4-2 loss to the Crunch, combined with a win by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, puts Lehigh Valley five points behind the second place Penguins in the East Division standings.

Tonight, I'm back in Allentown at the beautiful PPL Center as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms host St. John's IceCaps at 7:05 ET in what is the final game before the break for both teams. I'll have full coverage complete with live in-game updates on Twitter (@TonyAndrock_TCG) and a post-game recap shortly following the conclusion of the game.

East Division Standings (through 1/23's games)

1.  Hershey Bears: 40GP, 22-13-4-1, 49 points
2.  Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 43GP, 22-17-1-3, 48 points
3.  Lehigh Valley: 40GP, 19-16-4-1, 43 points
4.  Binghamton: 40GP, 17-19-3-1, 38 points
5.  Norfolk: 42GP, 16-22-2-2, 36 points

Phantoms Come Up Short In Syracuse

Friday, January 23, 2015
Vladislav Namestnikov and the Syracuse Crunch hang on for a 4-2 win over Lehigh Valley tonight.
While some untimely penalties prevented the Lehigh Valley Phantoms from staging a comeback against the Syracuse Crunch tonight, there were a lot of positives to take away from tonight's 4-2 loss to the Crunch.

The Phantoms penalty kill was a perfect 8-for-8 tonight, including 4-for-4 in the second period with a stretch of 5-on-3 lasting 42 seconds midway through the hockey game.

Another positive was the play of the bottom-six forwards, particularly the 4th line of Petr Straka, Kevin Goumas and Brandon Alderson. The trio was responsible for both Phantoms' goals tonight and played a quick, steady game.

For the Crunch, Yanni Gourde tallied a pair of goals and if not for a heavy slash in the final seconds of regulation would have netted an empty net goal to complete the hat trick. Not tonight. Rookies Cody Kunyk and Henri Ikonen also tallied goals for the Crunch in the win.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced in the win for the Crunch. Anthony Stolarz stopped 30 of 34 in the loss for the Phantoms.The Phantoms return home tomorrow night and host St. John's in their final game before the AHL's All-Star break.

Thompson's Confidence Revived In Albany

Thursday, January 22, 2015
Paul Thompson has a career-high 21 goals this season just 39 games into the 2014-15 season.
What a difference a year makes, especially in the case of former Penguins forward Paul Thompson.

If you recall last season, Thompson got off to a slow start with the AHL Penguins - needing 17 games to score his first goal of the season after tallying 20 goals in 58 regular season games in 2012-13.

"Last year didn't go as I expected," Thompson told me when I caught up with him last Friday. "I felt good coming in and just never really got it going."

Report: Jeff Zatkoff Likely To Miss 2015 AHL All-Star Classic

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
It looks like Jeff Zatkoff will remain out the rest of this weekend with an undisclosed injury and will miss the 2014-15 AHL All-Star Classic Jan. 25-26th.
While the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins snapped a season-high six-game losing skid with a 5-1 win over St. John's tonight, it wasn't all good news in the post-game press conference with head coach John Hynes.

Penguins beat writer Tom Venesky of the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre reported that Hynes said "Zatkoff is out until after the break", a likely indication he won't be playing in the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic in Utica, NY on Sunday and Monday nights. Hynes also added that Zatkoff is not expected to miss extended time with his undisclosed injury apparently suffered in Tuesday's practice, per Venesky.

Replacement options in net and a former Penguin I recently caught up with added as an AHL All-Star after the jump.