|The countdown to AHL regular season hockey is heating up! Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey|
It's finally here. The American Hockey League released its regular season schedule for the 2016-17 season this afternoon.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms open the regular season at home against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday, October 15th at 7:05 p.m. ET in their third season in downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania.
To put it lightly, the Phantoms have a tough opening stretch to their schedule this fall. After opening the season with three straight games at home, 10 of their next 13 and 14 out of their next 20 games are on the road away from the friendly confines of the PPL Center.
The only silver lining to their schedule comes down the stretch. Seven of their final 11 games are at home and the four games away from PPL Center are all against their closest geographical rivals (W-B/Scranton twice, Hershey and Binghamton). If the Phantoms are within striking distance of a postseason berth in the final dozen games of the year, the light travel will certainly play to their advantage. But will it be another case of too little to late after a very challenging first third of the season?
This season, the roster looks as strong as it has since the team arrived to the Lehigh Valley. They'll be looking to end a seven year drought from the postseason when the season begins this fall, hoping to bring the first playoff hockey to the Lehigh Valley this spring.
A full breakdown of everything you could possibly want to know about the Phantoms' 2016-17 schedule after the jump.