Phantoms Tuning Up for Saturday's Season Opener

Thursday, October 8, 2015
Head coach Scott Gordon gives out instructions during Wednesday's practice at the PPL Center.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have a week of practice separating themselves from Saturday's regular season opener, and head coach Scott Gordon is using the extra reps in practice to fine tune his players' understanding of the systems he has in place for them.

After the jump, Gordon's take on a variety of topics including Andrew MacDonald, the roster heading into opening night and naming a captain before the season opener on Saturday night against the Syracuse Crunch.

Andrew MacDonald Looking To Rebuild Confidence

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Andrew MacDonald was on the ice at the PPL Center today in his first practice with the Phantoms.
The news of the day came with the arrival of defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who was waived by the Flyers on Monday and upon clearing waivers Tuesday afternoon made his first practice with the Phantoms at the PPL Center today. He was on the Phantoms' top pairing at practice today alongside Shayne Gostisbehere.

MacDonald's arrival to the Phantoms came as a bit of a surprise when it was revealed he was being placed on waivers Monday afternoon, but his addition to the AHL roster changes the dynamic of the defense. Here's what the top six looked like today:
Shayne Gostisbehere - Andrew MacDonald
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske - Robert Hagg
After the jump, I caught up with MacDonald on a varying degree of topics about his re-assignment. Read the transcribed interview.

Phantoms Prevail Over Penguins in Preseason Finale

Sunday, October 4, 2015
The Phantoms concluded the preseason with a win at home over their rival, the Penguins.
In a game that was nearly a mirror image of Wednesday's game between these two teams, it was the Lehigh Valley Phantoms jumping out to a 3-0 lead and holding off a late Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins attack to survive with a 4-3 victory.

Petr Straka, Tim Brent and Nick Cousins put the Phantoms ahead by three entering the third period, but the no-quit Penguins made a game of it in the final frame - tallying three straight goals in the first nine minutes to even the score before an opportunistic turnover gave Lehigh Valley the win.

A loose puck squirted out in front of the Penguins' net and Danick Martel was in the right place at the right time, beating Tristan Jarry to the spot with 4:23 to play to give the Phantoms one final lead they wouldn't relinquish.

That concludes the preseason schedule for the Phantoms, who will have a week of practice leading up to the 2015-16 regular season opener against the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday, October 10th at the PPL Center.

Phantoms 3rd Period Not Up To Par In Preseason Loss to Hartford

Saturday, October 3, 2015
Phantoms hosted their first preseason home game of the season tonight against Hartford.
A slow start to the third period plagued the Phantoms in their preseason home opener against the Hartford WolfPack tonight, as a goal 44 seconds into the final frame proved to be the game winner after the two teams played the first 40 minutes to a 1-1 tie.

While head coach Scott Gordon was pleased with how the players played under his new system tonight compared to Wednesday, he was unhappy with how the team got away from their game in the third.

Taylor Leier scored the lone Phantoms goal on a re-direct of a Shayne Gostisbehere shot on a power play, which at the time gave the Phantoms a 1-0 lead. Hartford responded late in the 2nd period with a power play goal of their own and added two more goals in the third in route to the 3-1 final score. WolfPack forward Marek Hrivik was involved in all three Hartford goals with a goal and two assists on the night.

Anthony Stolarz stopped 26 of the 29 shots that came his way and Gordon said post-game that Stolarz with the Phantoms' best player tonight. The Phantoms first year head coach also said that Jason LaBarbera will start in net for Lehigh Valley Sunday evening in the Phantoms' preseason finale at home against rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Phantoms Trim Training Camp Roster by Five

Friday, October 2, 2015
Defenseman Adam Comrie is among five players re-assigned from the Phantoms to Reading (ECHL).
The Reading Royals, ECHL affiliate of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, announced their training camp roster this afternoon and on it are five players the Royals mention were re-assigned from the AHL club.

Forwards Geoff Walker, Cam Reid and Robert Czarnik and defensemen Adam Comrie and Sam Windle have been released from the Phantoms AHL camp roster and will report to Reading for ECHL camp, which begins Saturday. Of those sent down, only Walker and Comrie are on AHL contracts.

Here's a look at the Phantoms camp roster, which now features 16 forwards, 10 defensemen and four goaltenders - though Jason LaBarbera is currently with the Philadelphia Flyers until Michal Neuvirth is 100%.
Goaltenders (4): Connor Knapp (#34), Jason LaBarbera (#30), Martin Ouellette (#33) and Anthony Stolarz (#35)
Defensemen (10): Mark Alt (#2), Samuel Morin (#3), Robert Hagg (#4), Davis Drewiske (#5), Nick Luukko (#6), Christian Marti* (#7), Jesper Pettersson (#8), Shayne Gostisbehere (#14), Maxim Lamarche (#20) and Logan Pyett (#39)
Forwards (16): Cole Bardreau (#9), Tyrell Goulbourne (#12), Michael Parks (#15), Aaron Palushaj (#16), Kevin Goumas (#17), Danick Martel (#18), Brandon Alderson (#19), Chris Conner (#22), Taylor Leier (#23), Petr Straka (#24), Nick Cousins (#25), Pavel Padakin (#27), Derek Mathers (#29), Tim Brent (#37), Jay Rosehill (#38) and Kevin Sundher (#43).
The Phantoms host two preseason games this weekend, taking on the Hartford WolfPack Saturday and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Sunday. Both games are 5:05 p.m. ET starts.