Sunday Storylines 2/26

Sunday, February 26, 2017
Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Confident Phantoms aim to end franchise's playoff drought

ALLENTOWN - The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (34-17-3) have crept up to within eight points of first place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (38-15-3) with two games in hand on the Penguins and seven head-to-head meetings left - continuing March 8th at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

While they've tightened the gap in the Atlantic, third and fourth place are now closing in as well. In fact, the Phantoms are no longer in 2nd place in the division.

Providence, with the pair of regulation wins over Bridgeport and a shutout of Springfield Sunday, moved up to 2nd place in the division - four points behind first place Penguins and two points ahead of third place Lehigh Valley while also having played two more games than the Phantoms.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers went on a seven-game win streak before a pair of one-goal losses to the Providence Bruins over the weekend. Despite a win Sunday against Hershey, the Sound Tigers are fighting for their playoff lives currently in the 4th and final playoff spot in the division - three points ahead of Hershey with two games in hand on the Bears.

The Philadelphia Flyers have seen their top minor league affiliate miss the postseason seven consecutive seasons and while qualifying for the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs is anything but a guarantee in an Atlantic Division that currently boasts the five best teams in the Eastern Conference, this year's Phantoms team has not only the confidence but the will and determination to make the 2016-17 campaign one to remember for hockey fans in the Lehigh Valley.

PHOTO: Nina Weiss Photography Phantoms vs. Penguins 2-25-17

Rivals met at the PPL Center Saturday night. All photos in this post courtesy Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Game 54 - W-B/Scranton at Lehigh Valley 2/25/17

Editor's Note: Going to try something new to add yet another element to our Lehigh Valley Phantoms game night coverage. The plan is to feature more of our awesome photographers' work associated with game night photos taken at the games.

Make sure you're following Highland Park Hockey's Nina Weiss (@trancemoment) for all the best in-game action photos when the Phantoms play - both at home and on the road!

After the jump, some photos from Sunday's 7-4 win over the Utica Comets at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

If you missed it, here's a recap of Saturday's game.

For the entire month of February, 50% of my donations will be donated to the Building Hope For Kids ProjectYou can help by making a donation today via GoFundMe or PayPal!

Pre-Playoff Hockey Between Phantoms/Penguins

Saturday, February 25, 2017
Barry Goers put one past Alex Lyon with 15 seconds left in overtime tonight in Allentown. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms come up short in overtime against Penguins

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

ALLENTOWN - If you didn't know it was a late February evening, you might have thought tonight's Lehigh Valley Phantoms versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins game was being played in late April/early May. Several players and head coach Scott Gordon mentioned afterwards that tonight's game had a playoff-like feel to it.

Expect much of the same down the stretch, as the Phantoms will play the Penguins seven times in their final 22 games after tonight's 4-3 overtime loss.

Lehigh Valley held a 2-1 lead late in the second period on goals from Greg Carey and Danick Martel, but a late 2nd period goal and an early third period goal by the Penguins had the Phantoms in a 3-2 hole in the final 17:56 of regulation until Corban Knight's power play tally with 7:57 left to play forced overtime.

The Phantoms had their chances in the three-on-three extra session, with their best chance coming with 2:20 left in overtime as T.J. Brennan took a pass in the slot and bearing down on Penguins' goaltender Tristan Jarry fired one of of Jarry's right post.

In the final seconds of overtime, it was the Penguins pulling off a game-winning goal as Barry Goers tallied his first of the season with 15 seconds left before a shootout to give the Penguins a 4-3 win over the Phantoms.

After the jump, a full recap of the action complete with post-game reaction from head coach Scott Gordon and video interviews with Greg Carey and Corban Knight.

Hershey to Host Lehigh Valley in 2018 AHL Outdoor Classic

Photo from the Hershey Bears official website.
Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

While the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins partake in tonight's Stadium Series outdoor game in the NHL, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms won't have to wait long to participate in an outdoor game at the AHL level.

The Hershey Bears announced just before puck drop in their Saturday night game against Toronto that the Bears will be hosting the Phantoms in the AHL's Outdoor Classic at HersheyPark Stadium on January 20, 2018 - five years to the date the Bears hosted the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the 2013 AHL Outdoor Classic  in front of 17,311 fans back on January 20, 2013.

The Phantoms organization are no strangers to outdoor games themselves, having hosted the Bears at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on January 6, 2012 in front of an AHL record 45,653 fans.

Per the Phantoms' official press release, Phantoms season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase tickets with a pre-sale date to be announced. Information on a public on-sale for ticket purchases for the 2018 Outdoor Classic will be announced at a later date.

There have been no shortage of extra AHL events for the Phantoms, who hosted the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic at the PPL Center last month.

Here's a look at the history of the AHL Outdoor games.

Game 54 Preview: W-B/Scranton at Lehigh Valley

Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms/Penguins renew rivalry during Flyers/Pens Stadium Series game tonight

Editor's Note - I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, live from the PPL Center in downtown Allentown, Pa.!
  • The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. ET, but make sure you're following along on Twitter -> @TonyAndrock and Facebook (like the Facebook page!) for all the latest updates and information.
ALLENTOWN - The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (34-17-2) rekindle their rivalry with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tonight at the PPL Center, just 11 days after Sam Morin was suspended two games for a cross-checking incident that leaves Penguins' forward Garrett Wilson out of the lineup for a few weeks.

These two teams will become very familiar with one another the rest of the way, as the Penguins and Phantoms meet eight times, including tonight's game, in the final 49 days of the 2016-17 regular season.

After the jump, a full preview of everything you need to know in advance of tonight's game.

For the entire month of February, 50% of my donations will be donated to the Building Hope For Kids Project. You can help by making a donation today via GoFundMe or PayPal!