Saturday's Morning Skate 12/20

Saturday, December 20, 2014
The Phantoms' recent wins this week have them tightening the East Division standings.
Not only were all five teams in the East Division in action on Friday night, but the entire Eastern Conference was active last night. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms did well for themselves, defeating rival Hershey in regulation & being the only team in the division to earn any points in the standings.

Last night I took in the Phantoms/Bears game from PPL Center. Tonight, it's a 90-mile trek up to the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena for another East Division battle as the Binghamton Senators host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Stay tuned here for full coverage of tonight's game with live in-game updates on Twitter -> @H_P_Hockey (left hand side of this website).

BREAKING: The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled defensemen Taylor Chorney and Derrick Pouliot from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL). Subsequently, the AHL Penguins signed defenseman Paul Cianfrini to a professional tryout contract from their ECHL affiliate in Wheeling. Also, goaltender Eric Hartzell was re-assigned to Wheeling.

East Division Standings (through 12/19's games)

1. WBS Penguins (16-10-1-2) - 35 points
2. Hershey (14-11-2-1) - 31 points
3. Lehigh Valley (13-10-3-1) - 30 points
4. Binghamton (12-12-2-1) - 27 points
5. Norfolk (11-17-0-0) - 22 points

Phantoms - 2, Hershey - 0

The Phantoms home success continued Friday night at the PPL Center, due in large part to the performance from rookie goaltender Anthony Stolarz. He stopped all 32 shots he faced - including 16 in the first period - to keep the Phantoms afloat until they found their stride in the second half of the game.

Jason Akeson scored on a shorthanded breakaway set up by Brett Hextall in the second period and tallied an empty net goal with 0.6 seconds left for his 4th and 5th goals on the season. Bears goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped 16 of 17 shots in the loss.

The Phantoms finish up their weekend in Connecticut tonight with a 5 p.m. face-off against the Hartford Wolfpack. The Bears return home to host Springfield.

Albany - 4, Penguins - 2

In Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins penalties proved costly as the Devils went an impressive 3-for-4 with the man advantage to take two points from the East Division's top team.

Reid Boucher, Mike Sislo and Brandon Burlon all tallied power play goals in the win for Albany, while former WBS forward Paul Thompson recorded an empty net goal in the waning moments. Scott Clemmensen stopped 19 of 21 to pick up his third win of the season.

Matt Murray (5-5-2) allowed three goals on 26 shots for the Penguins, while Conor Sheary and Derrick Pouliot tallied goals in the loss. The Penguins look to rebound with a win in Binghamton against the BSens tonight, while Albany heads to Syracuse to take on the Crunch at the OnCenter.

Springfield - 6, Binghamton - 5

A goal-filled game in Binghamton last night saw the BSens take a 4-1 lead and bounce Falcons starter Anton Forseberg, only to have the Falcons return the favor and score five of the next six goals and win the game in regulation.

There were only three penalties taken in the entire game, but both teams capitalized on their power plays (2 for BSens, 1 for Falcons). Surprisingly, there were 11 different goal scorers in the game and only three skaters - Binghamton's Chris Wideman (0G-2A) and Cole Schneider (0G-2A) and Springfield's Kerby Rychel (1G-1A) - recorded more than one point.

The Falcons head to Hershey for a Saturday night showdown with the Bears, while the BSens look to rebound with another home game - this time against the Penguins.

Bridgeport - 5, Norfolk - 2

In Norfolk, the Admirals took a 2-1 lead into the 2nd period on power play tallies from Louis Leblanc and Antoine Laganiere but Bridgeport poured on four unanswered goals in the final two periods to pull away with a 5-2 win.

Colin McDonald (2G-1A) had a game-high three points for the Sound Tigers, while Harry Zolnierczyk and Cory Conacher tallied a goal and an assist each. David Leggio picked up his fourth win of the season, stopping 16 of 18 shots. The two teams rematch again tonight at The Scope Arena.

Other Eastern Conference Scores

Syracuse - 2, Hartford - 0
Manchester - 4, Worcester - 2
Providence - 3, Portland - 2 (OT)
St. John's - 4, Hamilton - 2

Saturday's Eastern Conference Schedule

Lehigh Valley @ Hartford, 5:00 p.m ET
Springfield @ Hershey, 7:00 p.m. ET
Providence @ Manchester, 7:00 p.m. ET
Worcester @ Portland, 7:00 p.m. ET
Albany @ Syracuse, 7:00 p.m. ET
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton @ Binghamton, 7:05 p.m. ET
Bridgeport @ Norfolk, 7:15 p.m. ET


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