GAME PREVIEW: Phantoms Host Crunch at 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Darroll Powe (left) and Austin Fyten (right) are the latest additions to the Phantoms' injured list.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (29-27-6-1) enter the final four weeks of the regular season 10 points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and while they have three games in hand on current 8th place Springfield, 9th place Worcester is only one point behind Springfield with the same number of games played (63) as the Phantoms.

They have their work cut out for them with three games this week against three of the top four teams in the conference to close out the month of March, starting tonight at home against the Syracuse Crunch.

Up Next:

Wednesday (3/25) vs. Syracuse at 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday (3/28) vs. W-B/Scranton at 7:05 p.m. ET
Sunday (3/29) vs. Manchester at 3:05 p.m. ET

Follow all of tonight's action between the Phantoms and Crunch with live in-game updates on Twitter -> @TonyAndrock_TCG and stay tuned here online after the game for a full recap complete with post-game player reaction from the locker room.

After the jump, a preview of both teams and the latest Lehigh Valley Phantoms roster news/notes. 

By The Numbers

Lehigh Valley Phantoms (LV)

29-27-6-1, 65 points - Third East Division
12th in the Eastern Conference
Last Ten Games: 5-5-0-0
Power play: 18th - 16.2%
Penalty kill: 18th - 82.7%

Syracuse Crunch (SYR)

38-18-8-0, 84 points - First Northeast Division
3rd in the Eastern Conference
Last Ten Games: 6-4-0-0
Power play: 23rd - 14.3%
Penalty kill: 24th - 81.1%

Active Leading Scorers

LV: Brandon Manning (11 goals, 32 assists), Jason Akeson (20 goals, 22 assists) and Andrew Gordon (17 goals, 22 assists)

SYR: Jonathan Marchessault (19 goals, 34 assists), Yanni Gourde (26 goals, 24 assists) and Tanner Richard (12 goals, 25 assists)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

LV: Rob Zepp (17-13-4, 2.67 GAA, .915 SV%, 0 SO)
SYR: Kristers Gudlevskis (22-11-2, 2.73 GAA, .902 SV%, 2 SO)

ROSTER NOTES - Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Rob Zepp got the start in net on Friday and Sunday last weekend while Anthony Stolarz got the start on Saturday night. Heading down the stretch, expect Zepp to pull the majority of the starts while the Phantoms are still mathematically alive in the playoff race and Stolarz to take more starts in net if/when Lehigh Valley is eliminated from post-season contention.

The Phantoms added a new defenseman to the roster today in 2010-6th round pick Nick Luukko, who recently finished a four-year career with the University of Vermont in the Hockey East conference. Luukko is the son of former Flyers president Peter Luukko and was signed to an amateur tryout contract (ATO) by Lehigh Valley for the remainder of the 2014-15 season.

That makes it two players from the college ranks that have joined the Phantoms, as former Cornell University forward Cole Bardreau signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers and made his pro debut in the AHL last weekend - scoring his first pro goal in his first game Friday night in Hartford. Here's a story I wrote on Bardreau after catching up with him Friday night in Hartford after his pro debut. He seems like a good kid, read that feature here

Blair Jones returned to the Phantoms' lineup on Friday, too, after a 10-week absence with a lower body injury which required surgery to repair in mid-January. Check back later this week for my latest Phantoms story at The Home News for Jones' story about the longest time he's missed due to injury in his 9-year pro hockey career.

Defenseman Steven Delisle (upper body) and forward Austin Fyten (lower body) have both been battling nagging injuries as of late and both were added to the injured list for last Sunday's game against W-B/Scranton after both played on Friday and Saturday.

Darroll Powe (upper body) left Sunday's game and did not return, which forced the Phantoms to finish the game with 11 forwards. Powe didn't participate in practice this week and is out of the lineup tonight.

Lines (from Sunday 3/22's game vs. W-B/Scranton)

Scratches: Steven Delisle (upper body), Austin Fyten (lower body) and Shayne Gostisbehere (ACL injury) and Blair Jones (suspended)

Add to the roster: D Nick Luukko and D Matt Konan


Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Jason Akeson
Zack Stortini - Darroll Powe* - Andrew Gordon
Petr Straka - Cole Bardreau - Brett Hextall
Jay Rosehill - Kevin Goumas - Derek Mathers

Brandon Manning - Mark Alt
Adam Comrie - Robert Hagg
Oliver Lauridsen - Jesper Pettersson

Rob Zepp - Anthony Stolarz

* = left game with injury, didn't return


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