Phantoms Hit The Road For Three-Game Weekend

Thursday, November 19, 2015
One final center ice stretch at the end of practice Thursday.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms held one last practice before boarding the bus and hitting the road for Providence in advance of their three-game road weekend road trip.

While they Phantoms have lost three players - defenseman Shayne Gostisbhere and forward Taylor Leier to Philadelphia and goaltender Jason LaBarbera to injury - they'll see some familiar faces back in the lineup.

Head coach Scott Gordon confirmed after Thursday's practice that forwards Colin McDonald and Aaron Palushaj will make the trip to the northeast this weekend and will be back in the lineup Friday in Providence. Gordon also said that goaltender Jason LaBarbera will be out this weekend and Martin Ouellette will join Anthony Stolarz as the two goaltenders this weekend.

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For McDonald, the team captain gets back into the lineup after missing the last 14 games with a lower body injury he suffered on opening night. To say he's looking forward to getting back in the lineup is an understatement. He practiced today on the team's third line with Tyrell Goulbourne and Kevin Sundher.

McDonald on returning to the lineup:
Obviously I'm excited. In one sense, it was a good time to get hurt because it's not late in the year and not trying to make a playoff push. But at the same time for me personally for it to happen at the time it did - new organization, new teammates, new system, new coaches - I'm still trying to get into the swing of things. Not that I'm a month behind everyone else, but I haven't played much hockey this year. That said I'm really looking forward to it. I'm not even worried about Saturday or Sunday yet, just worried about Friday and see how Friday goes. At this point I feel great in practice but as you know games are a totally different situation - get that battle level up and that physicality that I need to bring. We'll see how Friday goes but definitely looking forward to it.
Palushaj re-enters the Phantoms lineup on the top line with Danick Martel and Tim Brent after an upper body injury he suffered in Syracuse two weeks ago caused him to miss the team's last four games.

Palushaj on getting back into the lineup:
Yeah I'm excited. The injury feels really good and I'm back to feeling good and excited to go on the trip with the guys. It's one game at a time we have to take care of business on Friday from the opening draw and just play a full 60 minutes and worry about the rest of the weekend after.
Anthony Stolarz was back from his one-game call up to Philadelphia, and although he was backing up Steve Mason it's still a bid of confidence for Stolarz, who without LaBarbera will be relied upon heavily this weekend.

Stolarz on being called up:
It's nice to get up there and be around those guys and that kind of environment. For me I've been called up a couple times now still havent played but every time I get called up I just want to get back up there so much faster because it's such a higher level of play. Just be able to test yourself against that and see how you compare would be ideal for me to just hop in that one game and see how I do.
Stolarz on being the go-to-guy in net this weekend:
I'm just going to want to go out and do the same thing I've been doing the past few games. I think my level of play has been great and as a team we know that these are two teams that - Providence is right behind us and Hartford is right ahead of us. These are big points and we don't want to leave anything on the table, so we're going to do everything we can to go in there and try to take all three games.


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