Saturday's Morning Skate 12/12

Saturday, December 12, 2015
Sam Morin and Anthony Stolarz look on in the defensive zone in a recent game against Utica.
As the holidays approach, the American Hockey League will take a three-day hiatus from December 23rd through the 25th - giving the players a few days off. In the meantime, teams are grinding for points heading into the 2016 calendar year.

The Atlantic Division standings are tightening up. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins remain ahead of the pack, but five of the seven teams chasing them are within four points of each other. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have climbed out of the bottom of the division with an 8-5-1 record in their last 14 games. The Providence Bruins have won five straight games to go from last in the division to just two points out of the final playoff spot.

Atlantic Division Standings (through 12/4's games)

1. W-B/Scranton: 23 games played, 18-5-0-0 = 36 points (.783 PCT)
2. Bridgeport: 26 games played, 16-9-1-0 = 33 points (.635 PCT)
3. Hershey: 24 games played, 12-6-1-5 = 30 points (.625 PCT)
4. Lehigh Valley: 26 games played, 12-13-1-0 = 25 points (.481 PCT)
5. Springfield: 24 games played, 11-12-1-0 = 23 points (.479 PCT)
6. Providence: 24 games played, 9-10-4-1 = 23 points (.479 PCT)
7. Portland: 22 games played, 10-11-1-0 = 21 points (.477 PCT)
8. Hartford: 25 games played, 10-13-2-0 = 22 points (.440 PCT)

Would you like to see my coverage of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms while they're on the road continue? Please lend a helping hand to keep me providing live coverage of the team while they're on the road this season by making a generous donation to my GoFundMe page.

Around The Atlantic

W-B/Scranton 4 - at Lehigh Valley - 0 

More times than not in a 4-0 game, the team with four goals played a much better overall game than the team who was shutout. You can argue that wasn't the case Friday night as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms drew seven power plays, hit five posts and missed a few empty net chances that could have changed the complexion of the game.

The Phantoms simply didn't finish their chances.

The Penguins, meanwhile, went two-for-five with the man advantage and their opening goal of the contest was scored two seconds after a Phantoms' penalty had expired. Dominik Simon and Scott Wilson tallied two goals each for the Pens in the win. Matt Murray stopped all 23 shots he faced to pick up his fourth shutout of the season and that was that.

The Penguins return home to host the Albany Devils Saturday, while the Phantoms remain home to host Springfield.

Bridgeport - 3 at Portland - 1

In southern Maine, the Portland Pirates took a 1-0 lead into the third period courtesy Rocco Grimaldi's 4th goal of the season, but the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers rallied for three goals in the third for a 3-1 come-from-behind win.

Taylor Beck tallied back-to-back goals to give Bridgeport the lead and Justin Vaive added the insurance marker with 1:53 left to play to preserve the comeback. Christopher Gibson stopped all but one of the 28 shots he faced for the win.

The Sound Tigers head to Hartford, while Portland stays in Maine and hosts the Providence Bruins Saturday night.

Binghamton - 3 at Springfield - 4 

In a back-and-forth game at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass. the home team prevailed with a 4-3 victory thanks to third period goals from Lucas Lessio and the recently re-assigned Dustin Jeffrey.

Nicklas Treutle picked up his fifth win of the season with 29 saves on 32 shots and got some offense from his teammates in front of him - Michael Bunting, Matthias Plachta, Lessio and Jeffrey each tallied a goal, while Greg Carey added two assists.

Binghamton heads to Hershey for a Saturday night match up with the Bears, while Springfield hits the road for Allentown to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Hartford - 1 at Providence - 3

In Rhode Island, the Providence Bruins extended their win streak to five games behind another strong performance in net from Malcolm Subban (34 saves - 35 shots).

Hartford's Ryan Graves tied the game at 1-1 off a feed from Jayson Megna late in the first, but goals in the second period by Colby Cave and a power play tally in the third by Alexander Khokhlachev sealed the deal for the PBruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center Friday night.

The Wolf Pack head home to host Bridgeport, while the PBruins head up to Portland for a Saturday night against the Pirates.

Friday's Eastern Conference Scores

Rochester - 3 at St. John's - 1
Syracuse - 1 at Albany - 3
Toronto - 2 at Utica - 0

Saturday's Eastern Conference Schedule

Rochester at St. John's, 6:00 p.m. ET
Bridgeport at Hartford, 7:00 p.m. ET
Binghamton at Hershey, 7:00 p.m. ET
Providence at Portland, 7:00 p.m. ET
Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00 p.m. ET
Springfield at Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m. ET
Albany at W-B/Scranton, 7:05 p.m. ET


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