Saturday's Morning Skate 1/16

Saturday, January 16, 2016
Phantoms/Bears rivalry continues to provide some entertaining hockey. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
The Atlantic Division is full of teams running either red-hot or ice cold in the middle of January.

After a slight hiccup amidst coaching changes and without their top two goaltenders, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have returned to their normal dominant selves - winning seven straight games heading into this weekend. Second place Portland has won three straight and eight of their last 10, while Providence has moved their way from last to fourth place winning five straight after a slow start to the season had them in the basement of the division.

Despite playing well, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms find themselves in the midst of a four-game losing streak which has seen them fall to seventh in the division. After a hot start to the season, Bridgeport has more than cooled off and is also on a four-game losing streak. One of the Phantoms and Sound Tigers will have to get in the win column shortly as the two teams face off against each other on Sunday.

I'm continuing my live coverage of the Phantoms this weekend as tonight they host the Hartford Wolf Pack at 7:05 p.m. ET. You can follow along with the latest in-game updates on Twitter by following me -> @TonyAndrock. I'll also be bringing exclusive live coverage Sunday when the Phantoms travel to Bridgeport, so be sure to tune in for that as you won't be able to get coverage any place else!

Atlantic Division Standings (through 1/15's games)

1. W-B/Scranton: 37 games played, 28-8-0-1 = 57 points (.770 PCT)
2. Portland: 35 games played, 21-13-1-0 = 43 points (.614 PCT)
3. Hershey: 39 games played, 20-13-1-5 = 46 points (.590 PCT)
4. Providence: 38 games played, 17-15-5-1 = 40 points (.526 PCT)
5. Bridgeport: 39 games played, 19-17-2-1 = 41 points (.526 PCT)
6. Hartford: 38 games played, 17-19-2-0 = 36 points (.474 PCT)
7. Lehigh Valley: 40 games played, 17-20-2-1 = 37 points (.463 PCT)
8. Springfield: 37 games played, 14-20-1-2 = 31 points (.419 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

Hershey - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 3

Despite another strong effort, which included a 27-1 shots advantage in the third period, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms dropped their fourth straight game in a 4-3 loss to Hershey Friday night in front of another sellout crowd of 8,793 at the PPL Center. Three of the Phantoms' losses during this current four-game skid have been by one-goal deficits.

The Phantoms rebounded from a 2-0 deficit in the 2nd period with back-to-back goals 52 seconds apart to even things up before Hershey re-took the lead and added to it on their first shot of the third period - a shot that came 14:23 into the final frame after being out-worked, out-hustled and out-played by the Phantoms.

Hershey returns home to host Springfield on Saturday, while the Phantoms remain home and play host to the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Bridgeport - 1 at Portland - 5

The Pirates won their third straight game with a total team effort Friday night against Bridgeport, as five different players tallied goals for Portland in a hotly contested affair which saw a total of 91 penalty minutes dished out.

Carter Verhaeghe tallied his first career AHL goal for Bridgeport to tie things up at 1-1 in the 2nd period, but that's as close as the Sound Tigers would get. Christopher Gibson surrendered five goals on 27 shots in the loss, which was Bridgeport's 4th straight defeat.

The two teams rematch in Portland again Saturday

Hartford - 1 at Springfield - 0

Marek Hrivik's 1st period goal proved to be the difference in a goaltender's duel between Hartford and Springfield Friday night at the MassMutual Center. It was Hartford's third straight win, lifting them out of last place in the Atlantic Division.

Magnus Hellberg recorded a 32-save shutout, while Niklas Treutle picked up the loss despite a strong 27-save effort.

Hartford continues on the road with a trip to Lehigh Valley Saturday while Springfield heads to Hershey.

Other Eastern Conference Scores

Utica - 3 at Syracuse - 1
Albany - 2 at Providence - 5
Binghamton - 4 at Rochester - 0

Saturday's Eastern Conference Schedule

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


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