Saturday's Morning Skate 1/30

Saturday, January 30, 2016
Lehigh Valley is in the midst of a season-high four game winning streak. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
In the final day of games before the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic in Syracuse, New York, the Atlantic Division playoff race is heating up. Four teams, in fourth through seventh, are separated by just four points.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms sit just four points back of fourth place Providence with two more games played, and will have a third extra game played after tonight's game in Wilkes-Barre against the division leading Penguins. All the Phantoms can do is take care of their own schedule, and lately they have - winning their season-high fourth straight game last night at home against those same Penguins.

I'll be live from Wilkes-Barre tonight with all the latest between the Phantoms and Penguins (part 2) bringing more exclusive road coverage of Phantoms hockey. Be sure you are following me on Twitter (@TonyAndrock) as well as tuning in here online after the game for a full recap of the action complete with player reaction from the Phantoms locker room.

Also, as far as I know I will be the only Phantoms beat writer making the trip to Syracuse tomorrow for the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic so be sure to stick around to hear from Phantoms All-Stars Nick Cousins and Anthony Stolarz as they take part in the Skills Competition Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET and the All-Star Game round robin tournament Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

Atlantic Division Standings (through 1/29's games)

1. W-B/Scranton: 43 games played, 29-12-1-1 = 560 points (.698 PCT)
2. Portland: 42 games played, 26-15-1-0 = 53 points (.631 PCT)
3. Hershey: 45 games played, 23-13-3-6 = 55 points (.611 PCT)
4. Providence: 43 games played, 29-15-8-1 = 49 points (.557 PCT)
5. Bridgeport: 44 games played, 22-19-2-1 = 47 points (.534 PCT)
6. Hartford: 44 games played, 22-20-2-0 = 46 points (.523 PCT)
7. Lehigh Valley: 45 games played, 21-21-2-1 = 45 points (.500 PCT)
8. Springfield: 43 games played, 16-22-2-3 = 37 points (.430 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 - 3 at Lehigh Valley - 4 (OT)

Through 40 minutes of play, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms were out-worked and out-competed by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Luckily for the Phantoms, they were only down by a score of 2-0 entering the third period.

It was only then - with a little more than 14 minutes left in regulation - that the Phantoms got on their horse and worked their way back into the game. Three straight goals, by Davis Drewiske, Cole Bardreau and Chris Conner, actually gave the Phantoms a brief lead before the Penguins tied it at 3-3 and sent the game to overtime.

In overtime, the Penguins had a golden opportunity to win it as Conner broke his stick during 3-on-3 play and the Phantoms were hemmed in their own zone for over a minute in the extra session, but Bardreau broke up a passing play and skated all the way to the offensive zone before dropping a pass to Nick Cousins and burying the rebound out of mid air to complete the epic comeback.

The two teams complete the home and home series Saturday in Wilkes-Barre.

Springfield - 1 at Providence - 8

The Providence Bruins were just too much for Springfield Friday night in an 8-1 rout. The PBruins top line of Seth Griffith (1G-4A), Frank Vatrano (3G-2A) and David Pastrnak (1G-2A) combined for 13 points in a big win at home to extend their unbeaten streak to 11 games (8-0-3) heading into the All-Star Break.

Malcolm Subban stopped 17 of 18 shots in the win, while Falcons' starting goaltender Marek Langhammer surrendered six goals on 28 shots before being pulled in favor of Nicklas Treutle (6 saves - 8 shots).

Springfield returns home to host Portland Saturday, while Providence heads into the All-Star break.

Bridgeport - 4 at Hartford - 1

The Sound Tigers rolled into Hartford and snapped the Wolf Pack's eight-game winning streak behind two goals from Taylor Beck and 31 saves from Jean-Francois Berube.

Chris McCarthy scored the lone Wolf Pack goal late in the 2nd period to end Berube's shutout bid, while Magnus Hellberg picked up the loss allowing four goals on 28 shots.

Bridgeport returns home to host Albany before heading into the All-Star break while Hartford remains home Saturday to host the St. John's Ice Caps.

Other Eastern Conference Scores

Utica - 4 at Albany - 3 (OT) 
Toronto - 4 at Grand Rapids - 2 
St. John's - 2 at Portland - 4
Hershey - 5 at Syracuse - 3
Binghamton - 5 at Rochester - 2
Saturday's Eastern Conference Schedule

Binghamton at Toronto, 5:00 p.m. ET
Albany at Bridgeport, 7:00 p.m. ET
St. John's at Hartford, 7:00 p.m. ET
Syracuse at Hershey, 7:00 p.m. ET
Portland at Springfield, 7:00 p.m. ET
Rochester at Utica. 7:00 p.m. ET
Lehigh Valley at W-B/Scranton, 7:05 p.m. ET


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