Game 48 Preview: Lehigh Valley at Hershey

Saturday, February 6, 2016
The Phantoms take on the Bears tonight in Hershey at 7:00 p.m. ET - Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
ATTENTION: Tonight's Lehigh Valley Phantoms game in Hershey could be my last live road game coverage. 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 donation to my GoFundMe page.

For the 10th time this season, Atlantic Division rivals Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Hershey Bears match up tonight in another edition of AHL Rivlary Night. While the Bears have given the Phantoms trouble at home, Lehigh Valley has been equally as good at the Giant Center - the site for tonight's game.

The Phantoms are an impressive 3-1-0 at Giant Center this season, and that trend will need to continue for the Phantoms to leave Hershey with two points tonight without leading scorer Nick Cousins (called up to Philadelphia) and injured forwards Tim Brent and Petr Straka. The three combine for 34 goals and 49 assists this season, which amounts to 24.6% of the Phantoms' goals scored and 22.9% of the team's total offensive production this year. Doesn't sound like too much, but considering the time these three guys have already missed this season (Brent - 10, Straka & Cousins - 9 each) it's clear that those three represent a big part of the team's offensive output.

The games between these two teams never disappoint, and the last meeting back on January 25th was full of excitement on a rare Monday night AHL game that was re-scheduled due to the previous weekend's snow storm that saw the Hershey and Allentown areas get up to as much as three feet of snow.

I'll be live from Giant Center tonight with full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game in Hershey against the Bears. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. ET, but make sure you're following me on Twitter -> @TonyAndrock for all the latest updates and information this evening. Stay tuned here online after the game for a recap of the action complete with player reaction you can't get anywhere else!

News, notes, stats, numbers and a whole bunch more after the jump.

By The Numbers

LV: 47 games played, 22-22-2-1 = 47 points
7th Place - Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 5-5-0-0
Streak: Loss last night snapped five-game win streak

HER: 47 games played, 25-13-3-6 = 59 points
2nd Place - Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 7-0-2-1
Streak: 10-game points streak

Special Teams

Power Play

LV: 16.8% - 15th in AHL
HER: 14.4% - 25th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV: 83.0% - 16th in AHL
HER: 81.5% - 22nd in AHL

Leading Scorers (Active)

LV: Andrew MacDonald (40GP, 5G-27A), Taylor Leier (42GP, 12G-16A), Chris Conner (30GP, 10G-19A), Danick Martel (39GP, 17G-10A)

HER: Chris Bourque (44GP, 20G-25A), Travis Boyd (47GP, 10G-19A), Sean Collins (46GP, 11G-17A), Riley Barber (45GP, 12G-15A)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

LV: Jason LaBarbera (6-10-0, 2.94 GAA, .901 SV%, 1 SO)
HER: Justin Peters (10-6-5, 2.99 GAA, .900 SV%, 1 SO)

Season Series

This is the 10th of 12th scheduled meetings between Lehigh Valley and Hershey this season. The Phantoms own the season series with a 6-3 record, including a 3-1 record at the Giant Center this season after going without a win in Hershey since 2010 entering the season.

Head to Head Scoring Leaders

LV: Taylor Leier (8GP, 3G-6A), Danick Martel (9GP, 4G-3A), Chris Conner (4GP, 1G-5A)

HER: Chris Bourque (9GP, 6G-3A), Travis Boyd (9GP, 3G-5A), Carter Camper (9GP, 2G-5A)

Goalies Head to Head Stats

LV: Jason LaBarbera (4GP, 2-2-0, 2.96 GAA, .890 SV%, 0 SO)
       Martin Ouellette - No Stats

HER: Justin Peters (4GP, 1-2-1, 3.93 GAA, .890 SV%, 0 SO)
          Dan Ellis (5GP, 2-0-3, 2.15 GAA, .894 SV%, 0 SO)

Season Series Schedule

Sun. 11/1, Lehigh Valley - 5 at Hershey - 4 (SO)
Fri. 11/6, Hershey - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 2
Fri. 11/27, Hershey - 5 at Lehigh Valley - 6 (SO)
Sat. 12/5, Lehigh Valley - 1 at Hershey - 2
Wed. 12/9, Hershey - 2 at Lehigh Valley - 3 (OT)
Fri. 12/18, Hershey - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 6
Thurs. 12/31, Lehigh Valley - 3 at Hershey - 1
Fri. 1/15, Hershey - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 2
Mon. 1/25, Lehigh Valley - 6 at Hershey - 5 (SO)
Sat. 2/6, Lehigh Valley at Hershey - 7:00 p.m. ET
Wed. 3/23, Hershey at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET
Sat. 4/16, Lehigh Valley at Hershey - 7:00 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes

Anthony Stolarz is with the Philadelphia Flyers while Michal Neuvirth is injured. The Phantoms called up Martin Ouellette from Reading (ECHL) to serve as Jason LaBarbera's backup this weekend.

Nick Cousins was called up to the Flyers yesterday after the Phantoms' morning skate in Bridgeport. With Sean Couturier out four weeks with a lower body injury, Cousins could be in the NHL for awhile.

Tim Brent is going to be out long term after having surgery to repair his injured hand.

Aaron Palushaj didn't play Friday for Lehigh Valley, still recovering from a slew foot hit from Liam O'Brien in the third period of 1/25's game in Hershey. He returned to the lineup last night in Bridgeport.

Pavel Padakin is back with Lehigh Valley after a 17-game stint in the ECHL with Reading. I caught up with Padakin and head coach Scott Gordon, who said he was pleased with Padakin's play in his first game back with the Phantoms before the break.

Phantoms Injured List: Kevin Sundher (lower body), Michael Parks (upper body), Petr Straka (lower body), Tim Brent (hand/wrist surgery) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely)

UPDATE: Lines for tonight's game against Hershey:

Taylor Leier - Phil DeSimone - Chris Conner
Danick Martel - Cole Bardreau - Colin McDonald (C)
Tyrell Goulbourne - Kevin Goumas - Aaron Palushaj
xxxxxxx - Joe Rehkamp - Pavel Padakin

Andrew MacDonald (A) - Robert Hagg
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske (A) - Maxim Lamarche
Adam Comrie

Jason LaBarbera - Martin Ouellette

Recent Transactions

2/5: C Nick Cousins recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
2/4: G Martin Ouellette recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL) 
2/2: G Anthony Stolarz recalled on loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
1/28: G Jason LaBarbera returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
1/28: G Martin Ouellette loaned to Reading (ECHL)
1/27: RW Pavel Padakin recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)


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