Game 56 Preview: Utica at Lehigh Valley

Saturday, February 27, 2016
Another must-win game tonight for the Phantoms against Utica. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. ET, but make sure you're following me on Twitter -> @TonyAndrock and now on Facebook (be sure to like the Facebook page!) for all the latest updates and information this evening. Stay tuned here online after the game for a recap of the action.

You can help keep me on the road covering the Lehigh Valley Phantoms by making a donation via GoFundMe or PayPal.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (25-25-2-3) put their four-game points streak on the line tonight in another must-win game against the Utica Comets tonight at the PPL Center. The Phantoms haven't fared well against the Comets this season, and head coach Scott Gordon has said Utica doesn't provide a good match up for the Phantoms, but there's no excuses or time to waste with 21 games left on the schedule and a six-point deficit to make up to get into playoff contention.

Utica will be a bit of a different team than they were two weeks ago when the two teams last met. Leading scorer Hunter Shinkaruk was traded to the Calgary Flames organization, which leaves a sizable hole up front for the Comets moving forward - they have just two guys one the roster who have tallied 10 or more goals this season.

If you missed it this morning, Saturday's Morning Skate (2/27) takes a look around the AHL's Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division playoff race. Also in SMS, the daily AHL Playoff Primer for a full look at the league's standings and playoff-related info.

All of the regular news, notes, stats and more to get you ready for tonight's game in a full preview after the jump.

By The Numbers

LV: 55 games played, 25-25-2-3 = 55 points
7th Place - Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 4-4-0-2
Streak: 2-0-0-2

UTI: 52 games played, 26-18-5-3 = 60 points
3rd Place - North Division
Last 10 Games: 7-1-2-0
Streak: 1-0-1-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV: 18.0% - 12th in AHL
UTI: 14.7% - 27th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV: 82.3% - 16th in AHL
UTI: 84.2% - 11th in AHL

Leading Scorers (Active)

LV: Taylor Leier (50GP,17G-21A), Chris Conner (38GP, 12G-27A), Petr Straka (45GP, 17G-15A), Danick Martel (47GP, 19G-11A)

UTI: Brendan Gaunce (41GP, 15G-18A), Jordan Subban (45GP, 8G-20A), Alexandre Grenier (49GP, 8G-20A), Mike Zalewski (47GP, 13G-14A)

Starting Goaltenders

LV: Anthony Stolarz (17-11-5, 2.53 GAA, .915 SV%, 0 SO)
UTI: Joe Cannata (14-9-3, 2.56 GAA, .910 SV%, 1 SO)

Season Series

This is the 4th of four scheduled meetings between Lehigh Valley and Utica this season. The Phantoms are 1-2 against the Comets this season, splitting a pair of games in Utica one week apart on Thanksgiving Eve and December 2nd before being dismantled 5-2 the day before Valentines Day at home.

Head to Head Scoring Leaders

LV: Danick Martel (3GP, 2G-1A), Taylor Leier (2GP, 0G-2A), Aaron Palushaj (2GP, 1G-0A)

UTI: Taylor Fedun (3GP, 1G-3A), Mike Zalewski (3GP, 1G-2A), Alex Friesen (2GP, 1G-2A)

Goalies Head to Head Stats

LV: Anthony Stolarz (3GP, 1-1-0, 2.89 GAA, .909 SV%, 0 SO)
       Jason LaBarbera - (1GP, 0-0-0, 1.73 GAA, .952, 0 SO)

UTI: Joe Cannata (1GP, 1-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .964 SV%, 0 SO) 
         Richard Bachman (2GP, 1-1-0, 2.56 GAA, .881 SV%, 0 SO)
Season Series Schedule

Wednesday 11/25, Lehigh Valley - 1 at Utica - 7
Wednesday 12/2, Lehigh Valley - 3 at Utica - 1
Saturday 2/13, Utica - 5 at Lehigh Valley - 2
Saturday 2/27, Utica at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes

Anthony Stolarz is expected to get the start in net for the sixth straight game. Jason LaBarbera has been battling a nagging injury over the last two to three weeks, but took a puck on his hand while sitting on the bench in last night's game. Martin Ouellette was called up and is expected to back up Stolarz in net.

Max Lamarche did not play tonight with what is being termed as the flu, which is running its course on the locker room. Lamarche likely would have been a scratch tonight regardless after having a turnover-filled game last night.

Jay Rosehill re-entered the lineup for the Phantoms after playing the final two games of last weekend's three-in-three.

Dalton Smith took warmups tonight for the first time as a member of the Phantoms but was a healthy scratch.

Scratches: Kevin Sundher (lower body since 11/27), Colin McDonald (upper body), Michael Parks (upper body since 10/17), Dalton Smith (healthy), Jay Rosehill (healthy), Tim Brent (hand/wrist surgery) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Petr Straka - Cole Bardreau - Colin McDonald
Taylor Leier (A) - Phil DeSimone - Chris Conner (A)
Danick Martel - Kevin Goumas - Aaron Palushaj
Tyrell Goulbourne - Joe Rehkamp - Jay Rosehill

Davis Drewiske (A) - Robert Hagg
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Adam Comrie - Christian Marti

Anthony Stolarz - Martin Ouellette

Recent Transactions

2/27: G Martin Ouellette recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/26: RW Pavel Padakin returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/22: LW Dalton Smith signed to a professional tryout contract (PTO)
2/18: RW Pavel Padakin recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/17: RW Pavel Padakin returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/13: D Andrew MacDonald recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)


Post a Comment