Game 58 Preview: Lehigh Valley at Syracuse

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Lehigh Valley hosted Syracuse in their season opener back on October 10th (opening face-off pictured above).
I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the Syracuse Crunch. The puck drops at 7:00 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 (26-26-2-3) have no time to waste in making a push toward the postseason, entering tonight's game six points back of the final playoff spot with 19 games remaining on their regular season schedule. Tonight, they face a Syracuse Crunch team (22-23-9-2) in a similar predicament. The Crunch have 20 games left to make up a seven point deficit to sneak into the postseason.

These two teams haven't faced each other since November 7th in Syracuse, and before that it was opening night at the PPL Center back on October 10th. The Crunch won both of those games, with the Phantoms surrendering a pair of one-goal deficits in regulation losses. Almost four months later, these two teams take to the ice against each other again - both looking to take the two points and continue their push towards playoff contention.

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: 57 games played, 26-26-2-3 = 57 points
7th Place - Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 4-4-0-2
Streak: 1-0-0-0

SYR: 56 games played, 22-23-9-2 = 55 points
6th Place - North Division
Last 10 Games: 3-5-1-1
Streak: 1-0-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV: 17.6% - 13th in AHL
SYR: 18.0% - 12th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV: 82.8% - 15th in AHL
SYR: 79.2% - 28th in AHL

Leading Scorers (Active)

LV:  Chris Conner (40GP, 12G-29A), Taylor Leier (52GP,18G-21A), Petr Straka (47GP, 17G-15A), Danick Martel (49GP, 19G-11A)

SYR: Tanner Richard (52GP, 7G-30A), Mike Blunden (45GP, 18G-15A), Jeff Tambellini (46GP, 18G-15A), Tye McGinn (54GP, 17G-16A)

Starting Goaltenders

LV: Anthony Stolarz (18-12-5, 2.47 GAA, .918 SV%, 0 SO)
SYR: Adam Wilcox (6-8-4, 3.54 GAA, .886 SV%, 0 SO)

Season Series

This is the third of four scheduled meetings between Lehigh Valley and Syracuse this season. The Phantoms are 0-2 against the Crunch this season, having lost 4-3 on opening night as well as a 2-1 setback in Syracuse in their last meeting back on November 7th. After tonight, the final meeting between the two teams isn't until each respective team's season finales in Allentown on Sunday, April 17th at 5:05 p.m. ET.

Head to Head Scoring Leaders

LV: Chris Conner (2GP, 1G-1A), Aaron Palushaj (2GP, 1G-0A), Danick Martel (2GP, 1G-0A)

SYR: Tanner Richard (2GP, 0G-3A), Dylan Blujus (2GP, 0G-2A), Mike Blunden (2GP, 1G-0A)

Goalies Head to Head Stats

LV: Anthony Stolarz (1GP, 0-1-0, 2.30 GAA, .924 SV%, 0 SO)
       Martin Ouellette - No Stats

SYR: Kristers Gudlevskis (1GP, 1-0-0, 3.00 GAA, .897 SV%, 0 SO)
          Adam Wilcox (1GP 1-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .962 SV%, 0 SO)

Season Series Schedule

Wednesday 3/1, Lehigh Valley at Syracuse - 7:00 p.m. ET
Sunday 4/17, Syracuse at Lehigh Valley - 5:05 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes

Anthony Stolarz is expected to make his 8th straight start in net for the Phantoms tonight. There wasn't any reported update on injured goaltender Jason LaBarbera from practice this week and Martin Ouellette hasn't been reassigned to ECHL Reading, so Ouellette is likely Stolarz's backup in Syracuse tonight.

Speaking of Reading, defenseman Jesper Pettersson was reassigned to the Phantoms' ECHL affiliate on Tuesday - a sign that one or both of Mark Alt and Maxim Lamarche are ready to return after missing Sunday's game due to a flu bug that has been making its rounds through the locker room. Both Alt and Lamarche were full participants in yesterday's practice.

The World Cup of Hockey playing rosters are being announced today. Back in mid-January, Team USA named current Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon as an assistant coach for USA's World Cup of Hockey team. It's Gordon's 8th time representing USA hockey in some capacity at the international stage, and he doesn't take those opportunities lightly.

Scratches: Christian Marti (healthy), Kevin Sundher (lower body since 12/27), Michael Parks (upper body since 10/17), Jason LaBarbera (upper body), Tim Brent (hand/wrist surgery), Jay Rosehill (healthy) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely).

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics):

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

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

Anthony Stolarz - Martin Ouellette

Recent Transactions

3/1: DEL - D Jesper Pettersson returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/29: DEL - C Nick Cousins recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
2/29: ADD - C Nick Cousins returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
2/28: ADD - D Jesper Pettersson recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/26: DEL - RW Pavel Padakin returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/22: ADD - LW Dalton Smith signed to a professional tryout contract (PTO)


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