Game 65 Preview: Portland at Lehigh Valley

Sunday, March 20, 2016
Phantoms and Pirates meet for the final time this season.
I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the Portland Pirates. The puck drops at 5:05 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 (27-30-4-3) return home to PPL Center to host the Portland Pirates (31-24-5-2) this evening in the Phantoms' first home contest since March 4th against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Lehigh Valley had a five-game road trip to forget the past two weeks, going win-less in those five games (0-3-2) and seeing their playoff aspirations wither away.

The Portland Pirates are in a similar rut, entering today's game on an eight-game win-less streak (0-4-3-1) that has seen them fall from third to the fifth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division with Hartford breathing down their neck tied in points.

With just 12 games left in the regular season, these final games provide players with a chance to leave a lasting impression on the coaching staff and management heading into the off-season.

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: 64 games played, 27-30-4-3 = 61 points
7th Place - Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 2-5-2-1
Streak: 0-4-2

POR: 62 games played, 31-24-5-2 = 69 points
5th Place - Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 1-4-3-2
Streak: 0-4-3-1

Special Teams

Power Play

LV: 17.2% - 14th in AHL
POR: 13.3% - 28th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV: 82.3% - 19th in AHL
POR: 85.3% - 8th in AHL

Leading Scorers (Active)

LV:  Chris Conner (47GP, 13G-31A), Taylor Leier (59GP,18G-24A), Petr Straka (54GP, 19G-17A), Danick Martel (56GP, 21G-12A)

POR: Rob Schremp (62GP, 18G-17A), Rocco Grimaldi (47GP, 15G-16A), Shane Harper (45GP, 8G-23A), Cameron Gaunce (62GP, 2G-28A)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

LV: Jason LaBarbera (7-13-0, 3.02 GAA, .900 SV%, 1 SO)
POR: Mike McKenna (25-14-5, 2.49 GAA, .917 SV%, 2 SO)

Season Series

This is the 4th of four scheduled meetings between Lehigh Valley and Portland this season. The Phantoms are 1-1-1-0 against the Pirates this season, splitting a pair of back-to-back games in Maine at the beginning of the 2016 calendar year and falling 3-1 at home back in February despite a season-high 46 shots on goal.

Head to Head Scoring Leaders

LV: Cole Bardreau (3GP, 1G-1A), Sam Morin (3GP, 0G-2A), Taylor Leier (3GP, 0G-2A)

POR: Kyle Rau (3GP, 3G-0A), Rob Schremp (3GP, 1G-1A), Rocco Grimaldi (3GP, 1G-3A)

Goalies Head to Head Stats

LV: Jason LaBarbera (2GP, 1-1-0, 1.52 GAA, .949 SV%, 0 SO)
       Martin Ouellette - No Stats

POR: Mike McKenna (2GP, 2-0-0, 1.97 GAA, .949 SV%, 0 SO)
          Sam Brittain (1GP, 0-1-0, 2.03 GAA, .917 SV%, 0 SO)

Season Series Schedule

Saturday 1/2, Lehigh Valley - 3 at Portland - 4 (OT)
Sunday 1/3, Lehigh Valley - 2 at Portland - 1
Saturday 2/12, Portland - 3 at Lehigh Valley - 1
Sunday 3/20, Portland at Lehigh Valley - 5:05 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes

Jason LaBarbera gets the start in net tonight for Lehigh Valley tonight, with Martin Ouellette serving as the team's backup.

Anthony Stolarz was called up to Philadelphia today with the news that Michael Neuvirth will miss three weeks with a lower body injury.

Colin McDonald and Max Lamarche both remain out with their upper body injuries. Both are considered day-to-day at this point, though there was no official update from head coach Scott Gordon on their statuses moving forward.

Joe Rehkamp returns to the Phantoms' lineup after sitting out the last three games as a healthy scratch. He replaces Aaron Palushaj, who was banged up Friday in Toronto. Palushaj finished that game but did not take the warmup skate today.

Scratches: Colin McDonald (upper body), Michael Parks (upper body - out for season), Aaron Palushaj (undisclosed), Max Lamarche (upper body since 3/12) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics):

Petr Straka - Tim Brent - Danick Martel
Taylor Leier - Cole Bardreau - Chris Conner
Tyrell Goulbourne - Phil DeSimone - Dalton Smith
Jay Rosehill - Steven Swavely - Joe Rehkamp

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

Jason LaBarbera - Martin Ouellette

Recent Transactions - Phantoms

3/20: ADD - G Martin Ouellette recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/20: DEL - G Anthony Stolarz recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
3/13: ADD - G Anthony Stolarz returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
3/12: DEL - G Martin Ouellette loaned to Reading (ECHL)
3/12: ADD - G Martin Ouellette recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/12: DEL - G Anthony Stolarz recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
3/10: DEL - C Kevin Goumas loaned to Reading (ECHL)
3/10: DEL - LW Kevin Sundher loaned to Reading (ECHL)
3/8: ADD - C Steven Swavely added on an ATO


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