Ouellette's Opportunity 3/22

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Martin Ouellette will be getting an opportunity to showcase his talents at the AHL level this week for Lehigh Valley. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
Despite spending quite a bit of time back and forth between the AHL and ECHL this season, goaltender Martin Ouellette has only three appearances with Lehigh Valley this season and just one start - back on November 28th against Providence.

His last AHL action came on February 6th, when he came on for the third period in relief of Jason LaBarbera in Hershey - stopping all 16 shots he faced to stop the bleeding in a 5-1 blowout loss at the Giant Center.

With Anthony Stolarz up in the NHL with Philadelphia and Jason LaBarbera battling through an injury, Ouellette will get his 2nd AHL start this season Wednesday night when the Phantoms host the Hershey Bears at 7:05 p.m. ET.

"It's a great opportunity," Ouellette said, adding, "I'm just happy to be here and going to make the most of it tomorrow."

Ouellette Well Traveled

A simple look at the Lehigh Valley Phantoms' transactions page on the AHL's website would tell you that Martin Ouellette is putting a lot of miles on his vehicle this season:
3/20: ADD - Recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL) 
3/12: DEL - Returned on loan to Reading (ECHL) 
3/12: ADD - Recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL) 
3/6: DEL - Returned on loan to Reading (ECHL) 
2/27: ADD - Recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL) 
2/11: DEL - Returned on loan to Reading (ECHL) 
2/4: ADD - Recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL) 
1/28: DEL - Returned on loan to Reading (ECHL) 
1/27: ADD - Recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL) 
12/17: DEL - Returned on loan to Reading (ECHL) 
11/17: ADD - Recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL) 
10/29: DEL - Returned on loan to Reading (ECHL) 
10/24: ADD - Recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL) 
10/15: DEL - Returned on loan to Reading (ECHL) 
10/13: ADD - Recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL) 
For the eighth time this season, the Phantoms have called up goaltender Martin Ouellette from their ECHL affiliate Reading Royals. Like most of his recalls, it's what the former University of Maine goalie says is an easy drive to make.

"Pretty lucky. Only 40 to 50 minutes away, so it's not a bad travel," Ouellette said after practice.

While in the ECHL with the Royals, Martin Ouellette has been playing quite well - especially in the month of March. He comes to Lehigh Valley following a 17-9-3 record in Reading with a 2.07 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and four shutouts.

This month, Ouellette has been playing phenomenal hockey. He's 4-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average, a .963 save percentage and one shutout. He said after Tuesday's practice at the PPL Center that he's hoping to replicate that kind of a performance while with the Phantoms.

"Bring that confidence and momentum here. Keep it simple and do what I was doing down there," Ouellette explained. "I'm sure everything's going to be fine if I do that."

It's also a chance for Ouellette to leave a lasting impression before the season ends. He is, after all, an impending AHL unrestricted free agent this summer.

"Just show what I can do here," Ouellette said of his current situation. "It's a great opportunity to do that right now with 11 games left."

The Phantoms listen to instruction from head coach Scott Gordon during Tuesday's practice at the PPL Center.

Jason LaBarbera was not present for today's practice. Head coach Scott Gordon said after practice that LaBarbera is going to be "out for a bit", which in layman's terms means he is not day-to-day and is more likely on the week-to-week track.

Martin Ouellette and Connor Knapp were the two goaltenders on the ice for Lehigh Valley. Ouellette will get the start tomorrow against Hershey.

Chris Conner was not on the ice at practice today, but it wasn't due to an injury. It wasn't clearly explained as to why he wasn't present, but it sounded like a personal/family type matter. He should be in the lineup tomorrow if he's in town.

The three injured players who missed Sunday's game against Portland - forwards Colin McDonald and Aaron Palushaj and defenseman Max Lamarche - all skated in full capacity today.

Newly signed defenseman Reece Wilcox was on the ice practicing today on a fourth pairing with Lamarche. It doesn't look like he will make his pro debut tomorrow night, but it's not all too surprising as today was his first on-ice practice.

Lines from today's practice

Taylor Leier - Cole Bardreau - Colin McDonald
Danick Martel - Tim Brent - Aaron Palushaj
Petr Straka - Phil DeSimone - Pavel Padakin
Tyrell Goulbourne/Dalton Smith - Steven Swavely - Jay Rosehill

Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske - Christian Marti
Adam Comrie - Robert Hagg
Reece Wilcox - Max Lamarche

Martin Ouellette - Connor Knapp


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