Game 74 Preview: W-B/Scranton at Lehigh Valley

Friday, April 15, 2016
The Phantoms conclude the 2015-16 season this weekend. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. 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.

While the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (33-33-4-3) are out of playoff contention entering the final three games of their regular season schedule, they can make their rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's (42-26-4-1) path to the playoffs a little more difficult by not allowing them two points tonight. The Pens' chances of winning the Atlantic Division are already slim to none - trailing 1st place Hershey by five points with three games left - but entering tonight's game the Pens sit third in the division, which would not give them home ice advantage in the opening round of the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs. The Phantoms don't have anything at stake, but the Penguins sure do.

There's still plenty to watch from a Phantoms' perspective, as several of the the organization's top prospects - Travis Sanheim, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Oskar Lindblom - have all played well out of the gate in the beginning of their AHL careers.

For all the latest in-game updates and information, make sure you're following me on Twitter both at @TonyAndrock for Phantoms news/notes and @H_P_Hockey for Penguins news/notes. I'll have a recap of the action here online shortly following the game complete with reaction from the players and head coach Scott Gordon.

Some great follows for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coverage are their two daily beat reporters Tom Venesky (@TLTomVenesky) and Seth Lasko (@CVSethLasko). Two of the best in the business.

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

By The Numbers

LV: 73 games played, 33-33-4-3 = 73 points
7th Place - Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 6-3-1-0
Streak: 1-0-0

WBS: 73 games played, 42-26-4-1 = 89 points
2nd Place - Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 5-5-0-0
Streak: 0-1-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV: 17.2% - 11th in AHL
WBS: 19.3% - 6th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV: 83.8% - 14th in AHL
WBS: 83.2% - 16th in AHL

Leading Scorers (Active)

LV: Chris Conner (56GP, 16G-38A), Taylor Leier (68GP, 20G-29A), Petr Straka (62GP, 19G-18A), Danick Martel (65GP, 21G-14A)

WBS: Dustin Jeffrey (61GP, 19G-44A), Carter Rowney (71GP, 23G-31A), Tom Kostopoulos (72GP, 19G-31A), Will O'Neill (71GP, 8G-41A)

Starting Goaltenders

LV: Anthony Stolarz (20-16-7, 2.61 GAA, .933 SV%, 0 SO)
WBS: Casey DeSmith (1-1-0, 2.60 GAA, . 887 SV%, 0 SO)

Season Series

This is the 12th and final scheduled meeting between Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. The Penguins lead the season series with a 6-4-1-0 record against the Phantoms entering tonight's game but Lehigh Valley is 3-1-1 in their last five games against their rival Penguins.

Head to Head Scoring Leaders

LV: Chris Conner (7GP, 2G-7A), Taylor Leier (11GP, 3G-5A), Cole Bardreau (10GP, 3G-3A)

WBS: Will O'Neill (11GP, 3G-9A), Tom Kostopoulos (11GP, 3G-7A), Dominik Simon (9GP, 4G-4A)

Goalies Head to Head Stats

LV: Anthony Stolarz (6GP, 2-3-1, 3.95 GAA, .874 SV%, 0 SO)    
       Connor Knapp - No Stats

WBS: Casey DeSmith - No Stats
           Sean Maguire - No Stats
Season Series Schedule 

Roster Notes

Anthony Stolarz is expected to get the start in net tonight for the Phantoms, with Connor Knapp serving as the team's backup.

In somewhat of a surprise Thursday in Whitehall, veteran forward Chris Conner - the team's leading scorer - practiced on a 5th line with Jay Rosehill and Dalton Smith, giving the initial indication that Conner might miss tonight's game. Perhaps the veterans will rotate in the final three games this weekend, or head coach Scott Gordon wanted to give the younger players more reps in practice. Time will tell.

Both forwards Jay Rosehill and Aaron Palushaj served their suspensions, but neither are expected to play. Rosehill skated on a makeshift fifth line at practice Thursday while Palushaj wasn't present for the team's skate in Whitehall yesterday.

Michael Parks has been skating in a yellow non-contact jersey at practice for the past two weeks. I had ruled him out for the season after a conversation I had with Parks about six weeks ago, but it's nice to see him skating out there. He's been out of the lineup since the Phantoms' third game of the season back on October 17th in Wilkes-Barre.

Goaltender Alex Lyon, whom the Flyers signed this week out of Yale University to an entry-level contract, will not be reporting to Lehigh Valley this spring per GM Ron Hextall.

Veteran Jason LaBarbera has been ruled out for the season. It appeared as though the Phantoms would finish their final six games with Martin Ouellette and Connor Knapp, but the Flyers reassigned Anthony Stolarz to Lehigh Valley Thursday afternoon.

Defenseman Travis Sanheim and forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel made their pro debuts Friday night in Wilkes-Barre against the rival Penguins in the last meeting between the two teams.

Forwards Radel Fazleev (hand) and Travis Konecny (shoulder), both of whom have been eliminated from the junior league playoffs, will not play with the Phantoms this spring due their injuries.

Scratches: Jason LaBarbera (out for the season), Christian Marti (healhty), Michael Parks (out for the season), Aaron Palushaj (healthy), Radel Fazleev (out for the season), Chris Conner (healthy), Dalton Smith (healthy), Adam Comrie (healthy), Jay Rosehill (healthy) and Logan Pyett (out for the season)

Lines - Phantoms

Oskar Lindblom - Tim Brent - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Taylor Leier - Cole Bardreau - Colin McDonald
Petr Straka - Phil DeSimone - Danick Martel
Tyrell Goulbourne - Steven Swavely - Pavel Padakin

Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske - Travis Sanheim
Adam Comrie - Robert Hagg

Anthony Stolarz - Connor Knapp

Lines - Penguins

Kael Mouillierat - Dustin Jeffrey - Adam Krause
Jake Guentzel - Carter Rowney - Tom Kostopoulos
Matthias Platcha - Jean Sebastien Dea - Dominik Simon
Tyler Biggs - Teddy Blueger - Josh Archibald

Nicklas Andersen - Steve Oleksy
Tim Erixon - Ethan Prow
Will O'Neill - Barry Goers

Casey DeSmith - Sean Maguire

Recent Transactions

4/14: ADD - RW Derek Mathers returned on loan from Reading (ECHL)

4/9: DEL - G Martin Ouellette loaned to Reading (ECHL)
4/7: ADD - G Anthony Stolarz returned on loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
4/4: ADD - RW Nicolas Aube-Kubel re-assigned by Philadelphia (NHL) from Val d'Or (QMJHL)
4/4: ADD - LW Radel Fazleev re-assigned by Philadelphia (NHL) from Calgary (WHL)
4/4: ADD - D Travis Sanheim re-assigned by Philadelphia (NHL) from Calgary (WHL)
3/29: DEL - D Max Lamarche re-assigned by Philadelphia (NHL) to Reading (ECHL)
3/26: ADD - F Oskar Lindblom signed to ATO

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


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