Game 75 Preview: Lehigh Valley at Hershey

Saturday, April 16, 2016
The Phantoms and Bears meet for the final time this season. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the Hershey Bears. 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 (33-34-4-3) are on the road for the final time this season, taking on rival Hershey (41-21-5-7) at the Giant Center at 7:05 p.m. ET.

The Phantoms would like to forget the last meeting between these two teams as they were blown out of the water in an 8-0 home loss that went down as the worst home loss in Phantoms franchise history. Since then however, Lehigh Valley has won six of their last eight games including the next five in a row following the blowout loss to Hershey.

The Bears are well on their way to an Atlantic Division title and can wrap that up with a win tonight over their bitter rivals. Hershey is poised once again to make a deep run in the Calder Cup Playoffs, and they will be led by the league's MVP (announced Friday) Chris Bourque.

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

By The Numbers

LV: 74 games played, 33-34-4-3 = 73 points
7th Place - Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 6-4-0-0
Streak: 0-1-0

HER: 74 games played, 41-21-5-7 = 94 points
1st Place - Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 6-3-1-0
Streak: 0-1-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV: 17.1% - 13th in AHL
HER: 16.7% - 17th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV: 84.0% - 11th in AHL
HER: 82.4% - 19th in AHL

Leading Scorers (Active)

LV:  Chris Conner (56GP, 16G-38A), Taylor Leier (69GP, 20G-29A), Petr Straka (63GP, 19G-18A), Danick Martel (66GP, 21G-14A)

HER: Chris Bourque (71GP, 30G-49A), Riley Barber (72GP, 25G-29A), Travis Boyd (74GP, 20G-31A), Nathan Walker (71GP, 17G-24A)

Starting Goaltenders

LV: Anthony Stolarz (20-17-7, 2.60 GAA, .916 SV%, 0 SO)
HER: Justin Peters (16-8-7, 3.07 GAA, .895 SV%, 1 SO)

Season Series

This is the 12th and final meeting between Lehigh Valley and Hershey this season. The Phantoms own the season series with a 6-5 record, including a 3-2-0 record at Giant Center this season.

Head to Head Scoring Leaders

LV: Taylor Leier (11GP, 3G-6A), Petr Straka (8GP, 5G-3A), Danick Martel (11GP, 4G-3A)

HER: Chris Bourque (11GP, 9G-6A), Travis Boyd (11GP, 7G-6A), Riley Barber (11GP, 0G-8A)

Goalies Head to Head Stats

LV: Martin Ouellette (4GP, 3-1-0, 3.14 GAA, .893 SV%, 0 SO)
       Connor Knapp (1GP, 1-0-0, 4.62 GAA, .828 SV%, 0 SO)

HER: Justin Peters (5GP, 2-2-1, 3.35 GAA, .902 SV%, 0 SO)
          Dan Ellis (6GP, 3-0-3, 2.42 GAA, .908 SV%, 1 SO)

Season Series Schedule

Sun. 11/1, Lehigh Valley - 5 at Hershey - 4 (SO)
Fri. 11/6, Hershey - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 2
Fri. 11/27, Hershey - 5 at Lehigh Valley - 6 (SO)
Sat. 12/5, Lehigh Valley - 1 at Hershey - 2
Wed. 12/9, Hershey - 2 at Lehigh Valley - 3 (OT)
Fri. 12/18, Hershey - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 6
Thurs. 12/31, Lehigh Valley - 3 at Hershey - 1
Fri. 1/15, Hershey - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 2
Mon. 1/25, Lehigh Valley - 6 at Hershey - 5 (SO)
Sat. 2/6, Lehigh Valley -1 at Hershey - 5
Wed. 3/23, Hershey - 8 at Lehigh Valley - 0
Sat. 4/16, Lehigh Valley at Hershey - 7:00 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

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), Travis Sanheim (healthy), Christian Marti (healthy), Phil DeSimone (healthy), Michael Parks (out for the season), Aaron Palushaj (healthy), Danick Martel (healthy), Radel Fazleev (out for the season), Jay Rosehill (healthy) and Logan Pyett (out for the season)

Lines - Phantoms

Oskar Lindblom - Tim Brent - Chris Conner
Taylor Leier - Cole Bardreau - Colin McDonald
Petr Straka - Steven Swavely - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Tyrell Goulbourne - Pavel Padakin - Dalton Smith

Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske - Reece Willcox
Adam Comrie - Robert Hagg

Anthony Stolarz - Connor Knapp

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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