Game 35 Preview: Hershey at Lehigh Valley

Friday, January 13, 2017
Phantoms renew rivalry with Hershey this weekend. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Round Seven - Phantoms Host Hershey

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 along on Twitter -> @TonyAndrock & Facebook (be sure to like the Facebook page!) for all the latest updates and information.

Stay tuned here online after the game for a recap of the action. Don't forget to subscribe to Highland Park Hockey's YouTube channel for post-game interviews with AHL hockey players.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (23-9-2) have a home and home series against the Hershey Bears this weekend, starting tonight at home in the friendly confines of the PPL Center. The two teams will rematch Saturday night at Giant Center in Hershey.

It's a tough as well as crucial portion of games coming up on the schedule, as after the Phantoms face Hershey twice this weekend they have four games next week including a three-in-three weekend against the other top three teams in the Atlantic Division in succession with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Providence at home on Friday and Saturday nights and another game in Hershey next Sunday.

A good outcome in the next two weeks worth of games could vault the Phantoms atop the division, but a poor showing could have them in the middle of the pack. It should make for some great games in the coming days.

After the jump, a preview full of the latest news and notes to get you ready for tonight's game.

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

Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook

By The Numbers

LV: 34 games played, 23-9-2-0 = 48 points
2nd Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 2-0-0-0
Last 10 Games: 7-2-1-0

HER: 35 games played, 18-8-7-2 = 45 points
4th Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 0-2-2-0
Last 10 Games: 3-3-3-1

Special Teams

Power Play

LV - 36-for-162: 22.2% = 7th in AHL
HER - 33-for-156: 21.2% = 9th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV - 108-for-128: 84.4% = 8th in AHL
HER - 139-for-164: 84.8% = 6th in AHL

Leading Scorers

LV: Jordan Weal (32GP, 11G-22A), T.J. Brennan (34GP, 11G-19A) and Chris Conner (34GP, 8G-18A)
HER: Travis Boyd (35GP, 10G-21A), Chris Bourque (35GP, 8G-22A) and Christian Thomas (32GP, 16G-9A)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

LV: Anthony Stolarz (9GP, 6-3-0, 2.35 GAA, .926 SV%, 1 SO)
HER: Vitek Vanecek (19GP, 9-5-5, 2.38 GAA, .912 SV%, 3 SO)

Season Series

Tonight marks the seventh of 12 regular season meetings between the Phantoms and Bears. Lehigh Valley is 3-3 against Hershey this season. Last time out - the day after Christmas - the Phantoms were a little sluggish in the first game back from the holiday break and dropped a 5-2 decision to the Bears on home ice.
Season Series Schedule

Sunday, October 30th: Lehigh Valley - 2 at Hershey - 3
Sunday, November 13th: Lehigh Valley - 3 at Hershey - 1
Friday, December 2nd: Hershey - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 3
Saturday, December 3rd: Lehigh Valley - 3 at Hershey - 2 (OT)
Friday, December 16th: Hershey - 2 at Lehigh Valley - 3 (SO)
Monday, December 26th: Hershey - 5 at Lehigh Valley - 2
Friday, January 13th: Hershey at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday, January 14th: Lehigh Valley at Hershey - 7:00 p.m. ET
Sunday, January 22nd: Lehigh Valley at Hershey - 5:00 p.m. ET
Friday, March 10th: Hershey at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET
Sunday, April 2nd: Lehigh Valley at Hershey - 5:00 p.m. ET
Wednesday, April 5th: Hershey at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes 

Anthony Stolarz will get the start in net tonight, confirmed by head coach Scott Gordon in last Sunday's post-game press conference. Alex Lyon is slated to get the start Saturday night in Hershey.

Mark Alt played in two of the team's three games last weekend and is expected to see his first back-to-back game action this weekend. Reece Willcox looks to be the odd man out on the back end.

It's been a rotating 13th forward for Lehigh Valley as of late. In last weekend's three-game set, Corban Knight (Friday), Radel Fazleev (Saturday) and Mark Zengerle (Sunday) each sat out one game as a healthy scratch. Tonight against Hershey, expect it to be Nicholas Aube-Kubel's turn. Call it a hunch.

Lineup decisions up front could become more difficult moving forward as the Flyers placed forward Boyd Gordon on waivers today. If he clears at noon tomorrow, he could be available for Saturday night's game in Hershey.

Expected Scratches: Nicholas Aube-Kubel (healthy) and Reece Willcox (healthy)

Expected Lines:

Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald (C)
Danick Martel - Jordan Weal - Corban Knight
Greg Carey - Andy Miele - Chris Conner
Cole Bardreau - Radel Fazleev - Mark Zengerle

T.J. Brennan - Robert Hagg
Will O'Neill - Mark Alt
Sam Morin - Travis Sanheim

Anthony Stolarz - Alex Lyon

Recent Transactions

1/6: ADD - D Mark Alt loaned from Philadelphia (NHL)
1/3: DEL - G Martin Ouellette returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
1/3: ADD - G Anthony Stolarz returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
1/2: DEL - D Max Lamarche returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
1/2: DEL - F Steven Swavely returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
1/1: ADD - F Taylor Leier returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL) 



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