Game 53 Preview: Lehigh Valley at Springfield

Friday, February 24, 2017
Phantoms/Thunderbirds reacquaint themselves at the Mass Mutual Center tonight. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey.
First of Two Fridays in Springfield for Phantoms

Editor's Note: I'll have full coverage of this afternoon's Phantoms game against the Springfield Thunderbirds! The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. ET, but make sure you're following along on Twitter -> @TonyAndrock and 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 players.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (34-16-2) begin the first of consecutive Friday night matchups in Springfield tonight when they take on the Thunderbirds. A team that, at 20-23-9, is 21 points behind the Phantoms in 6th place in the Atlantic Division, but has also played Lehigh Valley tough despite the Phantoms' 3-0 record against Springfield this season.

After the jump, a full preview of everything you need to know in advance of tonight's game.

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Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook

By The Numbers

LV: 52 games played, 34-16-2-0 = 70 points
2nd Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 2-0-0-0
Last Ten Games: 5-5-0-0

SPR: 52 games played, 20-23-7-2 = 49 points
6th Place Atlantic  Division
Streak: 3-0-0-0
Last Ten Games: 4-5-1-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV - 57-for-257: 22.2% = 5th in AHL
SPR - 31-for-208: 14.9% = 24th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV - 169-for-204: 82.8% = 9th in AHL
SPR - 186-for-226: 82.3% = 13th in AHL

Leading Scorers

LV:  Chris Conner (52GP, 16G-26A), T.J. Brennan (52GP, 17G-26A), Greg Carey (52GP, 23G-14A) and Andy Miele (41GP, 6G-31A)

SPR: Chase Balisy (52GP, 9G-18A), Mackenzie Weegar (49GP, 12G-14A), Sena Acolatse (51GP, 6G-15A) and Paul Thompson (27GP, 8G-11A)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

LV: Alex Lyon (32GP, 20-10-2, 2.64 GAA, .910 SV%, 3 SO)
SPR: Reto Berra (25GP, 11-13-2, 2.44 GAA, .911 SV%, 3 SO)

Season Series

This is the fourth of six meetings between the Phantoms and Thunderbirds this season. Lehigh Valley is 3-0 against Springfield this season, but each of the two previous meetings the Phantoms needed a third period comeback to get the two points.

Season Series Schedule

Saturday, October 15th: Springfield - 2 at Lehigh Valley - 4
Saturday, Novermber 5th: Springfield - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 5
Friday, February 24th: Lehigh Valley at Springfield - 7:05 p.m. ET
Friday, March 3rd: Lehigh Valley at Springfield - 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday, April 8th: Springfield at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes

I'd expect Alex Lyon will get the start in net tonight in Springfield, allowing Anthony Stolarz a chance at redemption against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on home ice Saturday night.

Steven Swavely blocked a shot during the third period last Sunday in Utica, and left the game. It's safe to say Swavely will likely miss several weeks as he was seen at Thursday's practice with his left hand/wrist in a cast.

Mark Alt, who left Sunday's game very early and didn't return according to teammates, was a full participant in Thursday's practice and appears ready to go this weekend.

Taylor Leier (concussion) will miss his 10th straight game, having not played since the AHL All-Star challenge on January 30th. Leier skated briefly with the team at practice Thursday at PPL Center, but was the only skater wearing a green jersey and he exited the ice about 15-20 minutes after I arrived for the 10:30 practice. There are no updates being given on Leier's status or a timetable for his return from Phantoms' head coach Scott Gordon.

Boyd Gordon, who left in the Wednesday home game against Binghamton after a sliding BSens' forward crunched into his legs in the corner boards, is expected to miss a few weeks with a knee injury.

Expected Scratches: Steven Swavely (upper body), Taylor Leier (concussion symptoms), Boyd Gordon (lower body) and Reece Willcox (healthy)

Expected Lines:

Mark Zengerle - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald
Danick Martel - Corban Knight - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Greg Carey - Andy Miele - Chris Conner
Radel Fazleev - Chris McCarthy - Cole Bardreau

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

Alex Lyon - Anthony Stolarz

Recent Transactions

2/13: ADD - D Reece Willcox reassigned by Philadelphia (NHL) from Reading (ECHL)
2/12: DEL - D Reece Willcox reassigned by Philadelphia (NHL) to Reading (ECHL)
2/11: ADD - F Steven Swavely recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/10: ADD - F Chris McCarthy recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/10: DEL - F Jordan Weal recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)


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