Game 55 Preview: Lehigh Valley at Springfield

Friday, March 3, 2017
Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms begin three-game weekend road trip in Springfield

Editor's Note - I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the Springfield, live from the Highland Park Hockey HQ!
  • The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. ET, but make sure you're following along on Twitter -> @TonyAndrock and Facebook (like the Facebook page!) for all the latest updates and information.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (34-17-3) begin a tough three-game road trip this weekend in Springfield against a new-look Thunderbirds team that has seen several roster changes in the last week.

Gone are veteran goaltenders Mike McKenna (traded to the Tampa Bay organization) and Reto Berra (called up to Florida) as well as defenseman Dylan McIlrath (traded to Detroit organization) and forwards Shane Harper (traded to New Jersey organization) and Denis Malgin (called up to Florida).

Former Syracuse Crunch goaltender Adam Wilcox is now the Thunderbirds' starting goaltender, and newcomer Reece Scarlett - a former Albany Devils defenseman - will also make his Springfield debut tonight against Lehigh Valley.

Phantoms' Playoff Update - An idle week has allowed Bridgeport, who won on Thursday, to essentially pass the Phantoms in the Atlantic Division - leaving the Phantoms in the fourth and final playoff spot entering the weekend trailing the Sound Tigers by one point with one game in hand (Since the standings are ranked by points percentage, the Phantoms are technically in third place with a .657 PCT while Bridgeport has a .655 PCT). The fifth place Hershey Bears are four points behind the Phantoms with two more games played, but their NHL affiliate Washington made several key moves beneficial to the Bears and they should not be taken lightly down the stretch.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms' magic number to clinch a berth in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs is currently at 37 points. You can also keep track of the playoff races in the AHL's daily Playoff Primer.

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

To help keep Highland Park Hockey provide THE BEST PHANTOMS COVERAGE, make a donation today via GoFundMe or PayPal!

Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook

By The Numbers

LV: 54 games played, 34-17-3-0 = 71 points
4th Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 0-1-1-0
Last Ten Games: 4-5-1-0

SPR: 56 games played, 22-24-8-2 = 54 points
6th Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 0-1-1-0
Last Ten Games: 5-4-1-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV - 61-for-265: 23.0% = 5th in AHL
SPR - 32-for-217: 14.7% = 27th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV - 175-for-210: 83.3% = 8th in AHL
SPR - 199-for-243: 81.9% = 14th in AHL

Leading Scorers

LV:  T.J. Brennan (55GP, 17G-28A), Chris Conner (55GP, 17G-27A), Greg Carey (55GP, 25G-15A) and Andy Miele (43GP, 6G-34A)

SPR: Chase Balisy (56GP, 11G-18A), Mackenzie Weegar (46GP, 12G-26A), Paul Thompson (31GP, 10G-13A) and Sena Acolatse (55GP, 6G-15A)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

LV: Anthony Stolarz (19GP, 12-7-0, 2.91 GAA, .907 SV%, 1 SO)
SPR: Adam Wilcox (34GP, 18-9-4, 2.87 GAA, .895 SV%, 1 SO)

Season Series

This is the fifth of six meetings between the Phantoms and Thunderbirds this season. Lehigh Valley is 3-1 against Springfield this season, but the Thunderbirds won the most recent meeting last Friday in Springfield. Also, each of the two previous Phantoms' wins required 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
Monday, January 16th: Lehigh Valley - 6 at Springfield - 4
Friday, February 24th: Lehigh Valley - 3 at Springfield - 5
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

Anthony Stolarz was reported to have been the first goalie off at the team's morning skate in Springfield, so he's expected to get the start in net tonight - setting up what looks like Alex Lyon in net Saturday in Hartford and Stolarz going back between the pipes Sunday in Providence.

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

Taylor Leier (concussion) will miss his 12th straight game, having not played since the AHL All-Star challenge on January 30th. Leier skated briefly with the team at practice last 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 a Wednesday home game against Binghamton on [date] 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), Boyd Gordon (lower body) and Reece Willcox (healthy)

Expected Lines:

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

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

Alex Lyon - Anthony Stolarz

Recent Transactions

3/1: DEL - F Jordan Weal recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
3/1: ADD - F Jordan Weal returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
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)


Post a Comment