Game 65 Preview: Lehigh Valley at St. John's

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Photo courtesy Scott Walsh (@scottwalsh_)
Editor's Note - I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the St. John's IceCaps, live from Highland Park Hockey HQ!
The puck drops at 6:00 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. 
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 (41-19-4) are in Newfoundland, Canada for a pair of games in St. John's against the IceCaps this week and will look for the clean sweep after last night's improbable comeback from a 4-0 deficit.

St. John's is still playing good hockey, and was largely noticeable in the opening 40 minutes of Tuesday night's game against the Phantoms as well. In the heat of the North Division's playoff race clinging on to the fourth and final playoff position, The IceCaps won't be an easy out heading down the stretch.

For Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms are looking to continue to chip away at their magic number to clinch the franchise's first Calder Cup Playoffs berth - down to 18 points with 12 games left entering Tuesday's game with the IceCaps.

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

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Phantoms' Playoffs Update 

The Phantoms enter Tuesday's game three points behind the first place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Behind the Penguins and Phantoms are three teams fighting for a playoff spot as Hershey, Providence and Bridgeport sit second, third and fourth, respectively.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms' magic number to clinch a berth in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs is currently at 18 points. You can also keep track of the playoff races in the AHL's daily Playoff Primer.

By The Numbers

LV: 64 games played, 41-19-4-0 = 86 points
2nd Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 2-0-0-0
Last Ten Games: 7-2-1-0

STJ: 65 games played, 31-26-7-1 = 70 points
4th Place North Division
Streak: 4-0-1-0
Last Ten Games: 7-2-1-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV - 69-for-310: 22.3% = T-5th in AHL
STJ - 44-for-249: 17.7% = 15th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV - 203-for-242: 83.7% = 8th in AHL
STJ - 216-for-273: 79.1% = 27th in AHL

Leading Scorers

LV:  T.J. Brennan (64GP, 20G-33A), Greg Carey (64GP, 26G-20A) and Andy Miele (53GP, 8G-39A) and Colin McDonald (63GP, 22G-18A)

STJ: Chris Terry (47GP, 24G-30A), Charles Hudon (45GP, 23G-16A), Nikita Scherbak (56GP, 13G-23A) and Max Friberg (60GP, 10G-17A)

Starting Goaltenders

LV: Alex Lyon (40GP, 24-12-4, 2.69 GAA, .911 SV%, 4 SO)

STJ: Yann Danis (20GP, 10-6-3, 2.94 GAA, .905 SV%, 1 SO)

Season Series

Tonight marks the fourth and final regular season meeting between the Phantoms and IceCaps this season. The two teams played a pair of games in Lehigh Valley back in February - with the Phantoms stealing two points in a come-from-behind win the first matchup and St. John's holding on for a 4-3 regulation win over the Phantoms.

Last night in St. John's, the Phantoms rallied from a 4-0 deficit late in the second period to win 5-4 in overtime.

After tonight's meeting, the Phantoms and IceCaps will be completed with their regular season series.

Season Series Schedule

Friday, February 10th: St. John's - 2 at Lehigh Valley - 4
Saturday, February 11th: St. John's - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 3
Wednesday, March 22nd: Lehigh Valley at St. John's - 6:00 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes

Alex Lyon should slot back between the pipes for Lehigh Valley tonight in St. John's. Regardless, with two more games this weekend in back-to-back home clashes with

The Philadelphia Flyers signed their 2014-3rd round draft pick, defenseman Mark Friedman, to an entry level contract beginning in the 2017-18 season. The former Bowling Green State Univeristy product, who tallied 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) in 40 games this season in the WCHA, will join the Phantoms this weekend on a tryout contract for the remainder of the season.

Taylor Leier returned to the lineup Saturday in Wilkes-Barre after missing the previous 19 games with lingering symptoms of a concussion he suffered back in late January.

The latest casualty to the injury bug is Chris Conner, who did not travel with the team and missed the game with an injury per head coach Scott Gordon. As per usual, no further details were provided on Conner's status moving forward.

Defenseman Will O'Neill left early in the 1st period of Saturday's 4-1 win against Utica after an apparent upper body injury he sustained jamming his left hand/wrist after a fall into the boards.

Robert Hagg and Steven Swavely are also nearing returns to the lineup. Hagg's injury was not as serious as initially feared, which is good news for the Phantoms with O'Neill out with an injury currently. Swavely was reassigned to ECHL Reading on Tuesday per the league's transactions, and it appears he'll be getting back into action soon.

Boyd Gordon, who left in a Wednesday home game against Binghamton after a sliding BSens' forward crunched into his legs in the corner boards, was initially expected to miss a few weeks with a knee injury. He was seen at Friday night's game in Allentown walking with a knee brace over his suit pants.

Expected Scratches: Robert Hagg (lower body), Mark Zengerle (healthy), Will O'Neill (upper body), Boyd Gordon (lower body), Jesper Pettersson (healthy) and Mark Friedman (recently added on tryout contract)

Expected Lines:

Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald
Greg Carey - Andy Miele - Cole Bardreau
Danick Martel - Corban Knight - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Tyrell Goulbourne - Radel Fazleev - Chris McCarthy

T.J. Brennan - Reece Willcox
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Travis Sanheim - Max Lamarche

Alex Lyon - Anthony Stolarz

Recent Transactions

3/21: DEL - F Steven Swavely returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/13: ADD - D Max Lamarche recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/13: ADD - D Jesper Pettersson recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/4: ADD - F Tyrell Goulbourne recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
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)

Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook


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