|Lehigh Valley and Hershey meet in the opening round of 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs. Photo: Amanda Statland/Highland Park Hockey|
Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook
While the Lehigh Valley Phantoms were wrapping up their regular season with a Saturday night contest in Binghamton, the Providence Bruins and Hershey Bears were playing at Giant Center with the end result of that tilt finalizing the first round playoff matchups in the Atlantic Division.
With the Hershey Bears defeating Providence, the Phantoms will take on their bitter in-state rival in the first round of the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs beginning with Games 1 and 2 at the PPL Center in downtown Allentown, Pa on Friday, April 21st and Saturday April 22nd. Both games start at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Below is a full schedule of the Phantoms/Bears playoff series. All games in the best-of-five series have a scheduled start time of 7:05 p.m. ET unless otherwise noted:
Game 1: Friday April 21st - Hershey at Lehigh Valley
Game 2: Saturday, April 22nd - Hershey at Lehigh Valley
Game 3: Wednesday, April 26th - Lehigh Valley at Hershey (7:00 p.m. ET)
Game 4: Saturday, April 29th - Lehigh Valley at Hershey * (7:00 p.m. ET)
Game 5: Sunday, April 30th: Hershey at Lehigh Valley* (5:05 p.m. ET)
* = if necessaryStay tuned to Highland Park Hockey all week long for tons of bonus Phantoms playoff coverage leading up to our regular game coverage starting with Game 1 next Friday night at the PPL Center.
Make sure you're following along on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to keep the latest Phantoms news, notes, info & more at the ready.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms were 7-4-1 in the 12-game regular season series with Hershey, but the Bears are a much different team now then they were early on in the season. The biggest difference is in net, as the Bears' NHL affiliate Washington Captials acquired goaltender Pheonix Copley at the trade deadline - immediately boosting the Bears in what was clearly becoming a position of weakness.
The Bears also began to get healthy in the final weeks of the season as highly-touted prospect defenseman Madison Bowey returned from a lengthy injury absence and forward Dustin Gazley returned after missing almost the entire season with a broken foot suffered back in October.