Four Things To Watch In Game Four

Saturday, April 29, 2017
Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
HERSHEY - Wednesday night's overtime win in Game Three for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms extended the best-of-five series to tonight's Game Four (Hershey leads series 2-1).

Their backs are still against the wall - facing elimination again tonight at Giant Center when the puck drops at 7:00 ET. After three one-goal games opened the series, perhaps the Phantoms' first win of the series Wednesday night will be enough mentally for the team to continue to confidently press on and send the series back to Allentown for a winner-take-all Game 5 at PPL Center Sunday evening.

After the jump, a look at four things to keep an eye on in tonight's Game Four as well as the expected lineup for the Phantoms.

For full coverage of tonight's game, look no further than Highland Park Hockey. In-game updates on Twitter (@TonyAndrock) and great photos of tonight's action via Nina Weiss (@trancemoment) and Amanda Statland (@stat19).

Four Keys to Game Four

1. Home Ice Advantage?

While it has been a tightly played series in each of the three previous games, the home team has yet to win a game in the series entering tonight's Game Four. Will the trend continue?

2. Even Stephen(son)

The Hershey Bears received a boost when Washington re-assigned forward Chandler Stephenson prior to tonight's Game Four. A talented center that plays in all situations at the AHL-level, does Stephenson's addition tip the scales?

3.  Comeback Kids

It's been the Lehigh Valley Phantoms' bread and butter all season long - coming back and beating the odds even when the deficit seems insurmountable. In the league's 81-year history, the Phantoms are the 99th team in AHL postseason history that has began a five-game series trailing zero games to two. Only 11 teams have completed the comeback, and just three have done so after losing the first two games of the series on home ice. Can the Phantoms re-write history and become the fourth?

4. Big Mo'

A big part of a team's postseason run is being able to ride out the highs and lows game in and game out. While the difference in the first two games of the series was a bounce or two going the Bears' way, Wednesday night's Game 3 featured arguably the first bounce of the series to go Lehigh Valley's way - a center ice shot on net 37 seconds into the third period by Colin McDonald tied the game at 1-1 and was enough to force overtime.

Chris Conner's overtime goal, you could argue, came after a fortunate bounce when Andy Miele went down and blocked a Hershey Bears point shot. The puck went right to Conner, who was off to the races for the game-winner under two minutes into the extra session.

In a tight game, and series, sometimes all it takes is a team to grab momentum and never let go of it. Can Lehigh Valley ride the momentum from Wednesday night's win to send the series to a fifth and final game?

Roster Notes - Phantoms

Martin Ouellette is expected to get the start in net for Lehigh Valley in Game Four.

Mark Dekanich was recalled from Reading after their ECHL playoff run came to an end with a Game Six loss to Brampton. Dekanich will likely slot in as the team's backup goaltender, as Carter Hart was thrust into the backup role for Game 3 after Alex Lyon was ruled out for at least this first round series.

Other than the swap of backup goaltenders, not expecting any lineup changes elsewhere in the lineup.

The Flyers signed forward Mikhail Vorobyov to an entry-level contract earlier this week. While he's not expected to join the Phantoms on their 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs run, guest contributor Alexander Appleyard has all the details regarding the type of player Vorobyov is and what kind of role/impact he can have on the Phantoms in 2017-18.

Expected Scratches: Carter Hart (healthy), Alex Lyon (lower body), Anthony Stolarz (lower body - out for season), Philippe Myers (healthy), Will O'Neill (upper body since March 11th), Tyrell Goulbourne (healthy), Radel Fazleev (healthy), Connor Bunnaman (healthy), Boyd Gordon (knee injury since Feb. 8th), Mark Friedman (healthy) and Reece Willcox (healthy)

Expected Lines:

Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald
Greg Carey - Corban Knight - Mark Zengerle
Cole Bardreau - Andy Miele - Chris Conner
Danick Martel - Steven Swavely - Nicolas Aube-Kubel

T.J. Brennan - Robert Hagg
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Travis Sanheim - Max Lamarche

Martin Ouellette - Mark Dekanich


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