Game 69 Preview: Lehigh Valley at W-B/Scranton

Saturday, April 1, 2017
Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Editor's Note - I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins live from the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
    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.

WILKES-BARRE - Both the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins enter tonight's game at the Mohegan Sun Arena coming off of disappointing regulation losses Friday night.

The Phantoms were also further depleted by a pair of call ups in the past 24 hours as captain Colin McDonald and goaltender Anthony Stolarz were recalled by Philadelphia.

Both teams need a response tonight after lackluster performances to end the month of March. So, who kicks off April with a win?

Phantoms' Playoff Update - The Phantoms' loss combined with the Sound Tigers' win prevents the Phantoms' magic number from getting any lower after Friday's games.

Luckily for Lehigh Valley, the first place Penguins lost in regulation in Springfield and  Hershey fell in Hartford - keeping the Phantoms within striking distance of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton heading into tomorrow night's matchup. Providence's win Friday night moves them into third place in the division entering Saturday's schedule.

Atlantic Division Standings through 3/31's games:
WBS (95 points, 8 games remaining) 
LV (90, 8 GR) 
PRO (89, 8 GR) 
HER (87, 7GR)
BST (86, 7GR)
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms' magic number to clinch a berth in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs is currently at 11 points. You can also keep track of the playoff races in the AHL's daily Playoff Primer.

By The Numbers

LV: 68 games played, 43-21-4-0 = 90 points
2nd Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 0-1-0-0
Last Ten Games: 6-3-1-0

WBS: 68 games played, 46-19-3-0 = 95 points
1st Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 0-1-0-0
Last Ten Games: 7-3-0-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV - 70-for-332: 21.1% = 6th in AHL
WBS - 50-for-285: 17.5% = 14th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV - 214-for-258: 82.9% = 11th in AHL
WBS - 253-for-290: 87.2% = 1st in AHL

Leading Scorers

LV:  T.J. Brennan (68GP, 20G-35A), Andy Miele (57GP, 10G-41A), Chris Conner (63GP, 19G-31A) and Danick Martel (60GP, 19G-19A)

WBS: Tom Kostopoulos (68GP, 24G-27A), David Warsofsky (51GP, 15G-29A), Kevin Porter (64GP, 11G-34A) and Dominik Simon (65GP, 14G-29A)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

LV: Alex Lyon (41GP, 24-13-4, 2.72 GAA, .910 SV%, 4 SO)
WBS: Tristan Jarry (43GP, 27-15-1, 2.21 GAA, .924 SV%, 2 SO)

Season Series

Tonight marks the ninth of 12 meetings between the Phantoms and Penguins this season. Lehigh Valley is 4-4-1 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.

The Phantoms opened up edge in the season series with a pair of home wins in gritty, physical affairs between bitter rivals but the Penguins dominated the Phantoms in Wilkes-Barre in the next two meetings, in 7-1 and 5-1 wins.

The most recent meetings have been closer as February 25th's game at PPL Center was a nail biter, as the Penguins won in overtime in Lehigh Valley. On last Wednesday March 8th, the Phantoms went into Wilkes-Barre and shut out the Penguins 3-0 in the Penguins' first home game after a disappointing road trip.

The previous meetings were in a home and home series on St. Patrick's Day weekend. Friday night in Allentown, a strong second period by the Penguins combined with a "letdown" second period for Lehigh Valley resulted in a 4-1 Penguins win. But Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, it was the Phantoms holding on for a 3-2 win after a pair of goals seconds apart broke the game open.

The most recent meeting was a Penguins' 4-0 shutout win in Allentown over Lehigh Valley.

Season Series Schedule 

Wednesday, November 16th: W-B/Scranton -1 at Lehigh Valley - 4
Friday, January 20th: W-B/Scranton - 3 at Lehigh Valley - 5
Saturday, February 4th: Lehigh Valley - 1 at W-B/Scranton - 7
Tuesday, February 14th: Lehigh Valley - 1 at W-B/Scranton - 5
Saturday, February 25th: W-B/Scranton - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 3 (OT)
Wednesday, March 8th: Lehigh Valley at - 3 W-B/Scranton - 0
Friday, March 17th: W-B/Scranton - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 1
Saturday, March 18th: Lehigh Valley - 3 at W-B/Scranton - 2
Saturday, March 25th: W-B/Scranton - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 0
Saturday, April 1st: Lehigh Valley at W-B/Scranton - 7:05 p.m. ET
Friday, April 7th: W-B/Scranton at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET
Wednesday, April 12th: Lehigh Valley at W-B/Scranton - 7:05 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes

Alex Lyon will get the start in net tonight for Lehigh Valley against the Penguins in Wilkes-Barre, as Anthony Stolarz was called up to Philadelphia on an emergency basis due to Steve Mason's illness.

Martin Ouellette was called up from the Flyers' ECHL affiliate in Reading to back up Lyon.

Captain Colin McDonald was recalled by Philadelphia after Friday night's loss to Bridgeport.

Chris Conner (upper body) returned after a five-game injury absence in Friday's game.

Reece Willcox was reassigned to ECHL Reading prior to Friday's game. With the Royals at home this weekend and within driving distance, best to allow Willcox to play rather than sit out of the AHL lineup.

The latest breaking injury news comes in the form of an update to defenseman Will O'Neill's injury he sustained early in the 1st period of Saturday's 4-1 win against Utica on March 11th. O'Neill was seen sporting a cast on his left wrist at the team's annual team photo day earlier this week - a sign he's going to be out longer term. Let's put him in the four-to-six week range, meaning he can hopefully get healthy for the postseason.

Greg Carey left the game early in the third period last Saturday night against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after an awkward collision with a teammate. Carey did not return and head coach Scott Gordon didn't have an update on his status moving into today's game.

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. He participated in his first on-ice practice with the Phantoms Friday in Whitehall.

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 a recent Phantoms game in Allentown walking with a knee brace over his suit pants. His season and a potential return to the lineup remain in the balance.

Expected Scratches: Will O'Neill (upper body), Greg Carey (undisclosed), Boyd Gordon (lower body) and Mark Friedman (healthy)

Expected Lines

Greg Carey - Scott Laughton - Chris Conner
Taylor Leier (A) - Corban Knight - Cole Bardreau
Danick Martel - Andy Miele - Mark Zengerle
Tyrell Goulbourne - Radel Fazleev - Chris McCarthy

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

Alex Lyon - Martin Ouellette

Recent Transactions

4/1: ADD - G Martin Ouellette recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
4/1: DEL - G Anthony Stolarz recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
3/31: ADD - D Mark Friedman signed to amateur tryout (ATO)
3/31: DEL - D Reece Willcox returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/24: DEL - D Jesper Pettersson returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/21: DEL - RW Steven Swavely returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/13: ADD - D Jesper Pettersson recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/13: ADD - D Max Lamarche recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/4: ADD - LW Tyrell Goulbourne recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)


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