Game 70 Preview: Lehigh Valley at Hershey

Sunday, April 2, 2017
Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Editor's Note - I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the Hershey Bears live from Highland Park Hockey HQ!
    The puck drops at 5:00 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.

The Phantoms' loss Saturday combined with the Sound Tigers' win has both Lehigh Valley and Hershey entering the third game of a three-game weekend with two losses in the first two games.

Lehigh Valley has been unable to match their opposition's desperation, effort and intensity so far this weekend and will need to dig deep and find a way to salvage standings points out of the situation.

With Hershey sliding into fifth place and on the outside looking in on the Atlantic Division playoff picture, they're sure to be a hungry and desperate team in front of their home fans at Giant Center on a Sunday evening.

A Phantoms' regulation win tonight would not only help turn the tides of recent lackluster performances, but will drop their all important magic number to clinch a spot in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs down to just six points with six games and two weeks left in the regular season.

Phantoms' Playoff Update - Atlantic Division Standings through 4/1's games:
WBS (97 points, 7 games remaining) 
LV (90, 7 GR) 
PRO (89, 7 GR)
BST (88, 6GR) 
HER (87, 6GR)
SPR (69, 6GR)
HFD (52, 7GR) 
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms' magic number to clinch a berth in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs is currently at 10 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: 0-2-0-0
Last Ten Games: 5-4-1-0

HER: 70 games played, 38-21-8-3 = 87 points
5th Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 0-2-0-0
Last Ten Games: 7-3-0-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV - 70-for-334: 21.0% = 6th in AHL
HER - 64-for-302: 21.2% = 5th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV - 217-for-261: 83.1% = 8th in AHL
HER - 249-for-304: 81.9% = 16th in AHL

Leading Scorers

LV:  T.J. Brennan (69GP, 20G-35A), Andy Miele (58GP, 10G-41A), Chris Conner (64GP, 19G-31A) and Greg Carey (67GP, 26G-21A)

HER: Chris Bourque (70GP, 18G-40A), Travis Boyd (70GP, 15G-44A), Christian Djoos (61GP, 12G-43A) and Christian Thomas (64GP, 24G-23A)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

LV: Alex Lyon (42GP, 24-14-4, 2.74 GAA, .911 SV%, 4 SO)
HER: Pheonix Copley (36GP, 22-10-3, 2.29 GAA, .923 SV%, 1 SO)

Season Series

Tonight marks the 11th of 12 regular season meetings between the Phantoms and Bears. Lehigh Valley is 6-4 against Hershey this season, coming off a 3-2 regulation win on home ice back on March 10th.

Season Series Schedule

Sunday, October 30th: Lehigh Valley - 2 at Hershey - 3
Sunday, November 13th: Lehigh Valley - 3 at Hershey - 1
Friday, December 2nd: Hershey - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 3
Saturday, December 3rd: Lehigh Valley - 3 at Hershey - 2 (OT)
Friday, December 16th: Hershey - 2 at Lehigh Valley - 3 (SO)
Monday, December 26th: Hershey - 5 at Lehigh Valley - 2
Friday, January 13th: Hershey - 2 at Lehigh Valley - 6
Saturday, January 14th: Lehigh Valley - 4 at Hershey - 6
Sunday, January 22nd: Lehigh Valley - 5 at Hershey - 1
Friday, March 10th: Hershey - 2 at Lehigh Valley - 3
Sunday, April 2nd: Lehigh Valley at Hershey - 5:00 p.m. ET
Wednesday, April 5th: Hershey at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes

Alex Lyon will get the start in net tonight for Lehigh Valley against the Bears in Hershey.

Anthony Stolarz was called up to Philadelphia on an emergency basis due to Steve Mason's illness, leaving Wilkes-Barre Saturday around 5 p.m. ET and making to Philadelphia just about when the puck was dropped. He was later thrust into game action after Flyers' goaltender Michal Neuvirth collapsed in the first period.

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. At the latest, McDonald (likely along with Jordan Weal) will be assigned to Lehigh Valley upon the completion of the Flyers' season.

Chris Conner (upper body) returned after a five-game injury absence in Friday's game. Greg Carey returned Saturday in Wilkes-Barre after a two-game injury absence.

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  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.

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), Boyd Gordon (lower body) and two healthy scratches TBD (Mark Friedman, Max Lamarche, Chris McCarthy, Tyrell Goulbourne, Nicolas Aube-Kubel all options).

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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