Game 73 Preview: Springfield at Lehigh Valley

Saturday, April 8, 2017
Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey 
Phantoms Aim To Earn Postseason Bid

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

Editor's Note - Full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the Springfield Thunderbirds, live from the PPL Center in downtown Allentown, 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.
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.

ALLENTOWN - Just 24 hours after being shutout by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on home ice, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms enter Saturday's game against Springfield in the same situation they were in before Friday night's game against the Penguins.
A Phantoms' win combined with a Hershey regulation loss in Toronto will guarantee Lehigh Valley a spot in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.
The past three meetings against the Penguins haven't gone well to say the least, but the Phantoms need to be dialed in from the opening face-off to avoid a slip up against Springfield - eliminated from postseason contention - and put themselves in a more precarious situation heading into the final week of the regular season.

Phantoms' Playoff Update - Atlantic Division Standings through 4/7's games:
X - WBS (100 points, 5 games remaining) 
PRO (93, 5GR) 
LV (93, 4GR) 
BST (90, 4GR) 
HER (91, 3GR)
SPR (69, 4GR)
HFD (54, 5GR) 
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms' magic number to clinch a berth in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs is currently at 5 points. They can clinch a playoff spot tonight with:
A Lehigh Valley Phantoms win AND a Hershey Bears regulation loss vs. Toronto.
You can keep track of the playoff races in the AHL's daily Playoff Primer.

By The Numbers

LV: 72 games played, 44-23-5-0 = 93 points
3rd Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 0-1-1-0
Last Ten Games: 5-4-1-0

SPR: 72 games played, 29-32-9-2 = 69 points
6th Place Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 0-2-0-0
Last Ten Games: 3-6-1-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV - 71-for-339: 20.9% = 6th in AHL
SPR - 38-for-269: 14.1% = 29th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV - 223-for-267: 83.5% = 7th in AHL
SPR - 249-for-302: 82.5% = 11th in AHL

Leading Scorers

LV:  T.J. Brennan (72GP, 20G-35A), Chris Conner (67GP, 22G-32A), Andy Miele (61GP, 10G-42A), and Greg Carey (70GP, 27G-22A)

SPR: Chase Balisy (72GP, 15G-27A), Paul Thompson 47GP, 16G-18A), Anthony Greco (70GP, 14G-15A) and Dryden Hunt (66GP, 12G-16A)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

LV: Alex Lyon (44GP, 25-14-5, 2.73 GAA, .911 SV%, 4 SO)
SPR: Adam Wilcox (43GP, 22-12-5, 2.69 GAA, .903 SV%, 3 SO)

Season Series

This is the sixth and final meeting between the Phantoms and Thunderbirds this season. Lehigh Valley is 4-1 against Springfield this season, but the Thunderbirds have played the top teams in the Atlantic Division tightly - defeating Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last weekend.

Season Series Schedule

Saturday, October 15th: Springfield - 2 at Lehigh Valley - 4
Saturday, Novermber 5th: Springfield - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 5
Monday, January 16th: Lehigh Valley - 6 at Springfield - 4
Friday, February 24th: Lehigh Valley - 3 at Springfield - 5
Saturday, April 8th: Springfield at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes

Anthony Stolarz, reassigned to Lehigh Valley by Philadelphia prior to tonight's game, will get the start in net tonight for Lehigh Valley against the Penguins. Alex Lyon will back up Stolarz. There hasn't been an official roster move regarding Martin Ouellette back to ECHL Reading which likely reaffirms the notion that Stolarz will be heading back to Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Flyers assigned defenseman Sam Morin and forward Colin McDonald to Lehigh Valley earlier today prior to tonight's game. Morin made his NHL debut Tuesday night against New Jersey - leading the way with a game-high seven hits and playing a relatively quiet game and being sound defensively.

Reece Willcox was reassigned to ECHL Reading prior to last weekend's games, but was returned to Lehigh Valley earlier this week prior to Sam Morin's first NHL call up Tuesday.

Will O'Neill was seen sporting a cast on his left wrist at the team's annual team photo day last week - a sign he's going to be out longer term. Let's put him in the four-to-six week range from when he sustained injury on March 11th, 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, joined the Phantoms on a tryout contract for the remainder of the season. He participated in his first ever AHL warmup skate last Saturday in Wilkes-Barre.

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), Radel Fazleev, Max Lamarche (healthy), Chris McCarthy (healthy), Boyd Gordon (lower body) and Mark Friedman (healthy)

Expected Lines:

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

T.J. Brennan - Reece Willcox
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Robert Hagg - Travis Sanheim

Alex Lyon - Martin Ouellette

Recent Transactions

4/8: DEL - G Anthony Stolarz recalled from loan by Philadelphia
4/7: ADD - G Anthony Stolarz returned on loan from Philadelphia
4/5: ADD - RW Colin McDonald returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
4/5: ADD - D Sam Morin returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
4/4: DEL - D Sam Morin recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
4/3: ADD - D Reece Willcox reassigned from Reading (ECHL) to Lehigh Valley (AHL)
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)


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