The Lehigh Valley Phantoms return from the holiday break to take on the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins inside Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Friday, December 27, at 7:05 p.m.
Friday’s game will represent the seventh overall meeting between the two teams this season, in which the Phantoms hold a 3-2-0-1 record over their Atlantic Division rivals.
After splitting a pair of games against the Charlotte Checkers this past weekend, Lehigh Valley is just five points out of fourth place in the division, which is currently held by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. A win on Friday night would allow the Phantoms to gain valuable ground in the pursuit of cracking the top four and bring the team back over the .500 mark on the season.
An abundance of offense will most certainly play a key role in defining who wins Friday night’s contest as four of the six games already played between the two teams have been won by the team that scored four or more goals during the contest. With that in mind, when scoring four or more goals this season, the Phantoms are a perfect 6-0-0-0.
Just 3-6-1-0 in their past 10 games, the Penguins face off with the Phantoms for the first time this season without one of their leading scorers, Stefan Noesen. The 26-year-old forward was claimed off waivers by the San Jose Sharks on Thursday of last week. Noesen, who had 22 total points (14G-8A) on the season, was second on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton squad against Lehigh Valley, having netted four goals and tallying two assists for six points in six contests.
Additionally, the Penguins will also be without forwards Joseph Blandisi and Thomas Di Pauli as well as defenseman Kevin Czuczman as they were recalled to Pittsburgh earlier this morning. The three have produced a total of 24 points across a combined 54 games in the AHL this season.
Phantoms @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Phantoms Leading Scorers
- Greg Carey (28 GP, 9G-8A, 17 PTS)
- Cal O’Reilly (24 GP, 2G-13A, 15 PTS)
- Mikhail Vorobyev (19 GP, 5G-9A, 14 PTS)
- Andy Welinski (22 GP, 5G-8A, 13 PTS)
- Tyler Wotherspoon (27 GP, 2G-11A, 13 PTS)
Penguins Leading Scorers
- Andrew Agozzino (30 GP, 11G-14A, 25 PTS)
- Sam Miletic (30 GP, 6G-13A, 19 PTS)
- David Warsofsky (25 GP, 3G-14A, 17 PTS)
- Adam Johnson (16 GP, 3G-13A, 16 PTS)
- Kevin Roy (26 GP, 4G-10A, 14 PTS)
Phantoms Leading Goaltenders
- Alex Lyon (7-8-2)
17 GP, 2.49 GAA, .916 Save Percentage
- J-F Berube (5-5-3)
14 GP, 2.56 GAA, .907 Save Percentage
Penguins Leading Goaltenders
- Casey DeSmith (10-8-1)
20 GP, 2.82 GAA, .909 Save Percentage
- Dustin Tokarski (4-2-1)
8 GP, 1.24 GAA, .952 Save Percentage
- Emil Larmi (1-2-2)
5 GP, 4.43 GAA, .861 Save Percentage
Prior Meetings This Season
Oct. 11 — LV 4, WBS 1
Nov. 1 — WBS 4, LV 3 (SO)
Nov. 6 — LV 4, WBS 2
Nov. 16 — WBS 2, LV 1
Nov. 27 — WBS 6, LV 2
Nov. 29 — LV 6, WBS 5 (OT)
- Both forward Greg Carey (2G-4A) and defenseman T.J. Brennan (1G-5A) have six points in six games against the Penguins this season to share the team lead against the opposition.
- Scoring early could be a major key to victory for the Phantoms. The team is 7-2-0-1 when leading after the first period and 7-0-0-1 when leading after two periods of play.
- T.J. Brennan currently holds a plus-six rating, a team high, against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season through six contests.
- The Phantoms are 6-0-0-0 when scoring four or more goals during the contest this season.
- Defensemen Andy Welinski and Mark Friedman as well as forward Gerry Fitzgerald are tied at two for the most game-winning goals during the 2019-20 season.
- After scoring on Sunday against Charlotte, Greg Carey is just three goals away from having 100 goals scored as a member of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Hitting the 100-goal mark will also move him into a tie for third place in franchise history with Kirby Law.
Players to Watch
David Kase was returned to the Phantoms from his first NHL stint with the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday of last week. The 22-year-old native of Czech Republic netted his first NHL goal in just five contests and currently has three goals and three assists for six points with Lehigh Valley this season.
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The Road Ahead
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms return home for two games this weekend beginning with a Saturday matchup against the North Division’s Utica Comets at 7:05 p.m. Saturday’s game also features a 2020 Phantoms Player Calendar Giveaway, presented by Leader of the Pack, to the first 6,500 fans in attendance. Tickets are still available for both home contests this weekend, get yours online by clicking HERE.
Looking for a deal? Have a holly jolly time at the game with our Phantoms Phestive 5-Packs! Available for the December 28 and 29 home games inside of PPL Center, the packs include five tickets, five hot dogs and five sodas starting at just $69! Order yours today by clicking HERE.