December 28, 2015
Tuesday, December 29 (7:05 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Binghamton Senators
Thursday, December 31 (5:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Hershey Bears
Saturday, January 2 (7:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Portland Pirates
Sunday, January 3 (4:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Portland Pirates
Fresh off six home games over the last three weeks, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (15-16-1-0, 31 pts., 5th Atlantic Division) hit the road for four contests this week.
Lehigh Valley’s busy week begins on Tuesday, December 29 when the Phantoms invade the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton for a 7:05 p.m. showdown with the Senators. Binghamton (9-17-2-0, 20 pts.) enters the week in the midst of a three-game winning streak following a pair of victories coming out of the holiday break. First, the Senators earned a 4-2 win at home over the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday before dropping the Hershey Bears 5-3 at Giant Center on Sunday. Despite the three consecutive triumphs, Binghamton is still seventh among the seven teams in the North Division and enters the week with the lowest points percentage in the Eastern Conference.
Tuesday’s contest will mark the third of eight total meetings during the 2015-2016 regular season between the Phantoms and Senators. Lehigh Valley is 1-2 overall against Binghamton and is 1-1 in games played at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena after a 6-3 victory on November 11 followed by a 2-1 setback on December 19.
The Phantoms then close 2015 with a 5:00 p.m. rivalry showdown at the Hershey Bears on New Year’s Eve. Hershey (16-9-1-5, 38 pts.) split a pair of games out of the holiday break as the Bears captured a 5-0 shutout win at home over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday before falling in a 5-3 decision to Binghamton on Sunday. Hershey enters the week having won six of its last 10 games overall and is now second among the eight teams in the Atlantic Division.
Thursday’s game marks the seventh of 12 total meetings this year between the Phantoms and Bears. Lehigh Valley is 4-2 overall against Hershey this season and has won back-to-back games against its in-state rival following 3-2 and 6-4 victories at PPL Center on December 9 and 18. The Phantoms are 1-1 in games played at Giant Center this season after a dramatic 5-4 shootout triumph on November 1 followed by a 2-1 regulation setback on December 5.
Lehigh Valley then kicks off 2016 with a weekend series at the Portland Pirates. Portland (16-11-1-0, 33 pts.) claimed its only game coming out of the AHL’s holiday break with a 5-1 win at the Springfield Falcons on Sunday. With Sunday’s victory, the Pirates enter the week fourth in the Atlantic Division and have now six straight games. During Portland’s recent surge, the Pirates have outscored their opposition 22-8 and have earned six consecutive victories against Atlantic Division foes.
Saturday and Sunday’s showdowns will mark the first two of four total meetings during the 2015-16 season between Lehigh Valley and Portland. The Pirates are scheduled to invade PPL Center in Allentown on Friday, February 12 and Sunday, March 20.
- Phantoms By The Numbers
- Center Nick Cousins enters the week first among all Phantoms and tied for sixth among all AHL skaters in total scoring with 27 points (8 goals, 19 assists). The 22-year-old center from Belleville, Ontario has managed at least one point in 16 of 24 games this season and has produced eight multi-point outings.
- Forward Petr Straka enters the week first among all AHLers with 16 goals this season. One of just three Phantoms to have appeared in all 32 games this year, Straka is also second among all Lehigh Valley skaters in total scoring with 23 points (16 goals, 7 assists).
- Defenseman Andrew MacDonald is currently first among all Lehigh Valley blueliners and tied for seventh among all AHL defenders in total scoring with 20 points (4 goals, 16 assists). The 29-year-old defenseman has been particularly hot in December having produced 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in just nine December outings.
- In two starts last weekend, Anthony Stolarz and Jason LaBarbera combined to go 1-1 with a 1.00 goals-against average coupled with a .969 save percentage.
- The Phantoms penalty kill has been razor sharp in recent weeks. Lehigh Valley has surrendered just one power play goal over the last six games going an impressive 23-for-24 (95.8 percent) during that stretch.
Saturday, December 26: Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 1
Robert Hagg scored his first goal of the season and Anthony Stolarz recorded 27 saves but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers were able to hang on for a 2-1 win over the Phantoms in front of 8,886 fans at PPL Center. Aaron Palushaj and Samuel Morin assisted on Hagg’s conversion while Stolarz registered his 11th game this season with at least 27 saves. The standing room-only sellout marked Lehigh Valley’s sixth capacity crowd this season and the team’s 28th regular season sellout since the doors to PPL Center opened last Fall.
Taylor Beck and Joe Whitney scored for visiting Bridgeport while Christopher Gibson earned the win between the pipes for the Sound Tigers with 21 saves on 22 Phantoms shots.
Sunday, December 27: Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3 – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 0
Jason LaBarbera notched the team’s first shutout of the season and the third in Lehigh Valley Phantoms history with a 35-save performance in a 3-0 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Colin McDonald and Andrew MacDonald both scored for the Phantoms while Petr Straka netted his league-leading 16th goal of the season in the triumph.
Lehigh Valley’s special teams were an integral part of the victory as the power play produced one conversion in two opportunities while the penalty kill kept Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s man advantage off the board in four chances.
Service Electric’s TV2 Sports will be broadcasting live all of the Phantoms’ 21 remaining regular season home games. If you can’t make it out to the rink, be sure to catch all the exciting action live in HD quality with Steve Degler, Peter Zingoni, Doug Heater and Kristi Fulkerson! Pre-game coverage begins with “Phantoms Front and Center” 30 minutes before puck drop. And don’t miss “Phantoms – Breaking the Ice” every Monday from 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. throughout the season live at Chickie’s & Pete’s at PPL Center!
Be sure to also catch each and every Phantoms game this season live on Fox Sports 1470 AM, online at Fox1470.com or via the iHeartRadio app! Join Voice of the Phantoms, Bob Rotruck, for all of the heart-pumping action of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey whether the team is at home or on the road. “Countdown to Faceoff” begins 45 minutes prior to puck drop.
Tickets for all of the Phantoms’ 21 remaining regular season home games are available now online at pplcenter.com, by calling 610-347-TIXX  or in-person at the Mealey’s Furniture Box Office at PPL Center (7th & Hamilton).
RISE UP! Don’t miss the action and fun of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey at PPL Center in downtown Allentown! Contact the Phantoms Front Office for information on season tickets and groups for the 2015-2016 season of Phantoms hockey by calling 610-224-GOAL .
In the midst of their 20th season of operation, the Phantoms are coming off their Inaugural Season as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms playing at the state-of-the-art PPL Center. Established in 1996, the Philadelphia Phantoms spent their first 13 seasons at the Spectrum before re-locating to Glens Falls, New York in 2009 where the team spent the next five seasons as the Adirondack Phantoms. A new era of Phantoms hockey began in the fall of 2014 when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms began play at the state-of-the-art PPL Center. Through 18 incredibly successful campaigns, the Phantoms have captured two Calder Cup Championships (1998, 2005), two Conference Championships (1998, 2005), two Regular Season Titles (1996-97, 1997-98) and four Division Championships (1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 2003-04).