December 12, 2017
Tuesday, December 12 (7:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Charlotte Checkers
Wednesday, December 13 (7:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Charlotte Checkers
Saturday, December 16 (7:05 p.m.) – Syracuse Crunch @ Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Sunday, December 17 (3:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (15-8-1-2, 33 pts., 0.635 pts. pct., 4th Atlantic Division) hit the ice four times this week, including a highly-anticipated return to PPL Center this Saturday in which they host the Syracuse Crunch for the only time this season. Coming off an incredibly successful six-game home stand in which the team went 4-1-1, the Phantoms enter the week tied for the second-most standings points in the Atlantic Division (33).
The Phantoms return to action this Tuesday, December 12 and Wednesday, December 13 when they head to Charlotte for a two-game set with the Checkers. The AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte (16-8-0-1, 33 pts., 0.660 pts. pct., 2nd Atlantic Division) won both of its games last week and enters the week riding a four-game winning streak. After a 2-1 victory at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last Friday, the checkers capped their weekend with a convincing 7-1 triumph at the Binghamton Devils. All told, Charlotte has garnered at least one standings point in six straight games (5-0-0-1) and has claimed six of its last eight outings overall following a four-game slide in mid-November.
This week’s showdowns will mark the first two of eight total meetings during the 2017-18 regular season between Lehigh Valley and Charlotte. The two sides will next convene for a two-game weekend series in downtown Allentown on Friday, December 29 and Saturday, December 30.
The Phantoms then return home to PPL Center on Saturday, December 16 when they host the Crunch for the only time this season. Syracuse (13-9-1-2, 29 pts., 0.580 pts. pct., 3rd North Division) won three games in convincing fashion last week and enters this week in the midst of a nine-game winning streak. After a 6-1 triumph at the Utica Comets last Wednesday, the Crunch kept on rolling with a 5-2 win in Binghamton on Friday followed by a 6-0 shutout at the Belleville Senators Saturday. Since Wednesday, November 22, Syracuse is a perfect 9-0 and has outscored its opposition 42-19 during its recent surge.
Saturday’s contest will be the first of two head-to-head meetings between the Phantoms and Crunch this season with the two sides set to conclude their regular season series on Friday, February 23 in Syracuse.
A limited number of tickets remain for Saturday’s tilt at PPL Center and can be purchased online HERE.
Lehigh Valley then caps its busy four-game week on Sunday, December 17 when the team travels to Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport for a 3:00 p.m clash with the Sound Tigers. Bridgeport (12-10-1-1, 26 pts., 0.542 pts. pct., 5th Atlantic Division) dropped a pair of games last weekend and enters the week in the midst of a four-game winless skid (0-3-0-1). Following a 4-3 loss at the Springfield Thunderbirds last Saturday, the Sound Tigers returned home Sunday only to be handed a 4-1 setback to the Rochester Americans.
Sunday’s clash will mark the fourth of eight total meetings this season between Lehigh Valley and Bridgeport with the Phantoms having claimed each of the first three collisions, including a 4-2 win in Bridgeport back on November 8. Lehigh Valley’s Danick Martel (3 goals, 2 assists), Phil Varone (2 goals, 3 assists) and T.J. Brennan (5 assists) currently lead all scorers in the season series with five points apiece.
- Phantoms By The Numbers
- Forward Phil Varone enters the week leading all Phantoms and tied for second among all AHL skaters in scoring with 28 total points (8 goals, 20 assists). The seventh-year center continued his recent torrid scoring stretch with another three points in three games last week as he’s now tallied 20 points (6 goals, 13 assists) over his last 15 outings. In fact, since November 4, no player in the AHL has tallied more points than Varone (20 points).
- With another goal last week, forward Greg Carey (right) remained the AHL’s hottest goal producer in recent weeks. Since November 22, no AHL skater has tallied more goals than Carey (8) as the 27-year-old winger has now produced eight goals and 10 points over his last nine games. Carey is currently second among all Phantoms and tied for second among all AHLers with 13 total goals this season.
- Forward Danick Martel continues to lead all Phantoms and all AHL skaters with 14 goals this season. The third-year winger notched a couple of assists over the weekend and is now second among all Lehigh Valley skaters in total scoring with 22 points (14 goals, 8 assists).
- Lehigh Valley is 15-1-1-1 when scoring three or more goals this season and is 12-1-0-1 when allowing three goals against or fewer.
- The Phantoms allowed a power play goal last Saturday for the first time since November 24. In between, Lehigh Valley successfully defended 24 straight man-advantage opportunities and went six straight games without allowing a power play goal.
- The Phantoms enter the week as the AHL’s third-highest scoring offense averaging 3.65 goals per game. Through 26 games this season, Lehigh Valley has already scored 95 total goals, which is just one goal shy of where the team was through 26 games a year ago. The Phantoms finished last season as the AHL’s most potent offense (3.42 goals/game).
Wednesday, December 6: WB/Scranton Penguins 0 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 5
Dustin Tokarski denied all 39 of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 39 total shots while Corban Knight and Matt Read each chipped in a goal and an assist as part of a 5-0 victory over the Penguins in front of 8,592 fans inside PPL Center. Oskar Lindblom (5th), Tyrell Goulbourne (4th) and Mikhail Vorobyev (3rd) also found the back of the net for Lehigh Valley as the Phantoms improved to 2-2-1 against the rival Penguins this season.
Friday, December 8: Hershey Bears 4 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 5
Nic Aube-Kubel turned in a career night with three assists while Phil Varone added a goal and an assist and James de Haas chipped in a pair of helpers as the Phantoms outlasted the rival Hershey Bears 5-4 in front of 7,046 fans inside PPL Center. Greg Carey (13th), Mike Vecchione (7th), Tyrell Goulbourne (5th) and Adam Comrie (1st) also scored for Lehigh Valley in front of goaltender Dustin Tokarski who earned his seventh win of the season with a 19-save performance.
Lehigh Valley’s penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3 as the Phantoms held the opposition’s power play off the board for the sixth consecutive outing.
Saturday, December 9: Lehigh Valley Phantoms 2 – Hershey Bears 4
Mikhail Vorobyev recorded the first multi-point game of his professional career with a goal and an assist and Oskar Lindblom tallied his sixth goal of the season but it wasn’t enough as the Phantoms were handed a 4-2 setback to the Hershey Bears in front of 8,539 fans inside Giant Center. Matt Read added a pair of assists for Lehigh Valley as the Phantoms moved to 4-2 against their Pennsylvania rivals this season.
Service Electric’s TV2 Sports will be broadcasting live each of the Phantoms’ 25 home games throughout the 2017-2018 regular season. 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, Todd Fedoruk, Doug Heater and Kristi Fulkerson! Pre-game coverage begins with “Phantoms Front and Center” 30 minutes before puck drop.
Be sure to also catch each and every Phantoms game this season live on 1470-AM WSAN, 790-AM WAEB or via the iHeartRadio app and Phantoms365 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 each and every Phantoms home game throughout the 2017-18 season are available online at pplcenter.com, by calling 610-347-TIXX  or in-person at the QNB Box Office [7th & Hamilton].