May 8, 2018
Tuesday, May 8 (7:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Charlotte Checkers
(Atlantic Division Finals Game #3)
Wednesday, May 9 (7:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Charlotte Checkers
(Atlantic Division Finals Game #4)
Saturday, May 12 (6:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Charlotte Checkers
(Atlantic Division Finals Game #5)
Atlantic Division Champions for the 2017-18 season, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (47-19-5-5, 104 pts., 0.684 pts., pct.) continue their quest for the 2018 Calder Cup Championship this week as their Atlantic Division Finals series with the Charlotte Checkers shifts to Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte for three games. As the top seed in the Atlantic Division portion of the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs, the Phantoms hosted the opening two games of the best-of-seven series this past weekend and earned a split in the two highly-anticipated showdowns at PPL Center.
Lehigh Valley opened the series Friday evening by claiming its third straight home playoff victory and 10th consecutive triumph at PPL Center with a 2-1 win over the Checkers. Third-seeded Charlotte responded just 24 hours later with a 6-0 win in downtown Allentown evening the best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
The Atlantic Division Finals now shifts to Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte for Game 3 (Tuesday, May 8, 7:00 p.m.), Game 4 (Wednesday, 9, 7:00 p.m.) and Game 5 (Saturday, May 12, 6:00 p.m.). Phantoms fans are encouraged to attend the team’s Official Playoff Watch Parties at Chickie’s & Pete’s at PPL Center this Tuesday and Wednesday evenings beginning at 6:30 p.m. and then again on Saturday beginning at 5:30 p.m.
If needed, the best-of-seven series will then return to PPL Center for Game 6 on Monday, May 14 and decisive Game 7 on Tuesday, May 15. Tickets for both potential games in downtown Allentown are available now by clicking HERE.
The Phantoms advanced to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since arriving in Lehigh Valley thanks to a first-round victory over the Providence Bruins. After splitting the first two games at Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence in mid-April, the Phantoms won tilts in downtown Allentown on April 27 and 28 in claiming the best-of-five series three games to one. Meanwhile, third-seeded Charlotte advanced to the Atlantic Division Finals after a three-game sweep of the second-seeded Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the opening round.
The Phantoms posted a 4-4 mark during the 2017-18 regular season against Charlotte, which included a 3-1 record in games played at PPL Center. Overall, the Checkers outscored Lehigh Valley 28-22 in eight regular season meetings but was outscored by the Phantoms 12-11 in four head-to-head showdowns in downtown Allentown. Lehigh Valley’s Greg Carey (3 goals, 3 assists), Nic Aube-Kubel (2 goals, 4 assists) and Phil Varone (goal, 5 assists) paced all Phantoms in the season series with six points each while Charlotte’s Nicolas Roy (3 goals, 4 assists) and Andrew Miller (2 goals, 5 assists) led the Checkers offensively during the regular season set.
The Atlantic Division Finals pits the two highest-scoring offenses in the American Hockey League against one another. The Checkers paced all 30 AHL clubs during the regular season averaging 3.45 goals per game while the Phantoms were second at 3.42 goals per outing.
- Phantoms By The Numbers
- Forward Chris Conner (right) currently leads all Phantoms in postseason scoring with six total points (2 goals, 4 assists). The 34-year-old winger had produced points in four straight playoff outings until Saturday’s setback vs. Charlotte.
- Forward Greg Carey enters the week leading all Lehigh Valley skaters with three goals this postseason. He scored twice in the team’s opening round victory against the Providence Bruins and then netted the winner in Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Finals. Carey paced all Phantoms with 31 goals during the regular season. Lehigh Valley is now 24-4-3 this season when Carey finds the back of the net.
- Goaltender Alex Lyon has been exceptional in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs for Lehigh Valley. After recording 49 saves in series-clinching Game 4 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals, he opened the Atlantic Division Finals with a strong 29-save performance in Game 1 in securing a 2-1 victory for the Phantoms. Overall, Lyon is 3-1 this postseason with a 2.35 goals-against average and 0.937 save percentage.
- Defenseman T.J. Brennan currently leads all Phantoms with 56 career AHL postseason games and 41 AHL postseason points (18 goals, 23 assists). Meanwhile, Conner is second with 45 career AHL postseason appearances and 31 playoff points (10 goals, 21 assists).
- Phantoms forward Nic Aube-Kubel (right) has been suspended for three games as a consequence of an illegal check to the head of Charlotte’s Josiah Didier in Game 2 on Saturday. As a result, the 21-year-old winger will miss Games 3, 4, and 5 in Charlotte this week.
- The Phantoms’ power play is currently tied for fourth among all AHL playoff clubs at 20.0 percent (5-for-25).
- Lehigh Valley went 42-1-5 when scoring three or more goals during the regular season and is 3-1 in the postseason in that circumstance. Meanwhile, the Phantoms went 41-6-5 when allowing three goals against or fewer during the regular year and are 4-0 in such games in the playoffs.
- The Phantoms were 30-4-6 when scoring first during the regular season and are 2-0 when netting the game’s opening goal in the playoffs. What’s more, Lehigh Valley was 19-4-10 in one-goal contests this year and is also 3-0 in one-goal tilts this postseason.
Friday, May 4 (Game #1): Charlotte Checkers 1 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 2
Greg Carey (3rd) scored with less than two minutes left in regulation as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms earned a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Charlotte Checkers in front of 5,549 fans inside PPL Center in claiming Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Finals. Alex Krushelnyski (1st) netted Lehigh Valley’s other conversion in front of goaltender Alex Lyon who turned in a stellar performance between the pipes answering 29 of Charlotte’s 30 total shots.
The victory gave the Phantoms a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and extended Lehigh Valley’s home winning streak to 10 consecutive games.
Saturday, May 5 (Game #2): Charlotte Checkers 6 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 0
Janne Kuokkanen (2nd, 3rd) scored twice and the Charlotte Checkers netted four power play goals in evening the Atlantic Division Finals at a game apiece with a 6-0 win in front of 6,335 fans inside PPL Center. Trevor Carrick, Andrew Miller and Andrew Poturalski each chipped in a pair of assists in front of goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic who authored a 26-save shutout in goal for the Checkers.
Valentin Zykov (3rd), Lucas Wallmark (3rd), Philip Samuelsson (1st) and Julien Gauthier (1st) rounded out the scoring for Charlotte as the Checkers won their 11th game over the team’s last 12 outings.
Service Electric’s TV2 Sports will be broadcasting live each of the Phantoms’ home games throughout the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs. 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 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs are available online at pplcenter.com, by calling 610-347-TIXX  or in-person at the QNB Box Office [7th & Hamilton].