Lehigh Valley Phantoms (8-3-2) vs. Binghamton Devils (3-5-4)
Friday, March 26, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. – Newark, NJ
Tonight’s Game – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms travel to Newark for the first of a weekend home-and-home series against the Binghamton Devils. The Phantoms are 2-0-1 against Binghamton this season. Tonight is the 13th game of the season and the fourth out of 14 between the Phantoms and Devils.
Last Time Out – Lehigh Valley’s three-game win streak was halted by the Hershey Bears in a 6-2 decision on Wednesday night at PPL Center. A promising start in the first period didn’t lead to any pucks in the back of the net as the Bears hung through the onslaught for a 0-0 tie giving themselves time to find their game and eventually strike for a four-goal surge in the second period. The game was 0-0 at the middle of the second period. Ryan Fitzgerald (6th) and Zayde Wisdom (7th) scored power-play markers for the Phantoms and Alex Lyon played his first full game between the pipes in over a year. Philippe Maillet racked up five assists in his first goal with Hershey since returning to the Bears from the Washington Taxi Squad. Brian Pinho also excelled in his first game back with two goals and one assist.
Get Your Tickets, Here!! – The Phantoms and PPL Center are pleased to announce they are “Back to Live.” Lehigh Valley Phantoms home games at PPL Center will now be held at 15% capacity. Last Sunday’s overtime win against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was the first game in which the general public was allowed to attend. For many fans, it was their first game Back to Live in over a year.
The Phantoms will be allowed to allow 25% capacity beginning with their home game on Saturday, April 10. Limited tickets for all upcoming Phantoms home games are on sale to the general public at phantomshockey.com
Sign Him Up! – The Flyers and Phantoms have inked new contracts to exciting and deserving Phantoms players this week. Forward Max Willman has signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Flyers which will begin in the 2021-22 season. Willman was on an ECHL contract with Reading in October 2019 then received a tryout contract with the Phantoms where he eventually earned an AHL contract by February, 2020. Willman was named CCM/AHL Player of the Week on March 1, 2021 after racking up six goals in a four-game goal streak.
Defenseman Logan Day has signed an extension of his AHL contract with the Phantoms to keep him with the team through the 2021-22 season. The third-year pro had played the past two seasons with the Bakersfield Condors. He became the first player from Division III Endicott College (Beverly, Mass.) to sign a pro contract.
Transactions – Alex Lyon returned to the Phantoms for Wednesday’s night game and was recalled to the Flyers taxi squad on Thursday. Samuel Morin has been recalled to the Flyers after playing six games in March with the Phantoms. Morin has spent this month playing defense after he began the season as a left wing. Goalie Felix Sandstrom was briefly up with the taxi squad but has since returned to the Phantoms.
Let’s Stay Late – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have played SEVEN overtimes in 13 completed games to lead the AHL in extra-period hockey. Lehigh Valley also leads the circuit with five overtime wins.
The Phantoms had their first four overtime wins on the road this season with Ryan Fitzgerald (Feb 6 at Hershey), David Kase (February 14 at Hershey), Max Willman (February 20 at Binghamton) and Ryan Fitzgerald again (March 8 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) scoring the winners. Tanner Laczynski notched the first overtime winner at home for the Phantoms on March 21 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Binghamton’s Brett Seney (February 10) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Frederick Gaudreau (Feburary 27) have victimized the Phantoms in the 3-on-3 session. Ryan Fitzgerald became just the third player in Lehigh Valley history to score two overtime goals in a single season.
Cal Closes In – Cal O’Reilly is knocking on the door to become only the 10th player in AHL history to record 500 assists. The AHL active’s scoring leader currently has 491 helpers including six this season. O’Reilly’s 618 career point rates 43rd all-time in AHL history. He currently stands 13th in assists and is two away from catching long-time Buffalo Bisons great Larry Wilson (1951-68) for 12th.
Milestone for Gordo – Head coach Scott Gordon has 397 career wins including 176 wins with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and 221 wins with the Providence Bruins. Only five other coaches in AHL history have reached the 400 Win milestone.
Scouting the Devils – Binghamton ended an eight-game winless slide last Friday in its last home game rallying from a 4-1 deficit to knock off the Hershey Bears 6-5. Fabian Zetterlund had two goals and two assists in the comeback. It was the first win in over a month for the Devils. Binghamton dropped a 3-2 overtime heartbreaker in their most recent game on Sunday in Hershey giving up a tying goal with 54 seconds left and a winning goal with 0.5 seconds left by Connor McMichael. Even Cormier made 48 saves in 51 shots in holding the Bears off for most of the game.
19-year-old Graeme Clarke is heating up with four goals. 34-year-old captain Ben Street has scored five goals. Popular Phantoms alum Danick Martel has four goals including a shorthanded marker against the Phantoms.
The Series – The Phantoms are 2-0-1 against Binghamton this season. The last time they met was on Wednesday, March 10 in Newark when the game was suspended after one period due to COVID protocols affecting the Devils. The last time Lehigh Valley and Binghamton played a complete game against each other was February 24 in Newark when Max Willman scored a pair of goals including the overtime winner in a 5-4 final.
Special Teams – Phantoms PP: 15.5%, 16th in AHL. 8-for-33 for 24.2% after beginning 1-for-25
Phantoms PK: 89.5% (allow 4-for-38), 1st in the AHL
Binghamton PP: 24.5%, 6th in AHL (1st in Division)
Binghamton PK: 75.0%, 27th in AHL (Last in Division)
Phantoms PP vs. Binghamton: 2/14, 14.3%
Binghamton PP vs. Phantoms: 2/11, 18.2%
Upcoming – The Phantoms open a three-game homestand hosting the Binghamton Devils on Saturday night. Lehigh Valley will host Hershey on Wednesday night and then welcome the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins next Saturday, April 3
Provident Bank Pennsylvania Cup:
Phantoms 6-3-1 = 13
Bears 4-3-2 = 10
Penguins 3-2-2 = 8
Mar 24: Bears 6 – Phantoms 2
Mar 26: Bears at Penguins
Mar 31: Bears at Phantoms
April 3: Penguins at Phantoms