Game Preview – Phantoms vs. Devils – Game #13

Lehigh Valley Phantoms (7-2-2) vs. Binghamton Devils (2-5-3)
Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 7:05 p.m. – PPL Center, Allentown, PA

Today’s Game – The first-place Lehigh Valley Phantoms return to PPL Center for a St. Patrick’s Day showdown against the Binghamton Devils. The Phantoms are 2-0-1 against the Devils this season and 1-0 vs. Binghamton at PPL Center. This is Game 4 out of 14 in the season series. The Phantoms are playing Game #13 of the regular season and jus their fourth home game of the year.

Last Time Out – The Phantoms improved to 4-1-0 against the rival Hershey Bears with an impressive 4-1 win at Chocolate Town on Sunday afternoon. Wade Allison scored a goal in his pro debut and rookie Tyson Foerster also scored his first pro goal. Ryan Fitzgerald and Derrick Pouliot both had a goal and assist on the team’s two power-play goals while Zane McIntyre was terrific in net with 32 saves on 33 shots to improve to 7-1-1.

Rescheduling – Lehigh Valley’s game against the Binghamton Devils originally scheduled for Saturday, March 13 was rescheduled for Sunday, April 11 at 5:05 p.m. Tickets for the March 13 game are good for the April 11 date.

The Phantoms played at Newark against the Devils on March 10 but the game was suspended after one period due to COVID protocols affecting the Devils. The game will be completed in Newark on Monday, April 26 at 6:00 p.m. and will continue from the point of suspension when the game was tied at 1-1 after one period.

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. Tickets for all home games are on sale now.

First Time! – Wade Allison’s snappy wrister from the top of the left circle at Hershey went off the post and into the net for his first career pro goal in his pro debut. It was Allison’s first game in over a calendar year since the cancellation of his 2019-20 season at Western Michigan University the year before.
Tyson Foerster converted on a 2-on-1 just a couple minutes into that same game on March 14 at Hershey for his first pro goal as well. The Flyes’ first-rounder in 2020 from the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL had several close calls to scoring his first before knocking it in on the rush with David Kase set up on a nice lead pass forward by Garrett Wilson.

Long Time Coming – Samuel Morin is back to playing defense and is thriving in his return to the position. His assist on March 3 in his first game back with Lehigh Valley was his first pro point in over three years. Morin’s last point had been 1,138 days earlier on January 20, 2018 in an outdoor game at Hersheypark Stadium. He left that game early with an injury and when he returned in the playoffs in May 2018 had the first of his two knee injuries and surgeries. Morin had played just 11 combined games in the past two seasons.

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.

Best in the League – The Phantoms boast the two highest scoring active players in the AHL. Cal O’Reilly is first with 619 points while Chris Mueller is second among all active AHL players with 568 points and is first with 242 goals. The 35-year-old Mueller also leads all active AHL’ers in games played with 780. O’Reilly is a captain with his fourth AHL team (also with Rochester, Utica, Iowa). Mueller has won the Calder Cup twice (Toronto 2018 and Texas 2014) and also won an NCAA Frozen Four title with Michigan State.

Let’s Stay Late – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have played six overtimes in eleven completed games to lead the AHL in extra-period hockey. Lehigh Valley has the most overtime wins (4).The Phantoms have all four of their 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. 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.

Scouting the Devils – Binghamton is in last place in the North Division and has not won a game in over a month with an eight-game losing skid that stretches back to a February 10 overtime win against the Phantoms in the second game of the season. The Devils are returning from a week layoff due to COVID protocols. The game last Wednesday in Newark was suspended after one period in a 1-1 tie and will be resumed at a later date to be announced. Their scheduled games for Friday, March 12 and Saturday, March 13 against Hershey and Lehigh Valley were both rescheduled. Binghamton’s 4.0 goals allowed per game is last in the conference and 27th in the AHL out of 28. 34-year-old veteran captain Ben Street leads the Devils’ offense with 11 points on four goals and seven points. Popular Phantoms’ alum Danick Martel is tied for the team lead with four goals. The Devils feature many young prospects, including 19-year-olds Michael Vukojevic and Graeme Clarke who scored on March 10 against the Phantoms before the game was suspended.

The Series – Lehigh Valley is 2-0-1 against the Devils this season including a shutout win at PPL Center for Zane McIntyre in a 3-0 final with Zayde Wisdom scoring a pair of goals in the Phantoms’ home opener. Max Willman scored twice in Newark on February 24 including the overtime winner in a 5-4 decision. The Devils took the first game in the series on an overtime goal by Brett Seney on February 10 for a 2-1 victory.

Special Teams – Lehigh Valley’s surging power play is up to 19th in the AHL at 14.6%. After beginning the season 1-for-25, the Phantoms have since gone 6-for-23 for 26.1%. The Phantoms’ boast the top penalty kill in the conference, and second-best in the league, at 90.6% giving up just 3-for-32. The Devils’ power play is clicking at 24.3%, 9-for-37, which rates 7th in the AHL. Binghamton’s P.K. is just 75.0% which is 24th in the AHL giving up 10-for-40. Lehigh Valley is 2-for-14 against the Devils this season while Binghamton is 2-for-11 against Lehigh Valley.

Upcoming – The Phantoms travel to Wilkes-Barre on Friday for a 7:05 clash vs. the Penguins. The two teams will rematch at PPL Center on Sunday at 3:05

Provident Bank Pennsylvania Cup:
Phantoms 5-2-1 = 11
Bears 3-2-2 = 9
Penguins 3-2-1 = 7

Mar 8: Phantoms 4 – Penguins 3 (OT)
Mar 14: Phantoms 4 – Bears 1
Mar 19: Phantoms at Penguins
Mar 21: Penguins at Phantoms