Phantoms Warm Up: Lehigh Valley vs Charlotte 3/8/19 Game Preview

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms will host the Charlotte Checkers for a pair of games this weekend beginning on Friday night, March 8, at 7:05 p.m.  This will be the third time the two Atlantic Division foes faceoff against each other in downtown Allentown and the two club’s fifth overall meeting this season.

Lehigh Valley, who is 4-5-0-1 in its past 10 contests, is looking to build off its win this past Wednesday night which moved the team just three points outside of the playoff picture behind the Providence Bruins.  The Phantoms have an overall record of 29-24-3-3 this season and are currently sitting in fifth place in the Atlantic Division, but, with Providence playing a three-in-three this weekend, the Phantoms could potentially gain ground with wins over the Checkers.

A tough test lies ahead in the form of the first-place Checkers, who have a 38-14-6-1 record this season and are currently riding a four-game win streak.  Leading the charge for Charlotte against the Phantoms this season is Julien Gauthier with three goals and two assists for five points in just four games.

The Orange and Black have been returning to form of late as they are beginning to get players back from injury and chemistry between players is starting to come to life.  Trade acquisitions like Byron Froese and David Schlemko are beginning to pay dividends as the two have combined for three points (1G-2A) over the past two games and the return of David Kase from injury has also helped to bolster the Lehigh Valley offense as he has tallied two assists in his past three games.

Phantoms vs. Charlotte Checkers

Phantoms Leading Scorers

  1. Greg Carey (57 GP, 25G-28A, 53 PTS)
  2. Chris Conner (55 GP, 12G-27A, 39 PTS)
  3. T.J. Brennan (50 GP, 8G-30A, 38 PTS)
  4. Mike Vecchione (59 GP, 13G-21A, 34 PTS)
  5. Byron Froese (46 GP, 15G-17A, 32 PTS)

Checkers Leading Scorers

  1. Andrew Poturalski (59 GP, 21G-35A, 56 PTS)
  2. Aleksi Saarela (54 GP, 18G-20A, 38 PTS)
  3. Janne Kuokkanen (48 GP, 12G-26A, 38 PTS)
  4. Jake Bean (57 GP, 11G-24A, 35 PTS)
  5. Morgan Geekie (56 GP, 15G-19A, 34 PTS)

Prior Meetings This Season

Feb. 23 — CHA 5, LV 2
Feb. 22 — CHA 2, LV 1
Nov. 14 — LV 3, CHA 2 (OT)
Nov. 10 — CHA 7, LV 4

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Snap Shots

  • Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Mike Vecchione has four points (1G-3A) in four contests against the Checkers this season, he currently leads the team in scoring against the Checkers.
  • Former Phantoms goaltender Dustin Tokarski could potentially make his first start inside of PPL Center since signing with the New York Rangers organization in the offseason.  The 29-year-old netminder began the season with the Hartford Wolf Pack, but was recently loaned to the Charlotte Checkers on February 28. This season, Tokarski has a record of 11-6-2-1 with a .902 save percentage and a 3.00 goals-against average.  To date, Tokarski has only a single start with the Checkers on March 2.
  • Phantoms forward Tyrell Goulbourne has accumulated 27 penalty minutes in just three games against Charlotte this season which includes a fight.
  • In four prior meetings this season, the Phantoms first-ranked penalty killing unit has not allowed a single power-play goal to the Checkers in 16 chances.
  • Lehigh Valley will need to get off to a good start and hold on to a lead in order to take out the Checkers this weekend.  Charlotte is 27-0-0-0 when leading after two periods of play.

Players to Watch

David Kase returned to the Phantoms lineup last weekend and already has tallied two points (2A) in just three games after missing 33 games due to injury.  Kase ranks third in points against the Checkers this season with a goal and two helpers for three points in just two contests.

Byron Froese tallied his first point as a member of the Phantoms this past Sunday and followed it up with his first goal in a Phantoms uniform on Wednesday night in Wilkes-Barre.  The 27-year-old center, who has now played eight games with Lehigh Valley since being acquired in a trade, has two points in his past two games.

Recent Transactions

March 5, 2019: The Philadelphia Flyers have recalled forward Justin Bailey from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms

The Road Ahead

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms continue their current five-game home stand on Sunday afternoon in a rematch against the Charlotte Checkers at 1:05 p.m.  Sunday’s game will also feature postgame photos on ice with the players!  Get your tickets to see the Phantoms continue their push towards the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs HERE.