March 10, 2015
Wednesday, March 11 (7:00 PM) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Toronto Marlies
Friday, March 13 (7:05 PM) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Providence Bruins
Saturday, March 14 (7:00 PM) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms continue their push towards the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs this week as the team kicks off a season-high five-game road trip with three games in four days.
The Phantoms begin their road swing on Wednesday when they invade the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto for their final meeting of the 2014-2015 regular season with the Marlies. Lehigh Valley claimed the only prior meeting against Toronto with a 3-2 triumph at PPL Center back on November 15th. Brandon Manning tallied the game winner with a five-on-three power play marker with less than four minutes remaining in regulation while Rob Zepp backstopped the Phantoms to victory with 28 saves on 30 Marlies shots. Scott Laughton and Nick Cousins also scored for Lehigh Valley in the win.
Lehigh Valley (26-24-6-1, 59 pts.) enters the week in sole possession of third place in the East Division and is presently nine points back of Worcester for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a game-in-hand on the Sharks. Meanwhile, Toronto (27-22-9-0, 63 pts.) is tied for third among the five teams in the North Division and enters the week just one point back of the Texas Stars for the final postseason berth in the Western Conference. After hosting Lehigh Valley, the Marlies will head to Adirondack on Saturday before closing this week’s action at the Hamilton Bulldogs on Sunday.
The Phantoms then continue their road trip on Friday when the team heads to the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence for their second and final meeting this year with the Bruins. Providence claimed the only prior get-together with a 5-1 win at PPL Center back on February 20th. Petr Straka netted the only goal for Lehigh Valley that evening while Colin Stuart and Ryan Spooner paced the offensive attack for the Bruins with two goals each.
Providence (32-20-7-1, 72 pts.) enters the week in the midst of a five-game winning streak during which the Bruins have outscored their opposition 15-8. As a result of its recent surge, Providence is currently second in the Atlantic Division and fifth overall in the Eastern Conference. After facing the Phantoms on Friday, the Bruins will head to Springfield on Saturday to battle the Falcons before capping their three-game weekend with a home showdown against the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Lehigh Valley concludes its three-game week on Saturday when the Phantoms head to Bridgeport for a showdown with the Sound Tigers. Saturday’s contest will be the fourth and final meeting this season between Lehigh Valley and Bridgeport with the Phantoms holding a 2-0-0-1 record head-to-head against the Sound Tigers. After a 3-2 shootout defeat at PPL Center on December 6th, Lehigh Valley has responded with a pair of victories over Bridgeport in the two most recent collisions. First, the Phantoms invaded Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport on December 7th and earned a 5-3 win over the Sound Tigers before capturing a 2-1 overtime victory at home over Bridgeport this past Friday.
Bridgeport (22-29-6-1, 51 pts.) is fifth among the five teams in the Northeast Division and is currently tied with Norfolk for the lowest standings point total in the Eastern Conference. The Sound Tigers snapped a season-high ten-game losing skid on Saturday with a 4-3 victory at Worcester and will host the Sharks (Wednesday) and Syracuse Crunch (Sunday) around their meeting with the Phantoms this week.
Phantoms By The Numbers
- Despite not joining the Phantoms on a full-time basis until late November, Jason Akeson enters the week leading all Lehigh Valley skaters with 18 goals and is presently third among all Phantoms in total scoring with 37 points. The 24-year-old winger has been particularly hot of late having tallied 10 goals, nine assists and 19 points over his last 16 games.
- With two goals in Saturday evening’s setback to the Portland Pirates, Andrew Gordon moved into a tie with Nick Cousins for second among all Phantoms with 17 goals this season. The 29-year-old winger is now fourth among all Lehigh Valley skaters in total scoring with 33 points.
- Lehigh Valley’s penalty kill has allowed just three power play goals against over the last seven games. The Phantoms’ penalty kill is 22-for-25 (88.0%) during that stretch. Beginning with their final man-down scenario in the February 20th showdown with Providence and culminating with Portland’s final power play chance this past Saturday, the Phantoms successfully killed 18 consecutive power play opportunities.
- The Phantoms have seen seven of their last 11 games decided in either overtime or a shootout and have now enjoyed 19 post-regulation decisions this season. Lehigh Valley is 5-2 in its recent surge of dramatic conclusions and is now 12-7 overall in games decided via overtime/shootouts (7-6 in overtime, 5-1 in shootouts).
Friday, March 6: Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 2 (OT)
Jason Akeson scored just 48 seconds into overtime as the Phantoms outlasted the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-1 in front of 8,706 fans at PPL Center. The goal was Akeson’s team-leading 18th conversion this year as Lehigh Valley captured its seventh overtime victory and 12th post-regulation triumph of the season.
Brett Hextall scored in regulation for the Phantoms while Rob Zepp earned his 15th win of the year between the pipes with 26 saves on 27 Sound Tigers shots. Lehigh Valley’s power play went 1-for-5 in the win while the Phantoms’ penalty kill held its opposition off the board for the fourth consecutive game. The victory came in front of Lehigh Valley’s fourth straight sellout and 16th capacity crowd overall.
Saturday, March 7: Portland Pirates 5 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4
Andrew Gordon scored twice and Adam Comrie notched a goal and an assist but the Portland Pirates were able to hang on for a 5-4 win in front of 8,843 fans at PPL Center. Austin Fyten and Kevin Goumas each contributed a pair of assists for the Phantoms as Lehigh Valley skated in front of its fifth consecutive standing room-only sellout and the fifth-largest crowd to enjoy a Phantoms game at PPL Center this season.
Scott Laughton found the back of the net as well for the Phantoms as the blossoming 20-year-old prospect converted for the first time since returning from a 31-game stint with the Philadelphia Flyers. Rob Zepp suffered the setback in goal for Lehigh Valley despite 27 total saves. Meanwhile, Alexandre Bolduc paced the offensive effort for Portland with a goal and two assists while Dylan Reese, Jordan Martinook and Eric Selleck each recorded a pair of assists for the Pirates.
Service Electric’s TV2 Sports will be broadcasting live all of the Phantoms’ nine remaining regular season home games. If you can’t make it out to the rink, be sure to catch all the exciting action in high definition with Steve Degler and former Flyers and Phantoms goaltender Brian Boucher! And don’t miss “Phantoms – Breaking the Ice” every Monday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM throughout the season live at Chickie’s & Pete’s (701 Hamilton Street)!
Be sure to also catch each and every Phantoms game this season live on Fox Sports 1470 AM, online at Fox1470.com or via the iHeartRadio 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. Nazareth Pallet Countdown to Faceoff begins 45 minutes prior to puck drop.
Tickets for all of the Phantoms’ nine remaining regular season home games are available now at the Mealey’s Furniture Box Office at PPL Center (7th & Hamilton), by calling 610-347-TIXX (8499) or online at pplcenter.com.
Check it out! Don’t miss the action and fun of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey at PPL Center in downtown Allentown! Contact the Phantoms Front Office for information on season tickets for the 2015-2016 season of Phantoms hockey by calling 610-224-GOAL (4625).
In their 19th season of operation, the Phantoms are currently in the midst of their Inaugural Season as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms playing at the brand-new PPL Center. Established in 1996, the Philadelphia Phantoms spent their first 13 seasons at the Spectrum before re-locating to Glens Falls, New York in 2009 where the team spent the next five seasons as the Adirondack Phantoms. A new era of Phantoms hockey began in the fall of 2014 when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms began play at the state-of-the-art PPL Center. Through 18 incredibly successful campaigns, the Phantoms have captured two Calder Cup Championships (1998, 2005), two Conference Championships (1998, 2005), two Regular Season Titles (1996-97, 1997-98) and four Division Championships (1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 2003-04).