March 14, 2017
Wednesday, March 15 (7:05 p.m.) – Syracuse Crunch @ Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Friday, March 17 (7:05 p.m.) – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins @ Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, March 18 (7:05 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Winners of three straight games and five of their last six overall, the red-hot Lehigh Valley Phantoms (39-18-3, 75 pts., 2nd Atlantic Division) are back in action for three games this week, including a pair of highly-anticipated showdowns at PPL Center this Wednesday and Friday. The Phantoms enter the week with the second-most wins (39) among the 30-team AHL and are tied for the second-highest standings points total (81).
Lehigh Valley’s action begins this week on Wednesday, March 15 when the Phantoms continue their current four-game home stand by welcoming the Syracuse Crunch, AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, to PPL Center for the first and only time this season. Syracuse (30-20-11, 71 pts., 1st North Division) is coming off a tough weekend in which it dropped a pair of home games first to the Springfield Thunderbirds on Friday and then to the St. John’s IceCaps on Saturday. The Crunch enter the week having dropped four of their last six games overall.
Wednesday’s contest will be the second and final meeting of the 2016-2017 regular season between Lehigh Valley and Syracuse after the Crunch claimed the series opener with a 4-2 win at Onondaga County War Memorial Arena back on December 7.
Wednesday’s contest kicks off Lehigh Valley’s Celtic Celebration as the Phantoms will take the ice wearing specialty St. Patrick’s Day jerseys, which will then be auctioned off immediately following Friday’s game. A limited number of tickets remain for Wednesday’s game and can be purchased online HERE.
Lehigh Valley’s week then concludes on Friday and Saturday with a critical home-and-home series with the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. First, on Friday, March 17, the Phantoms wrap up their four-game home stand by hosting the rival Penguins in a 7:05 p.m. showdown at PPL Center. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (41-17-3, 85 pts., 1st Atlantic Division) won a pair of games last weekend first grabbing an 8-1 triumph over the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday before claiming a 3-2 victory over the Providence Bruins on Saturday. The Penguins enter the week having won four of their last six games overall.
A limited number of tickets remain for Friday’s rivalry showdown and can be purchased online HERE.
The Phantoms will then visit Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday, March 18 for a 7:05 p.m. rematch with the Penguins. Friday and Saturday’s games will mark the seventh and eighth times the Phantoms and Penguins have faced off this season with Lehigh Valley having posted a 3-2-1 mark against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this year.
Phantoms By The Numbers
- Defenseman T.J. Brennan enters the week leading all Phantoms and tied for the AHL lead among blueliners in total scoring with 50 points (18 goals, 32 assists). The four-time All-Star also leads all AHL defenders in goals (18) and shots on goal (183) and is tied for the league lead among defensemen in power play conversions (10).
- Forward Scott Laughton (right) enters the week riding a six-game scoring streak after the third-year center has tallied seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) across his last six outings. Laughton is currently eighth among all active Phantoms in total scoring with 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists).
- Forward Cole Bardreau is currently in the midst of a five-game assist streak in which he’s notched five assists across his last handful of games. A second-year forward, he’s tallied 22 points (8 goals, 14 assists) in 56 total games this season.
- With 218 goals this season, the Phantoms lead all 30 AHL clubs in goals scored this year. What’s more, Lehigh Valley continues to lead the AHL averaging 3.63 goals per game.
- The Phantoms’ special teams have been on fire in recent weeks. Lehigh Valley’s power play has connected in eight of its last 10 games overall producing an impressive 12 man-advantage markers during that stretch (12-for-48, 25.0 percent) while the team’s penalty kill has allowed just three power play goals during that same time frame. Over the last 10 games, Lehigh Valley’s penalty kill is 32-for-35 (91.4 percent).
- The Phantoms are 20-7-2 at home this season and have outscored their opposition 118-85 in games played at PPL Center. Phantoms fans have produced standing room-only sellouts in six of the team’s last seven home games and 14 capacity crowds overall this season.
Wednesday, March 8: Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3 – WB/Scranton Penguins 0
Alex Lyon turned in a stellar 31-save performance as he recorded his fourth shutout of the season in backstopping the Phantoms to a 3-0 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins inside Mohegan Sun Arena. Meanwhile, Colin McDonald (21st), Mark Zengerle (12th) and Chris McCarthy (1st) provided the offense for Lehigh Valley as the Phantoms improved to 3-2-1 against the rival Penguins this season.
McDonald’s goal was part of a multi-point effort as Lehigh Valley’s captain tallied a goal and an assist while forward Scott Laughton notched a pair of assists in the winning effort as well.
Friday, March 10: Hershey Bears 2 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3
Corban Knight (8th) netted the eventual game-winning goal with just over two minutes left in regulation as the resilient Phantoms outlasted the rival Hershey Bears 3-2 in front of 8,116 fans inside PPL Center. Scott Laughton (15th) and Travis Sanheim (9th) also found the back of the net for Lehigh Valley in front of goaltender Anthony Stolarz who earned his 14th win of the season after turning aside 19 of Hershey’s 21 shots.
In total, the Phantoms out shot the Bears 36-21, including a 17-8 disparity in the second period. With Friday’s triumph, the Phantoms improved to 6-4 against Hershey this season.
Saturday, March 11: Utica Comets 1 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4
Goaltender Alex Lyon earned his 24th win of the season Saturday thanks to an impressive 36-save performance as the Phantoms completed a season sweep of the Utica Comets with a 4-1 win in front of 8,681 fans inside PPL Center. Colin McDonald (22nd), T.J. Brennan (18th), Travis Sanheim (10th) and Nic Aube-Kubel (8th) provided the offense for Lehigh Valley as the Phantoms earned their 20th home win of the season.
Lehigh Valley’s special teams was a big part of the victory as the Phantoms’ power play went 1-for-5 while their penalty kill successfully thwarted each of Utica’s three man-advantage chances. Saturday’s game was skated in front of Lehigh Valley’s 14th standing room-only sellout crowd of the 2016-17 season.
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 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. And don’t miss “Phantoms – Breaking the Ice” every Monday from 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. throughout the season live at Chickie’s & Pete’s at PPL Center!
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! 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 of the Phantoms’ nine remaining regular season home games are available now online at pplcenter.com, by calling 610-347-TIXX  or in-person at the PPL Center Box Office [7th & Hamilton].