April 11, 2017
Wednesday, April 12 (7:05 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Friday, April 14 (7:05 p.m.) – Providence Bruins @ Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, April 15 (7:05 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Binghamton Senators
Thanks to the team’s 4-2 triumph over the Springfield Thunderbirds last Saturday, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (45-23-5, 95 pts., 2nd Atlantic Division) enter the week just one standings point away from clinching a berth in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Lehigh Valley’s first opportunity to secure its place in the postseason comes this Wednesday, April 12 when the Phantoms invade Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for a 7:05 p.m. showdown with the Penguins. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (50-19-4, 104 pts., 1st Atlantic Division) is the only Atlantic Division club to date to have clinched a playoff berth and it secured the Eastern Conference’s top seed with a 2-1 win over the Providence Bruins on Saturday. The Penguins enter the week having won three straight games and eight of their last 10 outings overall.
Wednesday’s contest will be the 12th and final meeting of the 2016-17 regular season between Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with the Phantoms having posted a 4-6-1 mark head-to-head against the Penguins this year. Lehigh Valley is 2-3 in five prior showdowns inside Mohegan Sun Arena. The Phantoms will punch their ticket to the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs with a win or overtime/shootout loss at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this Wednesday.
Lehigh Valley then returns home to PPL Center this Friday, April 14 for its final home game of the regular season as it welcomes the Providence Bruins to downtown Allentown. Providence (43-21-9, 95 pts., 3rd Atlantic Division) enters the week tied with the Phantoms with 95 standings points but trails Lehigh Valley in the first postseason tiebreaker – regulation/overtime wins (Phantoms 43, Bruins 40). The Bruins claimed two of three games last weekend and enter the week having captured seven of their last nine games overall. Providence will visit Springfield this Wednesday before invading downtown Allentown on Friday. The Bruins will then close the regular season Saturday at the Hershey Bears.
Friday’s game will mark the sixth and final meeting of the regular season between Lehigh Valley and Providence with the Phantoms having gone 3-2 in five prior collisions with the Bruins.
A limited number of tickets remain for Friday’s game and can be purchased online HERE.
The Phantoms then play their final game of the 2016-17 regular season this Saturday, April 15 when they visit the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton for a 7:05 p.m. clash with the Senators. Binghamton (27-42-4, 58 pts., 7th North Division) is currently seventh among the seven teams in the North Division and enters the week with the second-lowest standings points total in the Eastern Conference. The Senators dropped two of three games last week and have lost seven of their last nine games overall..
Saturday’s collision will be the sixth and final meeting of the year between Lehigh Valley and Binghamton with the Phantoms looking for a sweep in their season series with the Senators after claiming each of the previous five head-to-head tilts. Lehigh Valley has outscored the Senators 19-6 overall this season but has earned just 1-0 (November 23) and 2-1 (January 27) triumphs in games played in Binghamton this year.
- Phantoms By The Numbers
- The Phantoms are just one standings point away from clinching their 11th postseason berth in franchise history. The Phantoms were last in the Calder Cup Playoffs in 2009 and have claimed two Calder Cup championships (1998, 2005) in team history.
- Lehigh Valley leads all AHL clubs in total goals this season (249) and enters the week pacing all Eastern Conference clubs averaging 3.41 goals per game.
- The Phantoms are 22-11-4 at home this season and have outscored their opposition 134-112 in games played at PPL Center. Lehigh Valley enters the week tied for the league lead in goals scored at home (134). What’s more, Phantoms fans have produced 16 standing room-only sellouts this season and have generated 62 capacity crowds over the last three campaigns.
- Lehigh Valley’s penalty kill enters the week having successfully defended 18 straight man-down situations. The Phantoms haven’t allowed a power play goal in the month of April (five straight games) and are fifth overall in the AHL with a PK percentage of 84.0 percent.
- Defenseman T.J. Brennan enters the week leading all Phantoms and is tied for second among all AHL blueliners in scoring with 56 points (21 goals, 35 assists). He currently leads all AHL defenders in goals (21) and power play conversions (12) and is second in the league in shots on goal (201) and third in man-advantage points (28). Brennan was named to the AHL’s First All-Star Team last week.
- Phantoms’ captain Colin McDonald (right) is in the midst of one of his strongest campaigns in recent years. With 24 goals, he’s amassed his highest goal total since he poured in 42 conversions with the Oklahoma City Barons during the 2010-11 season. Meanwhile, his 42 points are his highest point total since a 49-point year with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2011-12.
Wednesday, April 5: Hershey Bears 3 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 2 (OT)
Colin McDonald (24th) and Taylor Leier (11th) both found the back of the net for Lehigh Valley Wednesday evening and Alex Lyon turned in a strong 26-save performance as the Phantoms earned a critical standings point in a 3-2 overtime decision with the Hershey Bears in front of 7,472 fans at PPL Center.
Travis Boyd (16th) netted the overtime winner after Riley Barber (12th) evened the game with just over six minutes left in the third period. Wednesday’s game capped the regular season series between Lehigh Valley and Hershey with the Phantoms having closed the year with an impressive 7-4-1 mark against their in-state rivals.
Friday, April 7: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 0
Upon his return from a stint with the Philadelphia Flyers, Anthony Stolarz turned aside 29 of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 31 total shots but it wasn’t enough as the Penguins were able to escape downtown Allentown with a 3-0 win. Oskar Sundqvist scored twice (19th, 20th) before Dan Warsofsky (16th) landed the final dent on the score sheet with an empty-net conversion all in support of goaltender Tristan Jarry (21 saves) who earned his third shutout of the season.
Saturday, April 8: Springfield Thunderbirds 2 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4
Alex Lyon notched a season-high 44 saves Saturday evening as the Phantoms dropped their magic number (standings points needed to guarantee a playoff berth) down to just one thanks to a 4-2 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds in front of 7,719 fans at PPL Center. Andy Miele (11th) and Corban Knight (10th) each notched a goal and an assist in support Lyon while T.J. Brennan (21st) and Scott Laughton (17th) also found the back of the net for Lehigh Valley.
The Phantoms’ special teams played a huge part in the victory as Lehigh Valley’s power play went 1-for-5 in the triumph while the team’s penalty kill successfully thwarted each of Springfield’s eight man-advantage opportunities.
Service Electric’s TV2 Sports will be broadcasting live the Phantoms’ final home game of the 2016-17 season this Friday, April 14. 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.
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 the Phantoms’ regular season finale this Friday, April 14 vs. Providence are available now online at pplcenter.com, by calling 610-347-TIXX  or in-person at the PPL Center Box Office [7th & Hamilton].