December 19, 2017
Wednesday, December 20 (7:05 p.m.) – Hartford Wolf Pack @ Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, December 23 (5:05 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Winners of three of four games last week and five of their last seven overall, the red-hot Lehigh Valley Phantoms (18-9-1-2, 39 pts., 0.650 pts. pct., 3rd Atlantic Division) are back in action for a pair of games this week, including a Wednesday showdown at PPL Center in the team’s final home game before the American Hockey League’s holiday break. Lehigh Valley enters the week tied for the most standings points (39) and second-most wins (18) in the Atlantic Division.
The Phantoms return to action this Wednesday, December 20 when they welcome the Hartford Wolf Pack, AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers, to downtown Allentown for a 7:05 p.m. showdown. Hartford (11-12-3-3, 28 pts., 0.483 pts. pct., 6th Atlantic Division) split a pair of games last weekend but enters the week having claimed at least one standings point in each of its last seven games (4-0-1-2). After a convincing 7-3 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last Friday, the Wolf Pack were handed a 2-1 shootout loss at the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday. Five of Hartford’s last seven games have been decided by just a single goal with the Wolf Pack having posted a 6-2-3-3 mark in one-goal tilts this season.
Wednesday’s contest will mark the third of six total meetings during the 2017-18 regular season between the Phantoms and Wolf Pack with Hartford having claimed a pair of one-goal decisions through the first two get-togethers. After a 2-1 shootout decision in Hartford back on October 8, the Phantoms were handed a 5-4 setback at PPL Center on October 28.
A limited number of tickets remain to Wednesday’s game and can be purchased online HERE.
Lehigh Valley then plays its final game before the holiday break on Saturday, December 23 when the Phantoms invade Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for a 5:05 p.m. clash with the Penguins. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (15-8-2-1, 33 pts., 0.635 pts. pct., 4th Atlantic Division) earned three of a possible six standings points (1-1-1) across three games last week. After a 6-3 victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds on Wednesday, the Penguins were handed a 7-3 regulation loss at Hartford on Friday before suffering a 3-2 overtime setback at the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday. The Penguins enter the week having dropped six of their last eight games overall (2-4-2) and will host the Binghamton Devils on Friday before facing off against the Phantoms on Saturday.
Saturday’s tilt will be the sixth of 12 meetings this season between Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with the Phantoms having posted a 2-2-1 mark through the first five collisions. Lehigh Valley is 0-2 at Mohegan Sun Arena this season but claimed the most recent meeting in the season series with a 5-0 triumph at PPL Center back on December 6.
- Phantoms By The Numbers
- Forward Phil Varone enters the week leading all Phantoms and is second among all AHL skaters in scoring with 31 total points (9 goals, 22 assists). The seventh-year center continued his recent torrid scoring stretch with another three points in four games last week as he’s now tallied 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists) over his last 19 outings. In fact, since November 4, no player in the AHL has tallied more points than Varone (23 points).
- With another two goals last week, forward Greg Carey remained the AHL’s hottest goal producer in recent weeks. Since November 22, no AHL skater has tallied more goals than Carey (10) as the 27-year-old winger has now produced 10 goals and 12 points over his last 13 games. Carey is currently second among all Phantoms and tied for third among all AHLers with 15 total goals this season.
- Forward Danick Martel continues to lead all Phantoms and is now tied for the AHL lead with 17 goals this season. The third-year winger tallied four points across four games last week and is now second among all Lehigh Valley skaters in total scoring with 26 points (17 goals, 9 assists).
- Since November 22, there’s no hotter player in the AHL than forward Corban Knight (right). Over his last 13 outings, Knight has produced a league-best 16 points (6 goals, 10 assists) and has managed at least one point in 10 of his last 13 games. He enters the week in the midst of a four-game point streak (2 goals, 5 assists).
- Lehigh Valley is 18-1-1-1 when scoring three or more goals this season and is 15-1-0-1 when allowing three goals against or fewer.
- The Phantoms are 10-1-1-1 when scoring first this season. What’s more, Lehigh Valley is 10-1-1-1 when leading after the first period this year and is 13-0-1 when leading after two frames.
- The Phantoms enter the week as the AHL’s third-highest scoring offense averaging 3.67 goals per game. Through 30 games this season, Lehigh Valley has already scored 110 total goals, which is just two goals shy of where the team was through 30 games a year ago. The Phantoms finished last season as the AHL’s most potent offense (3.42 goals/game).
Tuesday, December 12: Lehigh Valley Phantoms 6 – Charlotte Checkers 3
Nic Aube-Kubel netted a pair of goals and goaltender John Muse stopped all 25 shots he faced in relief of Dustin Tokarski as the Phantoms earned a 6-3 win at the Charlotte Checkers. Danick Martel, Greg Carey, Phil Varone and Oskar Lindblom also scored for Lehigh Valley while Corban Knight and T.J. Brennan each added a pair of assists.
All told, 11 different Phantoms notched at least one point in the triumph.
Wednesday, December 13: Lehigh Valley Phantoms 2 – Charlotte Checkers 5
Matt Read (4th) and Radel Fazleev (1st) both scored for Lehigh Valley as the Phantoms earned a split in their two-game set in Charlotte as the Checkers were able to take the back-end of their series with a 5-2 win inside Bojangles’ Coliseum. Charlotte’s Patrick Brown notched a pair of goals in the victory while Warren Foegele and Janne Kuokkanen each chipped in a pair of assists in front of goaltender Jeremy Smith who earned the win between the pipes with a 35-save performance.
Saturday, December 16: Syracuse Crunch 2 – Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4
Corban Knight, Danick Martel and Chris Conner each registered a goal and an assist in front of goaltender John Muse who turned aside 22 of Syracuse’s 24 total shots in securing a 4-2 victory over the visiting Crunch in front of 7,113 fans inside PPL Center. Lehigh Valley’s victory snapped a 10-game winning streak for Syracuse who hadn’t suffered a loss since a 3-1 setback at the Toronto Marlies on November 19.
Greg Carey (15th) also found the back of the net for Lehigh Valley who used a solid special teams effort (1/5 on the power play, 4/4 on the penalty kill) in improving to 9-3-1-1 at PPL Center this season.
Sunday, December 17: Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3 – Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2 (OT)
Corban Knight (7th) buried the game-winning goal just 42 seconds into overtime as the Phantoms earned a dramatic, come-from-behind 3-2 win at the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Knight’s goal was part of a multi-point effort as the 27-year-old center capped an impressive week in which he notched seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) across four games. Steven Swavely opened Lehigh Valley’s regulation scoring before Danick Martel converted his league-leading 17th goal of the season.
Goaltender Dustin Tokarski turned in a herculean effort between the pipes with 37 saves on Bridgeport’s 39 shots as he improved to 8-2-2 overall this season.
Service Electric’s TV2 Sports will be broadcasting live each of the Phantoms’ 24 home games throughout the 2017-2018 regular season. 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 and Phantoms365 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 and every Phantoms home game throughout the 2017-18 season are available online at pplcenter.com, by calling 610-347-TIXX  or in-person at the QNB Box Office [7th & Hamilton].