Atlantic Division Champion Phantoms Cap Regular Season This Friday, Saturday at PPL Center
April 13, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pa. – The America Hockey League announced today that Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Phil Varone has been voted the winner of the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s most valuable player for the 2017-18 season.
The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.
A 27-year-old forward from Vaughan, Ontario, Varone is currently tied for the league lead in total scoring with 70 points (23 goals, 47 assists). He’s already established new career highs in goals (23), assists (47) and points (70) in helping guide the Phantoms to the Atlantic Division Championship.
Varone enters the weekend having notched 15 multi-point outings this year and has tallied at least one point in 48 of 73 games to date. He tallied his first career hat trick as part of an impressive four-point night (3 goals, assist) on February 21 in a 6-4 victory at the Utica Comets and netted his 100th career conversion on January 12th in a showdown with the Springfield Thunderbirds at PPL Center.
This season, Varone hasn’t gone more than two consecutive games without finding his way onto the score sheet and has only gone back-to-back games without a point just three times this year. He’s produced a pair of five-game point streaks this season (October 14-25, 6 points and December 20-30, 7 points) and notched a team-high four assists in a 6-5 win at the Binghamton Devils on November 4.
Lehigh Valley is 37-7-3-1 this season in games when Varone records a point, and 16-1-2-1 when he scores a goal.
A fifth-round selection (#147 overall) by the San Jose Sharks in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Varone signed a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers last July. Across 465 career AHL outings, he’s amassed 112 goals, 256 assists and 368 total points in time with the Phantoms, Rochester Americans and Binghamton Senators.
The AHL’s most valuable player award honors the late Les Cunningham, a member of the AHL Hall of Fame who was a five-time league All-Star and three-time Calder Cup champion with the Cleveland Barons. Previous winners of the award include Carl Liscombe (1948, ’49), Johnny Bower (1956, ’57, ’58), Fred Glover (1960, ’62, ’64), Mike Nykoluk (1967), Gilles Villemure (1969, ’70), Doug Gibson (1975, ’77), Pelle Lindbergh (1981), Paul Gardner (1985, ’86), Tim Tookey (1987), Jody Gage (1988), John Anderson (1992), Don Biggs (1993), Derek Armstrong (2001), Jason Spezza (2005), Darren Haydar (2007), Keith Aucoin (2010), Tyler Johnson (2013), Travis Morin (2014), Brian O’Neill (2015), Chris Bourque (2016) and Kenny Agostino (2017).
Bound for the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs as Atlantic Division Champions, the Phantoms cap the 2017-18 regular season with a pair of games at PPL Center this weekend. First, on Friday, April 13, Lehigh Valley hosts the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a 7:05 p.m. clash in downtown Allentown. Friday’s game features the annual Canned Food Drive presented by GIANT Food Stores. Then, on Saturday, April 14, the Phantoms have their final tuneup before the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs when they host the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 7:05 p.m. showdown at PPL Center. A limited number of tickets remain for both games this weekend and are available HERE.
The Phantoms will once again be hosting an Orange Out during each home playoff home this season. Fans are encouraged to wear orange to each and every postseason game at PPL Center as we create the best and most exciting home-ice advantage in the league.