Tokarski, Special Teams Guide Phantoms 4-0 Past Binghamton

Home Point Streak Stretched to 12 Straight Games

March 3, 2018

Lehigh Valley, Pa. – Dustin Tokarski denied all 29 shots he faced and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms pumped in a pair of power play goals Saturday evening in earning a 4-0 shutout over the Binghamton Devils in front of 8,757 fans inside PPL Center. With the win, the Phantoms improved to 37-15-3-4 overall this season as Lehigh Valley now leads all Eastern Conference teams with 81 standings points.

With Saturday’s win, the Phantoms trimmed their magic number to clinch a berth in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs to just 20.

Saturday’s win continued Lehigh Valley’s stellar play of late as the Phantoms captured their 10th win over the last 12 games (10-1-1) and the club’s 16th triumph over its last 21 outings (15-3-2). What’s more, Saturday’s victory pushed the team’s current home point streak to 12 straight games as the Phantoms have claimed 22 of a possible 24 standings points in games played at PPL Center since January 13. All told, Lehigh Valley is an impressive 20-5-3-2 in games played in downtown Allentown this season.

Phil Varone (18th), Chris Conner (15th), Corban Knight (12th) and Mikhail Vorobyev (6th) provided the offense for Lehigh Valley in front of Tokarski who captured his third shutout this season in improving to 15-6-5 overall this year. Varone’s conversion matched his career-high for goals in a single season and came in his 450th career AHL outing and 500th career professional game. Meanwhile, Conner converted in his third straight game while Vorobyev’s goal was part of a multi-point outing as the first-year winger notched a goal and an assist in the victory.

Special teams played a huge part in the win as Lehigh Valley not only converted twice on the power play but also thwarted all four of Binghamton’s man-advantage opportunities. The Phantoms have now successfully denied 23 straight opposing power plays and have recorded four man-advantage markers of their own through the first two games this weekend.

Saturday’s game was skated in front of a raucous crowd of 8,757 orange-clad supporters marking the 12th standing room-only crowd this season and the 74th capacity crowd to enjoy the excitement of Phantoms hockey live at PPL Center since the arena’s opening in October 2014.

The Phantoms are now 4-1 against Binghamton this season with the finale of the regular season series set for Sunday, March 11 back at PPL Center.

After a scoreless opening period, the Phantoms broke the deadlock less than six minutes into the middle frame when, while on the power play, Vorobyev fed a perfect pass to the top of the goal crease that was expertly tapped in by Varone for his 18th goal of the season. T.J. Brennan collected the secondary assist on the man-advantage marker netted 5:52 into the second period as Lehigh Valley collected its sixth power play marker over the last six games.

The Phantoms then doubled their lead in the final two minutes of the middle stanza when they converted their second power play goal of the game and fourth this weekend. With Binghamton’s Michael Kapla and Nick Lappin both in the penalty box, Greg Carey unleashed a booming slap shot from the high slot that was perfectly redirected by Conner into the back of Devils’ cage for Conner’s 15th goal this year. Carey and Mike Vecchione assisted on the man-advantage marker poured in 18:28 into the second period.

Lehigh Valley swelled its lead to a 3-0 advantage less than four minutes into the final frame of regulation when Cole Bardreau slipped a pass to the top of the Binghamton goal crease when Knight promptly punched in his 12th goal of the season. Bardreau and Colin McDonald assisted on the even-strength strike tallied 3:54 into the third period.

The Phantoms then landed the final conversion of the night with just over four minutes remaining when tremendous patience by Radel Fazleev produced an opportunity in the slot for Vorobyev who promptly converted his sixth goal of the season. Fazleev grabbed the only assist on the five-on-five tally netted 15:56 into the third period.

Lehigh Valley is now 26-1-1-1 when scoring four or more goals this season.

The Phantoms cap this week’s action on Sunday when they invade the Giant Center in Hershey for a 5:00 p.m. clash with the Bears. Sunday’s contest will be the finale in the regular season series between Lehigh Valley and rival Hershey.

Family 3-Packs are available for select games in March including three tickets, three hot dogs and three sodas with souvenir cups. The package is available for $67.50 and fans can add extra tickets to their group for $22.50 each. The Family 3-Packs are valid for games on March 9th, March 11th and March 18th. Secure your Family 3-Pack by calling the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at (610) 224-GOAL [4625].