Playoff Hockey will officially return for the Phantoms for the first time in eight years when Lehigh Valley takes on the Hershey Bears in the Atlantic Division semifinals on Friday, Apr. 21 at the PPL Center in Allentown.
1. WHEN, WHERE & WHO
The #2 seeded Phantoms take on the #3 seeded Bears in a Best of Five first round series… The Phantoms played the Hershey Bears 12 times during the regular season and won the season series with a 7-4-1-0 record.
Game 1 - Fri., Apr. 21 - Hershey at Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.
Game 2 - Sat., Apr. 22 - Hershey at Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.
Game 3 - Wed., Apr. 26 - Lehigh Valley at Hershey, 7:00 p.m.
*Game 4 - Sat., Apr. 29 - Lehigh Valley at Hershey, 7:00 p.m.
*Game 5 - Sun., Apr. 30 - Hershey at Lehigh Valley, 5:05 p.m.
* if necessary
2. HOW THEY GOT THERE
The Phantoms finished with a 48-23-5 record and 101 points, which tied for second overall in the entire AHL standings… Their 48 wins are the most since the 2004-05 season (48), when the team went on to win their second Calder Cup Title… The Phantoms led the AHL with 260 goals scored and average GPG at 3.42, as well as the most power-play goals (73)… The Phantoms also finished in the AHL's Top 5 on both the power play (5th at 20.7%) and penalty kill (5th at 84.0%).
3. YOUTH IS SERVED
The Flyers had 11 draft picks play at least one game for the Phantoms this season and have an additional three players on Entry Level Contracts with seven of those players in their rookie season.
FORWARDS: Cole Bardreau (ELC), Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Radel Fazleev, Tyrell Goulbourne, Scott Laughton, Danick Martel (ELC) & Taylor Leier.
DEFENSEMEN: Mark Friedman, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim & Reece Willcox.
GOALTENDERS: Alex Lyon (ELC), Anthony Stolarz.
4. VETERAN PRESENCE
Defenseman TJ Brennan led the Phantoms in scoring with 60 points, which also tied for the AHL lead among d-men - his 21 goals also led all AHL d-men… Captain Colin McDonald finished second on the team with 25 goals, the second-best in his AHL career… Greg Carey led the Phantoms with 28 goals, which ranked sixth in the AHL… Andy Miele led the team in assists (47) and finished second on the team in scoring with 57 points (13g-44a)… Chris Conner ranked third on the team in both goals (22) and overall points (56).
5. THIS & THAT
- Goaltender Anthony Stolarz will miss the entire playoffs with a lower body injury… Rookie Alex Lyon will be the club's starter - he posted a 27-14-5 record with a 2.74 GAA and .912 save percentage… His 27 wins led all rookies and tied for fourth in the entire AHL.
- Rookie Travis Sanheim appeared in all 76 games, one of three AHL rookie defensemen to do so, and finished second on the team's defense with 37 points (10g-27a).
- Scott Laughton led the team with a plus-minus of +17 and tied for the AHL lead with four shorthanded goals… He had 19 goals and 20 assists for 39 points in 60 games.
- Defensemen Robert Hagg and Sam Morin each received recalls to the Flyers and made their NHL debut, while Taylor Leier scored his first NHL goal and Anthony Stolarz earned his first NHL win and NHL shutout with the Flyers this season.
- The Phantoms led all AHL teams with the most third-period goals (106) and had the most third-period comebacks, winning eight times when trailing after two periods.
- The Flyers 2nd round pick (48th overall) in 2016, goaltender Carter Hart has been reassigned by the club from the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League (WHL) to Lehigh Valley.