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POSTGAME: Phantoms drop heartbreaker in Game 2

Hershey tallies three times in third period to take, 2-0 series lead

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

A heated start to the Game 2 saw the Phantoms get out to a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes of play, but the Hershey Bears fought back and scored three unanswered, including the game-winning tally with 33 seconds left in regulation to earn a 5-4 win in Lehigh Valley on Saturday night.

Greg Carey scored twice and added an assist, while Chris Conner recorded three helpers in the loss.

Starting goaltender, Alex Lyon, left the game due to injury at the midway point of the third period after stopping 10 of 13 shots. Back up, Martin Ouellette, came in relief making two saves the rest of the way.

Below are some news & notes from the game:

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POSTGAME: Phantoms drop Game 1 in OT

Bears tally only goal in 1-0 overtime win in Lehigh Valley

by Lehigh Valley Phantoms / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

Calder Cup Playoff hockey hit the Lehigh Valley and PPL Center for the first time ever Friday evening as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms opened their best-of-five division semifinals series against the rival Hershey Bears. 

Friday's contest featured everything that exemplifies the excitement of postseason hockey - tremendous intensity, raucous fans, bone-crushing checks and stellar goaltending. In fact, the netminding was so impressive on both sides, the series opener featured just one goal as visiting Hershey was able to escape downtown Allentown with a 1-0 overtime victory.
    
The Bears now lead the best-of-five series 1-0 with an opportunity for the Phantoms to level the rivalry series on Saturday with Game 2 at PPL Center.Video: Phantoms goaltender Alex Lyon discusses 1-0 OT loss

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Flyers agree to terms with forward Connor Bunnaman

Fourth round pick in 2016 to ink entry-level contract with Flyers

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with forward Connor Bunnaman, the club's fourth round pick (109th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, according to general manager Ron Hextall.

Bunnaman, 19 (04/16/98), recently completed his third season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Kitchener Rangers where he led the club with 37 goals and 16 power-play goals, while finishing third on the team with 52 points in 64 games.

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Pole Position: A look at the Phantoms-Bears lineups

The stage is set for a high-powered, best of five division series

by Bill Meltzer @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The Phantoms vs. Bears playoff series represents a clash between the AHL's highest-scoring (Lehigh Valley) and second highest-scoring (Hershey) clubs. The Phantoms racked up 260 goals during the 76-game regular season, while Hershey lit the lamp 219 times. 

 

PHANTOMS OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER

Even without AHL All-Star Game selection Jordan Weal (15 goals, 47 points in 42 games for the Phantoms prior to dressing in 23 NHL games for the Flyers), the Phantoms have a deep and potent attack. Five different players scored 20 or more goals, four players produced at least 50 points, seven players (excluding Weal) had at least 40 points and 11 players (again excluding Weal) scored double-digit goals.

Leading the way offensively for the Phantoms was high-scoring veteran offensive defenseman T.J. Brennan (21 goals including 12 power play tallies, 60 points). He was tied for the AHL scoring lead among all defensemen. Veteran forwards such as Andy Miele (7th in the AHL with 44 assists among his 57 points), Chris Conner (22 goals, 56 points), team captain Colin McDonald (25 goals) and Greg Carey (28 goals, 51 points) brought a new dimension to the Lehigh Valley attack. Pint-sized speed demon Danick Martel recorded his second straight 20-goal season.

Rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim, the Flyers' first-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, spent much of the first half of the season working on his play without the puck but the speedy and offensively gifted blueliner saw the points start to come with regularity in December. After going goalless with 10 assists through the first 23 games of the season, Sanheim finished with 10 goals - nine at even strength - and 14 assists for 24 points over the remainder of the season.

Up front, the Phantoms also boasted a solid cadre of two-way forwards. Third-year pros Taylor Leier (13 goals, 37 points, +10 in 48 games) and Scott Laughton (19 goals including four shorthanded tallies, 39 points, +17 in 60 games) brought both speed and strong abilities both with and without the puck. Corban Knight (11 goals, 40 points, +8) also contributed in a variety of different ways. Cole Bardreau (nine goals, 24 points, 85 penalty minutes) added grit and tenacity.

Rookie players such as Nicolas Aube-Kubel (nine goals, nine assists in 71 games) and Radel Fazleev (six goals, 10 assists in 65 games) were expected to work on their all-around abilities this season and to earn their ice time. Both 20-year-old forwards produced a few highlights over the course of the season but are still works in progress in terms of showing consistently successful adaptation from the junior level to the pros.

While few opponents found much success when they tried to out-skate and out-chance Gordon's team, the Bears had their own array of players who found the net with regularity during the season.

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Rivalry Renewed: Phantoms-Bears add another chapter as playoffs begin

A detailed look into the rivalry, series matchup and what to expect starting Friday

by Bill Meltzer @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

Ever since the creation of the Phantoms in 1996 to become the Philadelphia Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Flyers' previous AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, have been the Phantoms' biggest rival. That rivalry will be renewed when the teams meet in the Calder Cup playoffs, starting on Friday, April 21 at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA in the first game of a best-in-five series.

This year marks the fifth time the Phantoms and Bears have met in the playoffs. Hershey prevailed in 1997, 2000 and 2009, while the Philadelphia Phantoms beat the Bears in 1998 en route to their first Calder Cup championship.

For Lehigh Valley, now in their third season in Allentown after five campaigns in Glens Falls, NY as the Adirondack Phantoms, the upcoming series marks their first trip to the Calder Cup playoffs in eight years; dating back to the 2009 first-round loss to the eventual Calder Cup champion Bears in the final season at the Spectrum. The Washington Capitals-affiliated Hershey team lost in the Calder Cup Finals in 2016 to the Lake Erie Monsters.

 

AS TOUGH AS THEY COME

The Atlantic Division was by far the deepest and toughest in the American Hockey League during the 2016-17 season. Boasting the AHL's second-best regular season record (48-23-5, 101 points), the Phantoms finished six points behind the Wilkes Barre/ Scranton Penguins and four points ahead of Hershey (43-22-11, 97 points) in the Atlantic. 

During the regular season, the Phantoms and Bears played each other 12 times. The Phantoms went 7-4-1 against the Bears. 

The Phantoms went 3-3-0 in the six games in Allentown and 4-1-1 in the games in Hershey. Overall, the Bears' 54 points on home ice ranked third in the AHL while the Phantoms' 51 road points represented the AHL's second-best road record.

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TODAY IN FLYERS HISTORY: April 20

Kerr Hat Trick Gives Flyers Jump on Islanders: April 20, 1987

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The Philadelphia Flyers opened the 1987 Patrick Division Finals (Wales Conference Semifinals) with a 4-2 victory at the Spectrum over the New York Islanders in Game One of the series on April 20, 1987. Before the Islanders even knew what hit them, Philly was playing with a lead and went out to enjoy a 4-0 edge before the game was even 23 minutes old.

Prolific goal scorer Tim Kerr led the way, racking up a hat trick on two power play goals and an even strength tally, sandwiched around a Don Nachbaur goal. Brian Propp and Pelle Eklund each collected two assists while the top-pairing defense duo of Mark Howe and Brad McCrimmon helped slam the door after the Isles cut the deficit in half late in the game. Rookie goaltender Ron Hextall stopped 26 of 28 shots.

The hat trick was the 15th (combined regular season and playoffs, second in the postseason) of the 20 that Kerr scored in his Flyers career. The goals were his fourth, fifth and sixth of the 1987 playoffs.

 

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Four Flyers named to Team Canada for World Championships

Couturier, Giroux, Konecny & Simmonds to represent the Flyers and their country

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

Hockey Canada announced today that four Flyers forwards Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny and Wayne Simmonds have been named to the roster for Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Championships.

This year's tournament will take place from May 5-21 and is set in Paris, France, and Cologne, Germany.

This will be Giroux's third time representing Canada at the IIHF World Championships. He helped his country win gold in 2015 in the Czech Republic where he averaged a point per game with 10 points (3g-7a) in 10 contests, which included a goal and an assist in the gold medal game as Canada defeated Russia, 6-1.

Giroux also represented Canada at the 2013 tournament, when he also averaged a point per-game pace with three goals and five assists for eight points in eight games.  

Earning a gold medal alongside Giroux at the 2015 World Championships was Sean Couturier, who will be playing in his second Worlds with Canada. Couturier posted a +13 rating in the tournament while adding three goals and four assists for seven points and appeared in all 10 games.

Wayne Simmonds will also be entering his second World Championships for Team Canada. He last appeared in 2013 where he was teammates with Claude Giroux. Simmonds appeared in all eight games, recording one goal.

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TODAY IN FLYERS HISTORY: April 19

Flyers Complete Sweep of Maple Leafs: April 19, 1975

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

In route to winning their second straight Stanley Cup, the Philadelphia Flyers closed out a quarterfinal round road sweep of the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 4-3 road victory in overtime of Game Four on April 19, 1975.

 After getting shut out by Bernie Parent in Games 2 and 3 of the series, the Leafs stuck early in the first period before a pair of first-period goals by Reggie Leach set up by Bobby Clarke -- once at even strength and once on the power play - sendt the game to the first intermission tied at 2-2.

LCB linemate Bill Barber gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead in the second period but Toronto's Ron Ellis forced overtime with his second goal of the game, knotting the score at 13:23 of the third period. The Flyers made short work of OT.

Off a setup from behind the net by Dave "the Hammer" Schultz, a wide-open Andre "Moose" Dupont scores the series-clincher at 1:45 on the first shot of the extra frame. Dupont launched into his celebratory "Moose Shuffle" and was mobbed by teammates. Parent finished with 28 saves.

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Flyers Announce First Annual Flyers Charity Classic

New major summer event to include 5K walk/run; 10 mile, 50K and 100K bike rides

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that the club is set to host a major summertime run, walk, and ride event this July, the Philadelphia Flyers Charity Classic. Scheduled for Sunday, July 16, 2017, the Flyers Charity Classic encompasses a 5K walk or run, a 10-mile family bike ride, as well as 50K and 100K bike rides.

The event is a joint venture of Flyers Charities and the Flyers Alumni Association together with g4 Productions, which specializes in large-scale, participatory sporting events. The event will also be supported by the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation department as well as the Philadelphia Police.

"We've proudly hosted the Flyers Charities 5K for five years now and are excited to enhance that event with a new summer date, new course, and the addition of a cycling component to welcome even more fans this year," said Flyers President Paul Holmgren. "This new event will showcase our great city as a recreational leader, as these new routes will take runners and riders through very scenic courses."

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TODAY IN FLYERS HISTORY: April 18

Lindbergh Blanks Islanders in Series Opener: April 17, 1985

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Pelle Lindbergh was even better during the postseason than he had been in backstopping the youngest team in the NHL to the league's top regular season record in the 1984-85 campaign. In the midst of the NHL's highest-scoring era, Lindbergh posted a 2.50 goals against average and .914 save percentage during the 1985 Stanley Cup playoffs.

In the opening game of the Patrick Division Finals (Wales Conference Semifinals), Lindbergh played brilliantly in shutting out the New York Islanders; the first of three shutouts he posted during the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Final. Although Lindbergh didn't see a high volume of shots (22) in Game One, he had to make several tough saves along the way.

Overall, the Flyers outskated and outchanced the former four-time Stanley Cup champions for most of the game. For the game, Philly held a 38-22 shot edge including a 17-6 advantage in the first period. However, the match remained scoreless until early in the second period.  

Brian Propp set up Rick Tocchet to open up the scoring at 4:10 of the second period. At 10:43, after blocking a Gord Dineen shot and speeding up the ice on the counterattack, Propp fed Todd Bergen for a scoring chance. Islanders goaltender Kelly Hrudey made the first save but Tim Kerr (6th goal of the playoffs) immediately pounced on the rebound and deposited it into net for a 2-0 Flyers lead. In the 3rd period, Tocchet stole the puck from superstar defenseman and Ron Sutter scored for a put-away insurance goal with 3:36 left in the game.

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