Final Regular Season Records:
Lehigh Valley Phantoms: 48-23-5 (101 pts — 2nd in Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference)
Hershey Bears: 48-22-8-3 (97 pts — 3rd in Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference)
SERIES SCHEDULE: (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and all times local):
Game 1 – Friday, April 21 – Hershey at LEHIGH VALLEY 7:05 pm ET
Game 2 – Saturday, April 22 – Hershey at LEHIGH VALLEY 7:05 pm ET
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 26 – Lehigh at HERSHEY 7 pm CT
Game 4 – Saturday, April 29 – Toledo at HERSHEY 7 pm CT
*Game 5 – Sunday, April 30 – Hershey at LEHIGH VALLEY 5:05 pm ET
*=> If Necessary
Season Series Recap:
The in-state rivals faced each other 12 times during the regular season, with the Phantoms coming out on top 7-4-1-0 (Hershey was 5-5-1-1). All but three of the games came before the NHL trade deadline and Hershey’s additions of Tom Gilbert and Pheonix Copley. However, the Phantoms have taken three of the past four meetings.
How Lehigh Wins:
Even with revamped defense and goaltending, goals generated by net front presence have been a consistent issue for Hershey. The Phantoms will be well served to put lots of traffic in front of Copley and look for deflections and rebounds. Without Jordan Weal they will need to lean on players like Greg Carey, Andy Miele and former Bear Chris Connor who each have ten or more points against Hershey this season.
How Hershey Wins:
In the head-to-head season series, the team that scored first was 9-3-0-1. With the series starting on the road it will be crucial for the Bears to strike early to set the tone. Keep running the offense through Travis Boyd who has the Phantoms number this season. Boyd has 15 points in 12 games straight up, not to mention his previous knack for scoring big playoff goals.
Both teams come into the playoffs riding win streaks (four for Lehigh and five for Hershey). The matchup also features two of the league’s top three point-scoring defenseman T.J. Brennan (LV), and Christian Djoos (HER).
In goal, Anthony Stolarz looks to miss the rest of the season with an injury meaning Alex Lyon will carry the load between the pipes for the Phantoms. Lyon handled the majority of the starts against Hershey going 5-3-1 with a 2.74 GAA and .905 save percentage in nine starts. He’ll be opposed by Pheonix Copley who is 18-8 since joining the Bears via trade at the NHL level by Washington. He’s 1-2-0 with a 3.01 GAA and .910 SV % in three starts vs Lehigh.
Who Ya Got?
The best of five series gets underway Friday, April 21 at 7:05 pm at the PPL Center in Allentown.
Stay tuned to The Sin Bin for news, highlights and recaps from the Calder Cup Playoffs.