Allentown, PA – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms used their two-game preseason series this past weekend to help shape their roster down to 20 players. The Phantoms made 13 cuts on Sunday and received one of the two players they were expecting to be sent down from their NHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Phantoms loaned eight players to the Reading Royals to start Sunday, including forwards Alex Krushelnyski, Chris McCarthy, and Matt Willows, defencemen James de Haas, Frank Hora, Nolan Zajac, and goalies Mark Dekanich and John Muse.
They also returned forwards Mike Huntebrinker, Mark Naclerio, and Derek Whitmore, along with defenceman Ryan Segalla to Reading, as that’s where they were destined to start the season unless they impressed this past weekend. The final cut came in the form of Carsen Twarynski, who was sent back to his junior team in Kelowna.
Their lone roster addition came in the form of forward Oskar Lindblom, who comes back to the Valley after a stint there last season. The other cut from Flyers camp is expected to be Travis Sanheim, but no move has been made official yet.
The cuts were more to narrow down the Phantoms roster than anything, as the entire team did not impress Friday or Saturday night against the Charlotte Checkers. Friday nights game ended in an 8-1 final, with Whitmore getting the lone goal for the Phantoms while goalie Leland Irving made 35 saves on 43 shots. Lehigh Valley gave up four power play goals on six times short-handed and allowed Charlotte forward Nick Schilkey to score a hat trick and add an assist. The would not fare much better Saturday.
Saturday the Phantoms got goalie Alex Lyon back from the Flyers and hoped he could salvage the final game of the preseason. Lyon made 25 saves just 48 hours after making 31 against the Boston Bruins in Philadelphia, but it was not enough as Charlotte skated away with a 5-2 win. Greg Carey and Chris Conner had the goals for Lehigh Valley, getting back to their scoring touches from a year ago.
Surprisingly, Irving, despite a tough performance Friday night, seems to have gotten the job as Lyons backup while Anthony Stolarz rehabs his injured left leg. Most thought Dekanich would get the spot, having been with the organization last season and knowing what the team looks for out of its goalies. Irving impressed in Flyers camp, which may have helped him secure the spot even though he had a poor outing Friday.
As stated, Lehigh Valleys roster currently sits at 21, as they await for the final cut from Flyers camp. Lindblom was reassigned shortly after Philadelphia’s pre-season finale against the New York Islanders, and the final one should come by Monday at the latest.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms start their regular season this coming Saturday, October 7th. They play their in-state rivals the Hershey Bears at home, the same place Hershey ended their season in game 5 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals last year. However their roster looks, the Phantoms will be looking for revenge against their toes from chocolate town.