ALLENTOWN, Penn. — After advancing to the second round of the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2008, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms look to keep the good times rolling as they will be taking on the Charlotte Checkers in the Atlantic Division Finals. The Phantoms are looking for their fourth trip to the Conference Finals, while the Checkers are looking for their second trip to the Conference Finals. This series will be a matchup of the two highest-scoring teams in the AHL, as Charlotte lead the league with 262 goals and Lehigh Valley was second with 260 goals during the regular-season.
Final Regular Season Records:
Lehigh Valley Phantoms: 47-19-5-5, 105 points (1st in the Atlantic Division, 2nd in the Eastern Conference)
Charlotte Checkers: 46-26-1-3, 96 points (3rd in the Atlantic Division, 5th in the Eastern Conference)
North Division Semifinals Results:
Phantoms eliminated the Providence Bruins in four games.
- Game 1: Phantoms 3 @ Bruins 2
- Game 2: Phantoms 3 @ Bruins 5
- Game 3: Bruins 1 @ Phantoms 4
- Game 4: Bruins 3 @ Phantoms 4 OT
Checkers eliminated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in three games.
- Game 1: Penguins 2 @ Checkers 3 OT
- Game 2: Penguins 1 @ Checkers 4
- Game 3: Checkers 7 @ Penguins 3
Game 1 – Friday, May 4 – Charlotte at LEHIGH VALLEY 7:05 p.m. ET
Game 2 – Saturday, May 5 – Charlotte at LEHIGH VALLEY 7:05 p.m. ET
Game 3 – Tuesday, May 8 – Lehigh Valley at CHARLOTTE 7:00 p.m. ET
Game 4 – Wednesday, May 9 – Lehigh Valley at CHARLOTTE 7:00 p.m. ET
*Game 5 – Saturday, May 12 – Lehigh Valley at CHARLOTTE 6:00 p.m. ET
*Game 6 – Monday, May 14 – Charlotte at LEHIGH VALLEY 7:05 p.m. ET
*Game 7 – Tuesday, May 15 – Charlotte at LEHIGH VALLEY 7:05 p.m. ET
*=> If Necessary
Season Series Recap:
In the regular season, these two teams met eight times and split the meetings with each winning four games. The Checkers outscored the Phantoms in the eight meetings 28 to 22. Forward Andrew Potularski scored six of his 22 goals this season against the Phantoms, including a couple of game winners for Charlotte. Keeping him off the scorecard will be a colossal task for Scott Gordon’s team.
How Lehigh Valley Wins:
Keep the foot on the gas pedal and play a full 60 minutes. When playing with a lead throughout the season, the Phantoms would play sluggish in the third period which allowed opposing teams to come back, and in some instances, win the game. A prime example of the Phantoms taking the foot off the gas pedal was in game four of their first-round series.Though Lehigh Valley was up 3-1 after two, the Bruins would come back late in the third period which sent the game to overtime. The Phantoms need to also play some better defense in front of Alex Lyon. In the three games with Lyon in net against Providence, he made an average of 43 saves which is ten fewer than what Dustin Tokarski saw in game three.
How Charlotte Wins:
Steal a game in Lehigh Valley and do not play from behind. The Checkers will be traveling to the PPL Center for the first two games of this series, which was a difficult place for road teams this season. In the regular season, the Phantoms had the best home record in the AHL at 27-6-3-2, with one of those losses in regulation coming to Charlotte back in late December. As they enter game one, the Phantoms will have a nine-game home winning streak which dates back to early March. Playing from behind has been Charlotte’s Achilles heel this postseason, which can’t please head coach Mike Vellucci. In two of the first round games against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Charlotte found itself trailing 2-0 early, and needed overtime back in game one to complete the comeback.