GAME PREVIEW: PENGUINS at PHANTOMS – APRIL 14, 2018

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins take on their divisional rival, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, at PPL Center Saturday at 7:05pm.

The Penguins (44-22-6-2, 96 pts, .649%) are still fighting to secure home ice advantage in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, as they rank second in the American Hockey League’s Atlantic Division. The Phantoms (46-19-5-5, 102 pts, .680%) have already locked up the division title.

Tonight’s game is the twelfth and final meetings between the clubs this season.

TIME: 7:05 p.m.
PLACE: PPL Center
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SEASON SERIES

DATE HOME ROAD TIME/RESULT
Friday, October 13 WBS Lehigh Valley 5-0 WIN
Saturday, October 14 Lehigh Valley WBS  3-2 Loss
Friday, November 3 Lehigh Valley WBS  6-5 WIN
Friday, November 22 WBS Lehigh Valley  4-2 WIN
Saturday, December 6 Lehigh Valley WBS  5-0 Loss
Saturday, December 23 WBS Lehigh Valley  3-2 Loss
Wednesday, December 27 WBS Lehigh Valley  4-5 Loss
Wednesday, January 17 Lehigh Valley WBS  4-1 WIN
Friday, January 26 Lehigh Valley WBS  5-2 Loss
Saturday, February 3 WBS Lehigh Valley  2-1 WIN
Sunday, February 18 Lehigh Valley WBS  2-1 WIN
Saturday, April 14 Lehigh Valley WBS  7:05pm

RECENT ACTION
The Penguins held on to secure two important points in the standings with a 3-2 triumph against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Friday night at MassMutual Center. Daniel Sprong opened the game’s scoring at 15:50 of the first period. Teddy Blueger and Zach Trotman also tallied, with Trotman scoring the game winner at 11:33 of the final frame. The win gave the Penguins a season sweep of Springfield. Tristan Jarry made 28 saves for the victory.

Danick Martel scored twice and Isaac Ratcliffe buried his first professional goal Friday evening, as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms downed the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 5-2, inside PPL Center. Reece Willcox and Mike Vecchione rounded out the scoring for the Phantoms in front of goaltender Dustin Tokarski, who turned aside 29 of Bridgeport’s 31 total shots.

PENGUINS NOTES
Daniel Sprong established a new franchise record for goals by a rookie with his 31st tally of the season last night.

Despite only playing in nine of the 11 matchups between the Penguins and Phantoms this season, Jean-Sébastien Dea is tied for the lead in points in the series with 10 (5+5).

The Penguins continue to be tough to beat with a third period lead, going 28-1-1-0 on the season when leading after two frames.
Chris Summers next game will be his 450th AHL game

A point in tonight’s game secures home ice advantage for the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the Penguins.

PHANTOMS NOTES
With Friday’s triumph, the Phantoms have posted their highest point total (102) since the Philadelphia Phantoms ended the 2004-05 campaign with 103 standings points before capturing the 2005 Calder Cup Championship.

Friday’s victory also continued Lehigh Valley’s recent stellar play on home ice, as the Phantoms earned their sixth straight home victory and the 16th win over the team’s last 19 games at PPL Center (16-1-2).

Friday’s game marked the ninth multi-point effort and fifth multi-goal game this season for Martel, who has now matched his career high for points in a single season (40).

CONNECTIONS
Phantoms left winger Chris Conner played 87 games with Wilkes-Bare/Scranton from 2009-2011 and 2013-14 registering 76 points (28+48) during his tenure.

Phantoms defender Will O’Neill also played for the Penguins for one season tallying 50 points (8+42) in 2015-16.

Phantoms right winger Colin McDonald played 68 games in a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton uniform in 2011-12 with 49 points (14+35) to his credit.

Penguins left winger Tom Sestito played 46 games for the Phantoms from 2010-2013 when the team was located in Adirondack. He accumulated 20 points (11+9)

Penguins goaltender Michael Leighton also played for the Adirondack Phantoms from 2010-2013 playing in 88 games and recording seven of his AHL career leading 50 shut outs there.

Compiled by Jonathan Kliment