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Phantoms return home tonight vs. Toronto after long road trip

Lehigh Valley faces Toronto tonight for its first home game in two weeks, beginning a five-game home slate.

After two weeks on the road, the Phantoms return to Allentown to a standing room only sell-out to face the Toronto Marlies at 7:05.

Lehigh Valley and Toronto both begin tonight’s game with a 5-6-1 record. Marlies are last in the North Division of the Western Conference; Phantoms sit in fourth place in the East Division in the Eastern Conference.

  • The Phantoms dropped three of four during their two-week road slate, but the team lost more than games during its November road trip. Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is out "indefinitely" with an ACL tear which he suffered after hitting the boards during the Phantoms 3-2 win in Manchester. Gostisbehere had surgery on Nov. 13, but Flyers front office has declined to comment on the status of his injury post-procedure.
  • Mark Alt and Brett Hextall, both upper body injuries, were scratched with Gostisbehere last night vs. the Penguins. Terry Murray announced earlier this week that Hextall was "close" to being ready to return, but is out again tonight for Lehigh Valley.
  • Alt is still rehabbing the injury he sustained against the Binghamton Senators on Oct. 25. The d-man hit the boards and had an awkward fall on his left shoulder during the 5-4 overtime win. Murray predicted he would be out four weeks, but Wednesday the head coach has announced he is still weeks away from being game-ready.
  • The Flyers franchise has not had much luck this season keeping healthy defensemen, but with Gostisbehere and Alt out, the Phantoms have the opportunity to give Robert Hagg the ice time he needs to develop.
  • At home, Hagg has been impressive. At just 19 years old, he has seven points and 38 SOG in his first 12 games with the Phantoms this season. He has good instincts in front of the net and seems to always be in the right place at the right time.
  • D-man Brandon Manning is in his fourth season with the Phantoms and has recorded two goals and five assists with Lehigh Valley-- including the Phantoms lone goal last night against the Penguins-- and an assist for the Flyers during his two-game stint with Philadelphia.
  • Phantoms have dropped two of three games versus the Penguins this season, including a 3-1 decision last night in Wilkes-Barre. Rob Zepp saved 20-of-22. Both teams were 1-8 on the power play.
  • Zepp has recorded 271 saves in nine games this season, and is 5-3-1 for the Phantoms.The 33 year old will start again tonight for the Phantoms.
  • During preseason, Murray suggested that Zepp and Stolarz would be a 1-2 goalie tandem, but 20 year old Stolarz has had just three starts (and losses) this season, all on the road.
  • Even though the rookie has not scored since Oct. 25, Scott Laughton still leads the team in goals, and sits in second among the league’s rookies in goals with five.
  • The Phantoms hold a definite home-ice advantage in Allentown, with a 2-1-1 record, coming from behind in three of the four home games this season.
  • After two weeks on the road the Phantoms will play five games at home in the next 12 days.

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