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Phantoms hope to remain unbeaten in 2015 as they take on Albany tonight in Allentown

After a 4-0 road slate to kick off 2015, the Phantoms will battle the Albany Devils tonight in their first home game of the New Year.

Pat Jacoby Photography

2015 has been a good year for the Phantoms (so far).

Lehigh Valley is on a 4-0 run in the New Year -- all on the road -- which, for the Phantoms is a huge step from the 4-10-2 road record they held in 2014.

While the Phantoms (18-12-4-1) have been hot on the road recently, the team will return home to Lehigh Valley tonight where they have posted an impressive 10-2-2-1 record in the PPL Center to take on the Albany Devils (17-14-2-4).

This season Lehigh Valley is 0-2 against Albany, including an overtime loss in mid-December.

The Devils sit in fourth place in the more competitive Northeast Division with 41 points (same as Lehigh Valley). Despite sitting in third place the Phantoms hold the best winning percentage in the East Division, and are quickly closing the gap between the Bears and Penguins to move up in the divisional standings.

The Phantoms have outscored opponents 16-8 in their four road victories, and bested divisional foe, the Norfolk Admirals back-to-back in an overtime and shootout victory during their two-game series to kick off the New Year.

East Division competition heating up

Lehigh Valley is hot at the right time. With East Division leader Wilkes-Barre on a four-game losing streak, and Hershey beginning to lose steam, the Phantoms are just three points away from taking the premier spot in the division, despite currently sitting in third.

The Phantoms have also played the least amount of games in the division with 35, and they are tied with just one other team in the league for the least amount of games played. Tonight starts off another three-in-three weekend for the Phantoms which, if successful, will allow Lehigh Valley to jump to the front of the East Division pack. However, the team will need to pace itself, as they are scheduled to play six games in the next 11 days, and another three-in-three weekend following.

Phantom’s Rob Zepp in Philly

33-year old Rob Zepp has been Lehigh Valley’s go-to goaltender, with an impressive 11-5-4-2-1 AHL record this season. But even more impressively, Zepp has posted a 2-1 record in his first three games in the NHL (with his only loss through at no fault of his own). Zepp’s short appearance in the NHL has created a lot of buzz around the league, being the oldest goaltender since 1926 to win his NHL debut, and having a few should-be top-10 saves.

With Zepp out of the lineup, young guns Anthony Stolarz and Martin Ouellette will take the reigns as the Phantoms goaltending tandem while Zepp completes his run in Philadelphia (assuming his placement with the Flyers is only temporary).

Stolarz will likely start tonight, with Ouellette getting his second AHL start later this week, as the Phantoms will play six games in the next 11 days.

Ouellette's first AHL start was one to remember, where he skillfully blocked every shot in an eight-round shootout against Norfolk just three days before his 23rd birthday. After his outstanding performance in his first AHL start, players and head coach Terry Murray agreed that Ouellette is an AHL caliber player, but due to roster limitations in Lehigh Valley, his assignment in the ECHL was necessary, despite being talented enough to play with the Phantoms.