The Phantoms will take on the Hershey Bears tonight for the second time this week as Lehigh Valley battles for another important two points over a tough divisional rival.
Sunday the Phantoms battled Hershey for the sixth time this season, where the Phantoms could have taken top-billing in the division from the Bears, but in a 2-5 setback, Lehigh Valley dropped to .500 (3-3) in the series against Hershey.
With Rob Zepp in the middle of his third-week in Philadelphia, goaltender Anthony Stolarz is 1-2 since moving up to the premier goaltender position in Lehigh Valley. Stolarz celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday with his family in Jackson, NJ, but will not likely get his second consecutive start against the Bears, as he is 0-3 against the intra-state rival this season.
Martin Ouellette will likely start in net tonight. The ECHL call-up is 2-0 in AHL starts, including an eight-round shootout victory in his first complete game with the Phantoms.
- The Phantoms have yet to drop a game to Hershey on their own ice, and have outscored the Bears 9-4 when playing in Lehigh Valley.
- Center Blair Jones will miss his third game in a row tonight, suffering from a lower-body injury he sustained on Friday against Albany.
- Currently the Phantoms are ranked third in the East Division, just one point behind former division leader, Wilkes-Barre Scranton, with 47 points and one game in-hand over Hershey, the new leader in the East.
- In the race for playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference, the Phantoms slipped from eighth place—the playoff cutoff—to 11th with their two losses this weekend. However, a successful two-points today would move Lehigh Valley to seventh place in the conference, and into second in the division.
- Phantoms d-men Brandon Manning and Oliver Lauridsen had a busy week after being called up to Philadelphia yesterday just some 10-hours before puck-drop on the Flyers most heated rivalry, then travel back to Lehigh Valley for another rivalry of their own.
- With the Flyers heading on the All-Star break, the Phantoms were lucky to be able to put Manning and Lauridsen back in the lineup tonight to battle Hershey. However, the two veteran defenseman will now play five games in six days.