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Philadelphia Flyers prospects: Phantoms battle and another entry-level signing

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The Phantoms continue their uphill battle to the playoffs as the Flyers make another entry-level signing.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Phantoms battle through the week

The Phantoms entered last weekend hoping to make the most of a two game homestand.  After getting three points in three games the previous weekend they needed to sweep the weekend to push them towards the playoffs. They started out the weekend by hosting the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday night.

Rob Zepp started for the Phantoms, who will likely be relied upon heavily the rest of the season for Lehigh Valley. The Phantoms struck first and last, which is usually a recipe for success, and it was. After a scoreless first period Brett Hextall scored his fifth goal of the year from Jay Rosehill and Steven Delisle just two minutes into the second period. Zepp looked great through two as he faced 13 shots in the period after just four in the first period. He faced another ten in the third and the Sound Tigers finally found a chink in his armor with ten minutes left in regulation.

The Phantoms pushed hard in the third, outshooting their opponents 12-10 in the frame. A late high-sticking infraction against Bridgeport put the Phantoms in prime position to steal this game. They couldn't capitalize in regulation against the worst team in the conference but Jason Akeson rang one home under a minute into the extra session. It was his 18th on the season from Nick Cousins and Brandon Manning. The usual suspects got it done for the Phantoms in front of Zepp's 26 saves on 27 shots.

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The Phantoms got the first win, but would be shorthanded for their attempt at a sweep. With Michael Del Zotto going down on Saturday the Flyers called up Manning from Lehigh Valley, making him ineligible for that night's game with the Flyers travelling to Newark.

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After a two to one win on Friday the Phantoms welcomed the Portland Pirates to the PPL Center on Saturday night. The two teams combined for nine goals in a competitive contest. Unfortunately the Phantoms ended up on the wrong side of the nine in a five to four loss.

The Pirates scored 6:26 into the game and never really looked back. The Phantoms tied it up a few minutes later but the Pirates bounced right back to take a two to one then three to one lead. Lehigh Valley showed signs of life late in the second, scoring to bring the game within one.

The third period saw two goals to each side, including an empty netter for the Pirates and a Scott Laughton tally with just ten seconds remaining, but it was all for naught. Zepp stopped 27 of the 31 shots he faced in an admirable effort.

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A break-even homestand was followed up by a midweek trip to Toronto to face off against the Marlies. It was a back and forth game against our friends to the north with the Marlies scoring first before Cousins netted his 18th and 19th goals late in the period (both assisted by Gordon and Comrie) to give the Phantoms the lead heading into the locker room.

The second period remained scoreless until a Darroll Powe hooking minor sent Toronto to the man advantage. Lehigh Valley was able to kill off five of six Marlies' power plays, but this was Toronto's lone success. A late period goal on the power play seemed to give the Marlies momentum in a tie game heading into the third period.

The Phantoms went on a power play of their own early in the third period, and were able to convert. Akeson scored his 19th of the season from Cousins and Gordon who each tallied their third point on the night, but they weren't done yet. With Akeson matching Cousins' goal total with the go ahead goal earlier in the period, Nick wanted to capitalize on a rare penalty shot opportunity. His beautiful penalty shot goal not only ended up being the game winning goal but gave him his second hat trick this season. The Marlies scored a late period goal to make it interesting, but the Phantoms went into Toronto and came out with a win. Zepp stopped 26 of 30 shots in his third straight start.

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Phantoms point leaders

Player Position Games Goals Assists Points
Nick Cousins
C
Last 5 Games 5 3 2 5
Season 58 20 33 53
Brandon Manning
D
Last 5 Games 5 1 4 5
Season 54 10 32 42
Jason Akeson
RW
Last 5 Games 5 2 1 3
Season 40 19 19 38
Andrew Gordon
RW
Last 5 Games 5 2 3 5
Season 58 17 19 36

Cousins' second hat trick has nearly made him a point per game player this season. The recall of Manning might give Akeson a chance to slip into number two for the Phantoms as he is just below a point per game pace. Jason has points in three straight games and 14 of his last 17 games. Gordon had a six game scoring drought before scoring two goals Sunday and adding three assists on Wednesday. He has been streaky, and there isn't a better time to get hot than right now.

Prospect points

League Player Position Games Goals Assists Points
QMJHL
Nicolas Aube-Kubel
RW
Last 5 Games 5 4 3 7
Season 57 35 41 76
WHL
Radel Fazleev
LW
Last 5 Games 5 1 2 3
Season 65 18 27 45
WHL
Tyrell Goulbourne
LW
Last 5 Games 5 4 1 5
Season 59 22 21 43
QMJHL
Samuel Morin
D
Last 5 Games 5 0 2 2
Season 33 4 23 27
WHL
Travis Sanheim
D
Last 5 Games 5 1 3 4
Season 61 12 47 59

Nicolas Aube-Kubel really is unbelivable. The QMJHL is known as a high scoring league but this is impressive.

Radel Fazleev continues to show some promise as a bottom-six guy. Tyrell Goulbourne proved he was worth his entry-level contract this week. He scored four goals and added an assist in his two weekend games. He even had a fight!

Samuel Morin continues to develop his game and Travis Sanheim keeps giving Flyers fans reasons to be excited about the next couple of seasons.

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Diamonds in the rough?

The Flyers signed the high-scoring junior forward Danick Martel to an entry-level contract earlier this week.

The following is a brief scouting report on Martel, via Adam Herman of SB Nation's Rangers blog, Blueshirt Banter:

Obviously he's a longshot, as is any undrafted FA signing, but I really like this pickup for the Flyers. He's the kind of player that stands out immediately after just a couple viewings. I'd say he's a B+ skater, and he skates with purpose. He flies around the ice with the puck on his stick and combines that with good offensive sense.

Size is obviously the big concern with Martel. As plenty of players have shown, though, that can be overcome. He's going to need to add a bit of weight and he needs to become more of a 200-foot player. Those are things that can be worked on, though. You can't teach the speed and offensive sense that he possesses. If you're going to take a shot in the dark, then why not take one on a player with high upside? I think he has a shot at following in the path of a player like Tyler Ennis.

They weren't done yet. Yesterday the Flyers signed Cornell Forward Cole Bardreau to an entry-level contract. He will report to the Phantoms in the coming weeks.

Here's a scouting report on Bardreau from Jeff Cox of SB Nation College Hockey, who's seen Bardreau play a bunch.

Bardreau is a former NTDP player who came to Cornell with great promise, but a serious neck injury prevented the Fairport, NY native from realizing his full potential in a Big Red uniform.

Bardreau has always been a player who projects as a third or fourth liner. He has good closing speed and is more of a grinder than a scorer. A right shot who can play both center or the wing, he has strong hockey IQ. A former alternate captain for the U.S. Team at the World Juniors, He had 17 assists this season in his final go around in Ithaca.