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Phantoms are back in Allentown vs. Wilkes-Barre

Lehigh Valley takes on Wilkes-Barre tonight after spending two weeks on the road.

Pat Jacoby Photography

After two weeks, and five games on the road, the Phantoms finally return home tonight to take on Wilkes-Barre with hopes to bounce back from a tough 6-1 loss in their last-ever appearance in Worcester, Saturday before the Sharks move to San Jose.

Brandon Manning was the Phantoms (29-26-6-1) lone goal scorer Saturday night as Anthony Stolraz and the 12th-ranked Phantoms were not enough to take down the Worcester Sharks, who sit just one point behind the coveted last-place playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Tonight is the first of five remaining matchups between the Phantoms and Penguins (36-21-3-4), making up more than a third of Lehigh Valley's remaining regular season schedule. The Phantoms are 4-2-1, including two shootout wins against Wilkes-Barre, including their most recent 5-4 shootout win on Valentine's Day.

The Penguins, ranked fourth in the conference, have lost three straight, two from the hand of lower-ranked Eastern Conference opponents.

  • The Phantoms will play one of their biggest rivals without their leading scorer, as Nick Cousins has begun his NHL career during the Flyers most recent road trip. With 55 total points this season, Cousins has been most productive in 2015, scoring 14 goals and 24 assists since Jan. 1.
  • The Phantoms welcomed back Blair Jones this weekend, who had been out with a lower body injury since mid-Jan, but due to an illegal check to the head, Friday in Hartford, and will serve his one-game suspension today vs. Wilkes-Barre.
  • Rob Zepp will start tonight after getting some much-needed rest last night, allowing No. 2 goaltender, Anthony Stolarz battle between the pipes in Worcester.
  • Kevin Goumas has been a healthy scratch in two consecutive games. The center has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 52 games played.
  • Cole Bardreau, a right winger who signed an amateur contract with the Phantoms last week, scored his first professional goal in his pro hockey debut, Saturday, in Lehigh Valley’s 3-2 comeback-loss to Hartford. The 21-year-old recently graduated from Cornell University, where he led the team in scoring with 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 30 games during his senior season. His entry-level contract with the Flyers, signed on March 12, will not begin until the 2015-2016 season.
  • After dropping two of five on the road in the last two weeks, the Phantoms are 10 points behind the Springfield Falcons (75 points), who hold the eighth and final playoff spot (for now). They are closely trailed by Worcester (74 points) by just one point, with a seven point deficit from the next-closest team, the Albany Devils (67 points).