The Phantoms welcome one of their biggest rivals to the Lehigh Valley for the last time in their inaugural season tonight to conclude their four-game home stand. Tonight marks the 11th of 12 total meetings between the Phantoms and the Bears this season, with their regular series finale scheduled for Saturday, April 18 in Hershey. Hershey (44-21-5-3) holds a 6-4 edge over the Phantoms (32-32-7-1), winning four of its last five contests over Lehigh Valley.
The Phantoms have not played Hershey in over a month. The last time out, the Phantoms were shutout 2-0 on the Bears' home ice. The Phantoms power play went 0 for 6 in the loss, and Phillipp Grubauer went a perfect 37-for-37 in the Hershey victory.
The Bears are working towards locking in the second seed in the Eastern Conference after they punched their playoff ticket on March 29 as just the second team in the AHL to clinch. Hershey currently sits in the second-seed in the conference, five points in front of current third seed, Hartford. The Phantoms playoff chances ended last week in their shutout loss to Wilkes-Barre.
- Hershey center Kris Newbury earned a one-game suspension for instigating a fight in the final minutes of the third period vs. St. Johns on Saturday, and will serve his suspension tonight against the Phantoms. Newbury has eight points (3 goals, five assists) against Lehigh Valley.
- Nick Cousins leads the Phantoms with seven points through the season-long series versus Hershey. Cousins will be available tonight after being returned from Philadelphia Saturday.
- Along with Cousins, Brandon Manning also returned to Lehigh Valley after spending the last eight-games of the Flyers NHL season in Philadelphia. Jason Akeson, who played in the Flyers season finale Sunday before the Phantoms took on Norfolk, will also be available tonight against Hershey.
- With players return from the Flyers, the Phantoms returned Adam Comrie and Andrew Johnston to the Reading Royals as their ECHL affiliates begin their playoff journey.