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Phantoms game suspended ahead of second period

Troubling news out of the AHL.

AHL: MAR 30 Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Cleveland Monsters Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For the first time in nearly a year, Alex Lyon started in goal for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. However, his return would last just twenty minutes, as their game against the Binghamton Devils was suspended last night, just before the start of the second period.

As the teams were coming out of the locker rooms, it became clear that something was amiss when the Phantoms failed to step onto the ice. Shortly after, they were ushered back to the locker room while the Devils were still preparing for the middle frame. After conversations with personnel on both benches, the Devils were seemingly informed that the game had been suspended, and went back to the locker room.

The AHL released the following statement:

“Tonight’s American Hockey League game between the Binghamton Devils and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL Game #123) in Newark, N.J. has been suspended following the first period due to league COVID-19 protocols affecting the Devils.”

It’s a bit frustrating that an alleged positive test result came to light in the middle of the contest, instead of prior to puck-drop. The health and safety of everyone involved must be the top priority. For all sports, not just hockey, decisions have to be made out of an abundance of caution in the midst of a pandemic.

At the time of the suspension, the Phantoms and Devils had played to a 1-1 tie, with goals from Graeme Clark and Cal O’Reilly. It is unclear when the game will be scheduled to restart. For the time being, we’re just hoping that this is not the start of a breakout for either team involved.

The Phantoms are scheduled to meet Devils again on Saturday, in Lehigh Valley, before facing the Hershey Bears that Sunday. At the time of this writing, both games remain scheduled to be played, but that could change at any point.