March 23, 2018
By: Kristi Fulkerson
Last season the Phantoms qualified for Calder Cup playoffs for the first time since 2009 when the franchise played in Philadelphia. Tonight, Lehigh Valley can punch a return ticket to the postseason with a win at Providence (or with some help from Bridgeport).
As competitive as the Atlantic Division was (and is), Lehigh Valley didn’t clinch a berth until April 12, 2017 last season — a 2-1 OT road win against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in their third-to-last game of the regular season. That was their 46th victory last season, a win tonight would be No. 43 for the first-place Phantoms.
There are a couple different scenarios that would secure a playoff spot for Lehigh Valley. With their ‘Magic #’ at 2 — they need to get two points themselves or need Bridgeport to fail to get two points. The Sound Tigers are currently the fifth place team in the division (top 4 qualify for the postseason) so the further they fall from the final playoff spot, the closer the Phantoms get.
Lehigh Valley clinches a playoff berth Friday with:
(a) a win at Providence, OR
(b) a Bridgeport regulation loss at Syracuse, OR
(c) an OTL/SOL at Providence AND a Bridgeport OTL/SOL at Syracuse
As good as the Phantoms were last season (48 wins, 101 points), it took until the final week of the season to officially clinch a playoff berth so it would be nice to see them lock up a spot with three weeks to spare. When they do, the next goal is to secure home ice advantage (oh, and then win the Calder Cup).
Phantoms Remaining Schedule:
- Tonight at Providence
- 3/24 at Providence
- 3/30 vs. Providence —> yeah, that’s a lot of hockey versus a dangerous PBruins team
- 4/3 at Charlotte
- 4/4 at Charlotte —> would be the Phantoms 1st round opponent if the season ended today
- 4/7 at Hartford
- 4/8 at Providence (these guys again?)
- 4/13 vs. Bridgeport
- 4/14 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Keep up on the AHL’s playoff race here: https://theahl.com/2018-calder-cup-playoff-primer