May 29, 2018
By: Kristi Fulkerson
The LV Phantoms' best season in franchise history ended in a 4-game sweep to the Toronto Marlies, following a 3-1 Friday at PPL Center in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Marlies proved why they were the best team in the league all season, winning their ninth consecutive playoff game and advancing to the Calder Cup Finals for the first time since 2012. And they may not lose another game this postseason. 

I think the players, coaches, and fans alike would agree Toronto is the best team they’ve seen all season. Sure, Games 1 (4-3 L) and 2 (3-2 OTL) could’ve gone either way, “but they didn’t” as goaltender Alex Lyon said after the game. 

Even though the Phantoms' season ends just one round shy of the finals, there’s no question the 2017-18 Phantoms team is the best we’ve seen in Lehigh Valley since the team arrived in 2014 — and the numbers prove it. 

The Phantoms finished the regular season with 104 points, going 47-19-10. Their 27 home wins were most in the AHL and they finished the regular season with an impressive 17-1-2 record at PPL Center. Lehigh Valley won their first-ever home playoff game, their first-ever playoff series (two, in fact) and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. After qualifying for playoffs last season, ending a 7-year franchise drought, this year’s squad returning to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2005 when the Philadelphia Phantoms last won the Calder Cup. 
Even though we didn’t see any Western Conference teams this season, I think Toronto is the only team that was going to deny the Phantoms a chance at the championship. The Marlies are four wins away from their first Calder Cup in franchise history, sweeping Syracuse (4th best record in AHL) in the North Division finals & the Phantoms (2nd best record) in impressive fashion. Up next, Toronto will face the Texas Stars with Game 1 set for Saturday at Ricoh Coliseum in Ontario.