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PREVIEW: Phantoms vs. Bears, Game #61

PREVIEW: Phantoms vs. Bears, Game #61

Friday, March 17, 2023 at 7:05 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (31-23-6) vs. Hershey Bears (35-16-7)
PPL Center, Allentown, PA

Some strong play on the ice combined with a little Puck-Luck of the Irish could be the recipe to earn a split in the two-game series with the Hershey Bears in an upcoming St. Patrick’s Day rematch at PPL Center.
Lehigh Valley (31-23-6) had its five-game win streak ended on Wednesday against the Bears.
The Phantoms are tied with the Springfield Thunderbirds for fourth place in the Atlantic Division although Springfield has two games-in-hand.
Hershey (35-16-7) ended a three-game losing skid with Wednesday 6-3 victory at PPL Center.
There are 12 games remaining in the regular season with seven at home.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Phantoms 6 – Bears 3
Garrett Wilson recorded his second hat trick of the season and Cooper Marody racked up three assists but the Hershey Bears stormed back for a 6-3 win on Wednesday at PPL Center. Julian Napravnik scored just his second and third goals of the season and former Phantom Matt Strome scored his first goal in more than a calendar year since a March 4, 2022 two-goal performance with the Phantoms against Charlotte. Strome and Napravnik scored just 36 seconds apart in the second period to turn Lehigh Valley’s 2-1 advantage into a 3-2 lead for Hershey.

The top six teams in the Atlantic Division qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs and the fourth-place team will receive home-ice advantage for the first round of the postseason. Lehigh Valley is tied for fourth with Springfield for fourth place but the Thunderbirds have one game-in-hand. The Phantoms are now nine points ahead of Hartford at the playoff cut-line.
Lehigh Valley’s Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot is now 19 points (which is points acquired by Lehigh Valley and also points missed by Hartford) and the Phantoms are seven points ahead of Hartford for the playoff cut-line.
The current standings would have the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Springfield Thunderbirds meeting in the first round in the 5 vs. 4 series.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have racked up three hat tricks in the last month including two within the last week. Garrett Wilson recorded hat tricks on February 20 and March 15 while Cooper Marody had a dramatic game-tying hat trick goal with just 48.5 seconds left on March 11.
Wilson became only the second Lehigh Valley player to notch two hat tricks in the same season and is the first-ever to do it at…

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