Lehigh Valley Phantoms vs Hershey Bears: Series Preview

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The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have made it to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. They swept the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the first round. They will now meet the defending champions, the Hershey Bears.

It is a best-of-five series and kicks off on Wednesday night. The Bears will host the first two games before the series shifts to the PPL Center. Hershey will get reinforcements after the New York Rangers swept the Washington Capitals in the NHL playoffs.

This is the first playoff series between the Phantoms and Bears since 2017. Hershey would claim the series in five games. Since the two teams first met in the playoffs in 1977, the Bears lead the series 14-11. Hershey has won four of the five series. The Phantoms' only series win came in 1998 en route to their first title. Can history repeat itself for Lehigh Valley?

So how exactly do the two sides match up? On paper, the Bears have a clear advantage over the Phantoms.

Hershey won eight of the 12 games the two teams played, going 8-2-0-2. The Phantoms won twice in regulation, while the other two were in the shootout. The Bears outshot the Phantoms 29-21 in the 12 regular season games. They were led by Pierrick Dube, who scored six goals and posted eight points in 11 games versus the Phantoms. Cooper Marody had two goals and six points for Lehigh Valley in 10 games against the Bears.

Season Stats

Offensive Leaders: Goals

  • Ethen Frank: 29 goals
  • Pierrick Dube: 28 goals
  • Alex Limoges: 24 goals
  • Cooper Marody: 19 goals
  • Olle Lycksell: 19 goals

Offensive Leaders: Points

  • Joe Snively: 59 points
  • Cooper Marody: 56 points
  • Alex Limoges: 51 points
  • Pierrick Dube: 48 points
  • Tanner Laczynski: 44 points

Power Play

  • Bears: 20.1% (6th)
  • Phantoms: 18.4% (15th)

Penalty Kill

  • Bears: 87.7% (1st)
  • Phantoms: 79.8% (24th)

Overall, the Bears hold the advantage when it comes to most categories. They finished the regular season with their best record based on points percentage. They set a new AHL record for most victories (53) in a 72-game season. Their 111 points are 38 more than the Phantoms posted this season.

The Phantoms will have a tough battle on their hands. It would be quite the story if they could knock off the defending champions.