With their season nearly complete, some new players are joining the Lehigh Valley Phantoms with opportunities to get their feet wet in the pros.
The Phantoms have a goaltender getting regular time due to the Flyers health situation at the position. They have a defenseman and forward getting their first taste of the pros.
So Saturday night was a night of firsts for the Phantoms as they claimed a 4-0 win over the St. John's IceCaps at Mile One Arena.
The Phantoms had the scorer's touch in the first, scoring on three of their six shots in the period. The first goal came at 10:50. A newcomer on the blue line, Reece Willcox took a pass at the point and moved in along the far half-wall. He threw a shot toward the goal that deflected off a St. John's defender and in for his first professional goal.
There was another first on the Phantoms second goal at 15:50. Chris Conner threaded a pass to Tim Brent in the slot and he scored on the backhand. Oskar Lindblom got the secondary assist for his first point in the AHL.
The Phantoms third goal at 18:55 featured some nifty moves from Colin McDonald. McDonald came roaring up the wing and in alone on St. John's goalie Ben Scrivens and beat him through the five-hole on the backhand. But that's not the most impressive part of the goal. Before taking Cole Bardreau's lead pass, McDonald had broken his stick. He went to the bench, grabbed a stick as he passed and gained control of the puck before going in on the breakaway.
The Phantoms spent most of the second period fending off chances for the IceCaps. St. John's outshot the Phantoms in the second, 16-6, but Martin Ouellette stood tall between the pipes.
Part of the shot differential was due to a five-minute power play for St. John's. Jay Rosehill was assessed a match penalty and game misconduct for a hit to the head and could be facing a suspension.
In the third, Bardreau got into the goal column with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway, capping the scoring with his 12th of the season at 8:23.
The rest was Ouellette, who recorded his first AHL shutout, making 31 saves.
The Phantoms are back in action on Friday night when they travel to face the Wilke-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:05 p.m.
Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.