Catasauqua Press

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Phantoms already seeing changes

Thursday, October 24, 2019 by chuck hixson Special to the Press in Sports

With the Lehigh Valley Phantoms well stocked with young, exciting talent and the Philadelphia Flyers off to a 1-4 start, changes came quickly to ignite the parent team with some youthful exuberance.

Joel Farabee and Mikhail Vorobyev were recalled by Philadelphia on Sunday, while Carsen Twarynski was loaned to the Phantoms.

Farabee, who is just 19 and has a grand total of four professional games under his belt, was off to a quick start with Lehigh Valley, scoring three goals and notching an assist in four games as a Phantom. The Flyers took Farabee with the 18th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Farabee played out his final season of college hockey at Boston University and scored 17 goals and 19 assists in just 37 games as a Terrier.

Vorobyev has a little more experience, having played two professional seasons and spending time with the Flyers a year ago, picking up his first NHL goal last Oct. 6 against the Colorado Avalanche. The 22-year old played in 15 games with the Flyers and 42 with the Phantoms last season and was initially drafted by the Flyers in the fourth-round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

The loss of the two players isn’t a total shock for Phantoms coach Scott Gordon, who figured both would be in the NHL at some point this season. If there is any element of surprise to the moves, it’s how early in the season they came. Gordon believes that Farabee has been able to get experience by playing at Boston University.

“There’s no question when I look at his career path and some of the junior players, the benefit of him playing for a big D-1 college program at BU and the competition he had to play against, it’s such a huge advantage because he’s playing against 23-25 year old men,” Gordon explained. “The guys coming from junior, they have to make the adjustment to playing against someone that is older than them versus someone who is younger than them.

“Physically, you have to be able to handle it. He’s shown he’s had success in his freshmen year of college, and that experience has prepared him well for professional hockey.”

The Flyers must believe in Farabee’s ability to handle himself because they added him to the first unit for Monday night’s win against Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Vorobyev had a nice night with Philadelphia, feeding Ivan Provorov for one of the Flyers six goals on the night.

Twarynski, 21, made his NHL debut in the Flyers game against the Chicago Black Hawks in Prague earlier this month and played in six games with Philadelphia. He scored his first NHL goal on Oct. 12 against Vancouver. Last season, Twarynski played in 69 games with Lehigh Valley and picked up 10 goals and 14 assists.

MORE ABOUT THE KIDS... Morgan Frost picked up his first professional goal as a member of the Phantoms in a 4-3 shootout loss to Springfield Saturday night. While Lehigh Valley didn’t get the win, they did pick up a point in their fourth straight game, but needed two third period goals to force overtime against the Thunderbirds. Frost had also picked up a three-point night with three assists against Binghamton. The Phantoms had also picked up points with wins over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Binghamton and an overtime loss to Hershey. After the weekend action, Lehigh Valley is 2-1-1-1 and in fifth place in the Atlantic Division, five points behind first-place Hartford.

HOME COOKING... The Phantoms schedule had them opening with five straight home games and the team drew an average of 6,698 fans per game for the five-game stretch. Laval and Hartford also opened with five straight at home, but drew far less fans. The Rocket drew an average of 5,976 fans per game, while the Wolf Pack drew just 3,171 despite opening with a 5-0-0-1 record.

RETURN OF THE BUNNY-MAN... In addition to Sunday’s moves, the Flyers also sent forward Connor Bunnaman to Lehigh Valley last Friday.