Development can be a cruel process sometimes, and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms know it.

After last night’s 5-3 loss to Hershey ended their season in the Atlantic Division semifinals, Phantoms head coach Ian Laperriere acknowledged his frustration. His team had shown that the Bears were not invincible, shutting out the defending Calder Cup champion in Game 3 on Wednesday. But the Bears made adjustments for Game 4, and the Phantoms could not counter them successfully.

“It’s going to be good down the road, but right now it doesn’t feel any good,” Laperriere told reporters after the season-ending defeat. “It’s very frustrating because we showed how you can beat that team last game. We deviated a little bit from that, and that’s a team that will make you pay if you deviate.”

Brett Sutter’s 17th pro season came to an end Friday with Calgary’s elimination by Coachella Valley in the Pacific Division semifinals.

Whether there is going to be an 18th season, Sutter hasn’t decided yet.

“I’m just focused on the room right now,” Sutter told WranglersTV right after Friday’s game. “We’ll think about that when the time comes.”

The Wranglers captain and Alberta native was limited to 46 games during the 2023-24 regular season, missing nearly two months with an injury suffered just before Christmas. He has skated in 1,090 games over his AHL career, fourth-most in league history.

― with files from Patrick Williams


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