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 PPL Center. Nick Cousins had two hat tricks in 2014-15 and Danick Martel had three career hat tricks, including two in Allentown, but not in the same season.

This is the first time ever for the Phantoms to land three hat tricks at PPL Center in the same season. Entering this season, there had been six Phantoms hat tricks all-time on Allentown ice over eight previous seasons from 2014-15 through 2021-22 prior to the trio of three-goal performances from Wilson and Marody within the last month.
It is the second time Lehigh Valley has recorded hat tricks less than a week apart with Danick Martel and Taylor Leier notching trifectas on February 5, 2016 and February 10, 2016.
The Lehigh Valley record for most hat tricks in a season is four in 2015-16 (Colin McDonald, Danick Martel, Taylor Leier, Adam Comrie) and the franchise record is eight by the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2008-09.


Philadelphia Phantoms:
Mike Maneluk (1999-00)
Kirby Law (2002-03)
Tony Voce (2005-06)
Pat Maroon (2008-09)
Rob Sirianni (2008-09)

Adirondack Phantoms
Michael Ryan (2010-11)
Denis Hamel (2010-11)

Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Nick Cousins (2014-15)
Garrett Wilson (2022-23)

Cooper Marody was named AHL Player of the Week after scoring six goals with three assists for nine points in just three games last weekend. His hat trick on Saturday tied the game with 48.5 seconds remaining as part of a comeback overtime victory. Marody has scored 12-19-31 in 39 games with the Phantoms this season and has scored 79-127-206 in his AHL career encompassing 221 games with Lehigh Valley and Bakersfield. Marody is the fifth Lehigh Valley player to win AHL Player of the Week honors and it is the 20th time a Phantoms player has won the honor since the beginning of the Philadelphia Phantoms in 1996.


22 – Danick Martel (2015-16)
21 – Elliot Desnoyers (2022-23)
19  Connor Bunnaman (2018-19)

Garrett Wilson has scored 10-7-17 in the last 11 games in a stretch that has included a five-game point streak as well as two hat tricks (Feb 20 and Mar 15).
Cooper Marody has scored 6-6-12 in the last four games including three assists on Wednesday following his nine-point explosion in three games last weekend that earned him AHL Player of the Week honors. Marody has a five-game points streak with 6-7-13 in the stretch.
– Adam Brooks has scored 2-7-9 in the last five games. He had a four-game point streak ended on Wednesday.
Since making his NHL debut on December 23, Sam Ersson has gone 10-4-0 with the Phantoms and also 6-1-0 with the Flyers for a combined record of 16-5-0.
– Elliot Desnoyers has scored 7-9-15 in his last 12 games since February 1. The 21-year-old center was named AHL Rookie of the Month for February scoring 5-9-14 in just eight games played last month while also making is NHL debut.
– The Phantoms are….
24-8-5 when scoring 3 or more goals
22-1-1 when allowing 2 goals or fewer
17-5-6 in one-goal games
15-3-6 when scoring the first goal
19-2-4 when leading after two periods
5-3 in overtime and 3-3 in shootouts

Hershey (35-16-7) ended a three-game losing streak with Wednesday’s win at PPL Center and are three points back of Providence for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. Mike Sgarbossa (19-32-51) leads the way and has scored six goals against the Phantoms but, more recently, has missed time due to injury. Former Phantom Mike Vechione (20-27-47) was recently signed to a two-year contract extension with the parent-club Washington Capitals. Ethen Frank (25-17-42) tops all AHL rookies in goals. Hunter Shepard (13-6-5, 2.28, .911) is tops in the Eastern Conference in goals-against average but Zach Fucale has been the team’s chosen specialist against the Phantoms more often than not. Fucale has one 7-1-0, 2.35, .891 against the Phantoms this year. Hershey is surrendering a conference-best 2.60 goals per game. Tonight is game 12 out of 14 in the season series.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Elliot Desnoyers 21-18-39
x Tyson Foerster 19-20-39
Olle Lycksell 10-27-37
Garrett Wilson 15-21-36
Cooper Marody 12-22-34
Artem Anisimov 16-12-28

Bears Scoring Leaders
Mike Sgarbossa 19-32-51
Mike Vecchione 20-26-46
Ethen Frank 25-17-42
Mason Morelli 11-23-34
Connor McMichael 13-17-30

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Lehigh Valley Power Play – 21.8%, 9th (vs. HER 6/24, 25.0%)
Lehigh Valley Penalty Kill – 73.0%, 32nd
Hershey Power Play – 17.2%, 26th (vs. LV 10/39, 25.6%)
Hershey Penalty Kill – 80.7%, 18th

The homestand wraps up Sunday at 4:05 p.m. against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on phantoms Prospect Pack Trading Card Set Daty for the first 5,000 fans.

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Friday, March 17 (7:05) vs. HERSHEY BEARS
Sunday, March 19 (4:05) vs. WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS
Saturday, March 25 (7:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Sunday, March 26 (5:00) at Hershey Bears

Friday, March 17 (7:05) vs. Hershey Bears – St. Patrick’s Day! Whiteout Night. $1 Hot Dogs

Sunday, March 19 (4:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Prospect Pack Trading Card Sets for First 5,000 Fans

Friday, March 24 – NCAA Tournament Hockey Allentown Regional Doubleheader Hosted by Penn State

Sunday, March 26 – NCAA Tournament  Hockey Allentown Regional Final playing for Berth in the Frozen Four



Broadcast coverage of all Phantoms games with Bob Rotruck is available on the Phantoms 365 app and on Real Oldies 1470-AM in Allentown. Also available on the Listen Live button at
Fans can also watch the games on or can listen on their Smart Speakers at: “Play Phantoms Radio 24/7.”

Service Electric Network again provides exclusive television coverage of all Phantoms home games with veteran announcer Steve Degler and Phantoms’ alum Steven Swavely on the call from the booth. Kristi Fulkerson reports from ice level and also from the Chickie’s and Pete’s studio with Dan Fremuth for pregame, intermission and postgame show analysis.