37 Shots Not Enough on Whiteout Night

Rivalry Series Tilt Goes to Hershey 4-0

December 30, 2023

Allentown, PA – The Whiteout promotion for the Phantoms was successful in practically every way with a sellout crowd arriving to the arena wearing white and receiving their whiteout knit caps from The Morning Call ahead of a big rivalry clash against first-place Hershey. But the team’s bright and bold whiteout look apparently wasn’t terribly distracting for Hershey goaltender Clay Stevenson who posted a 4-0 shutout of the Phantoms on Saturday at PPL Center.

Matt Strome scored a pair of goals against his former team to lead the visitors but it was Stevenson’s 37 saves that stole the show. The Phantoms outshot the first-place Bears 37-17 but the shot margin of larger than two-to-one didn’t seem to make a difference. Every scoring attempt the Phantoms offered found the Hershey goaltender who the answer each time. Stevenson is the league’s top goaltender. His goals-against average improved to a microscopic 1.71 via his league-leading fifth shutout of the season, including his third against Lehigh Valley.

Overall, it was a terrific scene at PPL Center for the penultimate game of 2023 with everything coming together on the specialty Whiteout Night…except the final score. But the all-white look combined with the knit cap giveaway provided a fun look in the first of the four whiteout nights this season.

Lehigh Valley (13-12-5) had its three-game point streak come to a close while Hershey (27-6-0) won its eighth in a row. The Bears were largely outplayed for much of the night but found a way to win anyway.

It began with a lucky bounce for the flukiest of goals to open the scoring. Lehigh Valley was outshooting the Bears 17-4, including 8-0 in the second period. But a clear down ice by Logan Day was deflected at the red-line by Lucas Johansen up into the air. That spelled trouble. Petersen couldn’t find the puck. That happens sometimes on pucks that are deflected that high. Unfortunately, this one happened to land directly in front of Petersen and bounced right through before he could react. The strange play provided Hershey with a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes in a game that should have still been 0-0 and also in a game in which the Phantoms held the advantage in shots 22-8.

Matt Strome scored his first two goals of the season to open the margin for the Bears. At 3:10 into the third period, a shot went off the upper-right corner of the posts and Strome was right there to bat it into the corner in mid-air barely keeping his stick below the crossbar to avoid a high-sticking call. Less than five minutes later, Riley Sutter stole a puck in the corner and Bogdan Trineyev found an open Strome in the slot who buried his second of the night.

With 8:34 to go and the Phantoms pressuring hard, Jake Massie got a kick on a pass at the Phantoms blue line and rushed in for a breakaway at Petersen who got a piece of the shot but not enough to keep it from trickling across the line.

The Phantoms have one more game to go in 2023 with a New Year’s Eve clash against the Charlotte Checkers at 7:05. Fans will receive glow sticks and party favors courtesy of Pen Community Bank. And then can join the party and Chickie’s and Pete’s and elsewhere downtown as they await the World’s Largest Puck Drop outside the arena at midnight.


2nd 3:44 – L. Johansen (2) (L. Day) (0-1)

3rd 3:10 – M. Strome (1) (V. Ioriom, L. Johansen) (0-2)
3rd 7:58 – M. Strome (2) (B. Trinevey, R. Sutter) (0-3)
3rd 11:26 – J. Massie (1) (Unassisted) (0-4)

LV 37 – HER 17

LV 0/3, HER 0/2

LV – C. Petersen (L) (13/17) (4-7-1)
HER – C. Stevenson (W) (37/37) (12-4-0)

Lehigh Valley (13-12-5)
Hershey (27-6-0)

Saturday, December 30 (7:05) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Phantoms Knit Caps presented by The Morning Call. Whiteout Night.
Sunday, December 31 (7:05) – Charlotte Checkers at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – World’s Largest Puck Drop! Glowsticks presented by Penn Community Bank

Saturday, January 6 (6:05) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Sunday, January 7 (3:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Hershey Bears

Friday, January 12 (7:05) – Hartford Wolf Pack at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, January 13 (7:05) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms