Brink Scores in Return

Penguins Survive Ferocious Phantoms Rally

January 26, 2024

Allentown, PA – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms rallied from a 3-0 deficit to forge a 3-3 tie and dominated the third period but the opportunistic Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins capitalized on a late chance to pull off a 4-3 win at PPL Center on Friday night. Bobby Brink scored late in the second period in his first game back with the Phantoms and had two more close calls during the game. But Sam Poulin (10th, 11th) scored the winner for the Penguins with 1:29 left.

Garrett Wilson (7th) and Adam Brooks (2nd) also scored in the rally. The Phantoms outshot the Penguins in the third period 17-4 and in the game 40-25 but Magnus Hellburg survived with some key stops to pick up the road win.

Brink was playing in his first game of the season with Lehigh Valley after appearing in 38 games with the Philadelphia Flyers where he scored seven goals with 11 assists for 18 points. The idea of Brink’s assignment to the Phantoms includes providing the 22-year-old talent with plenty of minutes and reps as well as opportunities to thrive at the AHL level. Brink’s return to downtown Allentown appeared to have accomplished exactly that.

Lehigh Valley (17-16-6) opened a season-long six-game homestand in a less-than-ideal way when the Phantoms fell behind 3-0 in the first period. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (23-14-5) received goals from Jesse Puljuarvi (5th) on a sharp-angle power-play blast, Marc Johnstone (3rd) on a break with an elevated flip over the right shoulder of Felix Sandstrom. Then it was Sam Poulin who navigated in tight from the right of the cage to go upstairs after receiving a cross-ice pass to connect with him on the backdoor.

The sluggish start for the Phantoms put them behind the eight-ball early but the resilient Lehigh Valley contingent fought back in the second frame.

Elliot Desnoyers battled through to win a puck on the forecheck thus setting up linemates Brendan Furry and Garett Wilson crashing the net. The Phantoms captain muscled his way through to put the Phantoms on the board at 9:13 into the second period.

With 4:23 remaining in the period, Wilson slammed into Radim Zohorna on the forecheck drawing the ire from Sam Poulin who instigated a fight with the Phantoms’ big man. Poulin received a cut below his eye via the robust punishment inflicted by the Lehigh Valley captain. But Wilson was finished for the night after he was helped off the ice to get examined back in the room.

But the Phantoms kept driving and it was virtually target practice for the Orange and Black in the third period.

J-R Avon showed off his impressive wheels with a coast-to-coast entry on the power play as he zoomed past all four Penguins defenders. Rushing to the left of the cage, he sharply left a drop on the doorstep for the hard-charging  trailer, Adam Brooks, for the slam dunk at 8:13 into the third to forge the 3-3 tie.

With the Phantoms continuing to press in the Penguins’ zone, Hellburg and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenders were barely hanging on. But Zohorna’s pursuit on one of their few chances in the Lehigh Valley zone would result in the winning tally when he connected with an open Poulin speeding into the slot for the game-winner with just 1:29 left.

The rivalry series is even at one game apiece with both teams having stolen a game on each others’ home ice. The homestand continues Saturday against the Toronto Marlies on Racing Night and also featuring a meLVin Youth Winter Hat giveaway for the first 2,000 kids presented by Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital.

1st 3:57 – WBS, J. Puljujarvi (4) (A. Rueschhoff, S. Poulin) (PP) (0-1)
1st 10:12 – WBS, M. Johnstone (3) (R. Zohorna, J. Puljujarvi) (0-2)
1st 16:42 – WBS, S. Poulin (10) (O. Headrick, A. Nylander) (0-3)

2nd 9:13 – LV, G. Wilson (7) (B. Furry, E. Desnoyers) (1-3)
2nd 19:32 – LV, B. Brink (1) (S. Tuomaala, R. Gardner) (PP) (2-3)

3rd 8:13 – LV, A. Brooks (2) (J. Avon, E. Samson) (PP) (3-3)
3rd 18:31 – WBS – S. Poulin (11) (R. Zohorna, M. Johnstone) (3-4)

LV 40 – WBS 25

LV 2/3, WBS 1/1

LV – F. Sandstrom (L) (21/25) (7-5-2)
WBS – M. Hellburg (W) (37/40) (8-6-1)

Lehigh Valley (17-16-6)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (23-14-5)

Saturday, January 27 (7:05) – Toronto at Lehigh Valley – Racing Night and Youth Winter Hats from Reilly Children’s Hospital of Lehigh Valley

Wednesday, January 30 (7:05) – Hershey at Lehigh Valley
Friday, February 2 (7:05) – Hershey at Lehigh Valley – 10th Anniversary Celebration Weekend
Saturday, February 3 (7:05) – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Lehigh Valley – 10th Anniversary Celebration Weekend – Alumni Reunion with Colin McDonald, Sam Morin and More!