Cal O’Reilly Plays 1,000th Pro Game

Phantoms Fall at Laval 5-1

March 25, 2022

Laval, Que. – Garrett Wilson (12th) scored an equalizing goal late in the first period and the Phantoms had several chances to take the lead but the Laval Rocket surged back in the second period en route to a 5-1 victory on Friday night at Place Bell.

NHL veteran Cedric Paquette led the Rocket victory with a pair of goals while Phantoms’ alumnus Danick Martel had a top-shelf snipe against his former team.

Cal O’Reilly played in his 1,000th career pro game and the team made the occasion extra-special for its captain. Cal was surprised upon his arrival to the arena to see “O’Reilly 1000” t-shirts in every players’ stall instead of the jerseys like normal. His own jersey was the only one that was hanging in the dressing room. The front of the t-shirt included every team that Cal had played for in his 15-year professional hockey journey.

Cal O’Reilly was also sent on to the ice ahead of the team to take a solo lap at pregame warm-ups in honor of his 1,000th game.

The night also marked the season debut for forward Ryan Fitzgerald who led the Phantoms last year with 12 goals. Fitzgerald had hip surgery in September and had been rehabbing and practicing with the Phantoms for several weeks. Newcomers on defense included Garrett McFadden and Brennan Menell who both played for the Phantoms for the first time.

Lehigh Valley (22-27-10) generated 32 shots at goalie Kevin Poulin but could only break through the one time as the experienced netminder avenged the come-from-behind decision he suffered against the Phantoms two weeks ago when Lehigh Valley rallied from a 3-1 hole to post a 4-3 win on March 11 at PPL Center.

Laval (29-21-4) had a strong opening push at its home rink eventually leading to a chance for Paquette to strike for his first of the game on a rebounding puck that connected with him from the left circle. A point-blast caromed off the active end-boards and almost bounced in off the back of Phantoms’ goalie Felix Sandstrom before eventually finding Paquette for the shooting try.

After Laval took the 1-0 lead midway through the first period, the Phantoms found their game and generated several big chances at Poulin.

A power-play point shot from Adam Johnson was high on the chest of a handcuffed Poulin that allowed Wilson to score in a net-front scramble to tie the game at 1-1. Newcomer Brennan Menell also registered an assist on the play in his debut with the Phantoms having joined the team last night after coming over from the Toronto Marlies in a trade in exchange for future considerations.

Adam Johnson streaked up the left-wing on a speedy scoring try but his big blast on the rush was cranked off the crossbar and deflected away.

Laval re-took the lead in the opening seconds of the second period with Jean-Seabstian Dea striking from the right circle after the puck appeared to bounce off the post. His team leading 18th of the year made it 2-1.

Later in the period, it was former Phantom Danick Martel sniping top shelf from the right dot just past the glove of Felix Sandstrom for a 3-1 lead.

Charlie Gerard had a shorthanded breakaway in the second period but, like many other strong chances the Phantoms generated throughout the game, would be repelled by Kevin Poulin as part of a strong performance in net for Laval.

Paquette would score again in the third period with Paquette cutting to the crease from the right boards and deflecting in a centering pass by Xavier Ouelette on the left-wall on a timing play. The goal that made it 4-1 at 4:45 into the third period came in the exact same second that a Rocket power play had officially ended so was technically deemed an even-strength goal even though the Phantoms player had not even stepped out of the box at that point.

Laval capped the scoring with 4:52 left on a pick-off in front that was converted by Jean-Christophe Beaudin (2nd) to provide the 5-1 final.

The Phantoms conclude their road-trip on Saturday night at the Belleville (Ont.) Senators and then return to PPL Center for home games on Hockey Fiesta weekend on Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Utica Comets.

1st 10:16 – LAV, C. Paquette (3) (O. Galipeau, J. Dea) 0-1
1st 17:05 – LV, G. Wilson (12) (A. Jonson, B. Menell) (PP) 1-1

2nd 0:32 – LAV, J. Dea (18) (C. Paquette, R. Harvey-Pinard) 1-2
2nd 14:14 – LAV, D. Martel (11) (L. Belpedio) 1-3

3rd 4:45 – LAV, C. Paquette (4) (X. Ouellet, J. Ylonen) 1-4
3rd 15:08 – LAV, J. Beaudin (2) (unassisted) 1-5

LV 32 – LAV 35

LV 1/5, LAV 1/7

LV – F. Sandstrom (L) (12-16-3) (30/35)
LAV – K. Poulin (W) (12-6-1) (31/32)

Lehigh Valley (22-27-10)
Laval (29-21-4)