Cal Petersen Saves the Day

Save of the Year Boosts Comeback Win

January 13, 2024

Allentown, PA – Cal Petersen’s ridiculous, jaw-dropping two-pad stack in the second period drew roars from a sellout crowd at PPL Center. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms rallied from a 3-1 deficit in an incredible 4-3 shootout win over the first-place Hershey Bears on Saturday night. Looking to build on a 3-2 lead, the Bears had a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush but the 29-year-old goaltender found a way to deny Lucas Johansen’s bid on the backdoor by sliding across on his left hip while sticking his right skate way up high in the air for the most incredible save of the season. And it came in a key moment to keep the Phantoms within a goal.

A packed house with 8,555 fans at PPL Center bore witness to Lehigh Valley’s first shootout win of the season as the Phantoms took down its arch-nemesis. Olle Lycksell (15th) set a new career-high in goals as part of a big three-goal weekend. Samu Tuomaala (11th) and Ronnie Attard (7th) contributed key markers to chip away at the 3-1 deficit before J.R. Avon served as the shootout hero in the fourth round.

Lehigh Valley (16-13-6) extended its point streak to four games (3-0-1) claiming back-to-back wins in the first home games of 2024. In so doing, the Phantoms pinned the first post-regulation defeat on Hershey this season. The Bears had been 7-0 in overtimes and shootouts combined. Lehigh Valley improved to 5-6 in post-regulation decisions including 4-5 in overtime and 1-1 in shootouts. This was the team’s first shootout at PPL Center this season. And it was worth the wait.

Hershey opened the scoring at 5:37 courtesy of Henrik Rybinski’s third goal of the season, but the Orange and Black wasted little time to find the equalizer.

On the man-advantage, Lycksell remained red-hot with a power-play blast past Hershey’s Hunter Shepard at 6:43. Tanner Laczynski connected on another nifty flick to find Lycksell on the backdoor on a carbon copy of the power-play connection by the two star forwards from Friday’s game. The second-year pro, Lycksell, finished the weekend with consecutive multi-point nights compiling three goals and one assist.

Later in the first period, Hershey (29-7-1) answered with back-to-back strikes to claim a 3-1 cushion. Former Adirondack Phantoms forward Garrett Roe scored at 8:32 and reigning American Hockey League fastest skater Ethen Frank registered a power-play goal at 13:56 for his 15th tally of the season.

The resilient Phantoms and a pair of AHL All-Stars connected to counter punch before the intermission. Tremendous vision by 2023 AHL All-Star Ronnie Attard from the half boards setup 2024 All-Star Samu Tuomaala in the slot. Attard’s sharp backhander from the left wall provided the opportunity for Tuomaala’s quick blast to beat Shepard at 18:56.

The Phantoms did not play their best hockey in the first period but found themselves only down by a goal. Head coach Ian Laperriere said his team needed to stop panicking and should relax a little bit. Looked like his message worked as the Phantoms improved their play considerably in the second and third periods on their way to the thrilling rivalry win.

“Yeah, a lot of heart and character out of our group tonight,” said Ronnie Attard. “That’s one of the best teams in the league. And the fact that we’ve played them tough the last two times that we’ve played them shows a lot about our group. So it’s a good feeling beating those guys.”

Trailing by one, Lehigh Valley continued to push the pace in the second and third periods with frequent threats at an equalizer. Cal Petersen for the Phantoms also made numerous acrobatic, jaw-dropping stops to keep Hershey at bay. That included his astonishing right pad save in the second period among others.

In the third period, Attard and company struck once more to dissipate its deficit. A give-and-go between Elliot Desnoyers and Attard was finished with a perfect net-front deflection by Attard at 9:32. The exciting Phantoms defenseman saw the opportunity to make his move to the net-front and Desnoyers was open at the left boards to feed the second-year pro with the opportunity for the tying tally. Emil Andrae recorded the secondary helper for his 15th assist of the season, leading all Lehigh Valley rearguards. Attard’s seven goals also leads all Phantoms blueliners.

Attard almost put the Phantoms ahead a few minutes later but his drive from the right point found the crossbar past Shepard’s right shoulder so the game remained tied.

The heavyweight, intense affair required sudden-death overtime, but neither team could find the back of the net. Lehigh Valley’s penalty kill in overtime rose to the occasion with a game-saving kill of a 4-on-3 disadvantage in the period’s final 50 seconds.

Petersen and Shepard matched save-for-save in the three-round shootout, which required an extra round. In the top of the fourth inning, J.R. Avon scored the go-ahead goal for the Phantoms with a strong backhand toss over the left pad of Shepard. Matt Strome’s try against his former team clanged off the post to finish the night and lift Lehigh Valley to the 4-3 win.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms open a three-game road-trip on Wednesday night at the Rochester Americans. The Phantoms travel to Cleveland for a pair of games at the first-place Monsters on Friday and Saturday.

The Phantoms open a six-game homestand on Friday, January 26 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Saturday, January 27 against the Toronto Marlies on Racing Night featuring a Youth Winter Hat Giveaway for the first 2,000 kids age 14 and younger courtesy of Reilly Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Health Network.


1st 5:37 – HER, H. Rybinski (3) (M. Strome) (0-1)
1st 6:43 – LV, O. Lycksell (15) (T. Laczynski, C. Marody) (PP) (1-1)
1st 8:32 – HER, G. Roe (5) (I. Miroshnichenko, B. Trineyev) (1-2)
1st 13:54 – HER, E. Frank (15) (J. Snively, M. Sgarbossa) (PP) (1-3)
1st 18:56 – LV, S. Tuomaala (11) (R. Attard, O. Lycksell) (2-3)

3rd 9:32 – LV, R. Attard (7) (E. Desnoyers, E. Andrae) (3-3)

LV – S. Tuomaala X, T. Laczynski X, J. Bellerive X, J. Avon GOAL
HER – J. Snively X, M. Sgarbossa X, P. Dube X, M. Strome X

LV 24 – HER 34

Power Plays:
LV 1/5, HER 1/4

LV – C. Petersen (W) (31/34) (5-7-2)
HER – H. Shepard (OTL) (21/24) (14-2-1)

Lehigh Valley (16-13-6)
Hershey (29-7-1)


Wednesday, January 17 (7:05) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Rochester Americans
Friday, January 19 (7:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Cleveland Monsters
Saturday, January 20 (7:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Cleveland Monsters

Friday, January 26 (7:05) – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, January 27 (7:05) – Toronto Marlies at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Racing Night. Phantoms Winter Youth Hat Night from Reily Children’s Hospital