Comeback Phantoms Rally Again

Andrae Scores 3rd Period Winner at Cleveland

January 20, 2024

Cleveland, OH – Backs to the wall, the resilient Phantoms again showed what they are made of as Lehigh Valley overcame a 2-0 deficit in the second and a 3-2 hole in the third to take an exciting 4-3 win at the first-place Cleveland Monsters on Saturday night. The Phantoms also had to contend with one of their own goals being disallowed while one of Cleveland’s goals counted that Lehigh Valley felt should have been waived off.

Rhett Gardner (4th) had a goal and an assist in the second period to forge a 2-2 tie. Olle Lycksell (15th)  got a piece of an Emil Andrae shot to even the score in the third setting the stage for Emil Andrae (4th) to strike on the power play with a center-point blast for the winner with 7:06 remaining.

The rest of the road wasn’t easy though. Felix Sandstrom had several strong saves through the remainder of the contest as the Phantoms successfully thwarted Cleveland’s 6-on-5 and then 6-on-4 power play attack.  Monsters leading scorer Trey Fix-Wolansky offered a big one-timer with three seconds left that Sandstrom repelled with the blocker to clinch the victory.

Cleveland (24-11-2) struck in the first period on the rebound of a David Jiricek shot that was buried by captain Brendan Gauncer (9th, 10th) who converted a pair of markers in the contest. Sandstrom racked up 13 saves in the opening frame and held off the Monsters as long as he could before Cleveland finally broke through.

It appeared the Phantoms had evened the score early in the second period with Garrett Wilson crashing the net and nudging the puck through goaltender Jet Greaves. The referee had initially signaled that the play was a goal but then changed it to no goal after conferencing with the officials. Video review did not overturn the decision and the no-goal call stood.

In his milestone 800th career pro game, and 202nd with Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms captain had his tying goal taken away.

Shortly after that, Gauncer struck again from the right of the cage with a quick put-back of a rebound off the end-boards. The two-goal swing had Cleveland in front at 2-2 after the Phantoms thought it should have been 1-1.

Lehigh Valley (17-15-2) stayed with it and battled through the deficit. Rhett Gardner got to the net-front after Cooper Marody sped up the right-wing boards to carry swiftly behind and around the goal for another goal on the doorstep. But this one counted and the Phantoms were on the board at 2-1.

Less than five minutes later, it was Gardner who worked in and then set up Ronnie Attard (8th) who offered a bomb from the point that beat Greaves for a 2-2 tie.

Carson Meyer (15th) scored in the crease on a long scramble to put Cleveland back ahead again at 3-2 just past the midway point of the game. Phantoms players and head coach Ian Laperriere indicated that they thought the puck had gone in via a hand pass but the goal stood and the Monsters took the advantage into the intermission.

Cue the third-period comeback for the Phantoms, the second time in January they have rallied from a deficit in the final frame.

Olle Lycksell got a piece of an Andrae drive with 14:19 remaining with the puck appearing to float just past the shoulder of Greaves and into the net. It maybe wasn’t the most impressive goal of the season for the team’s leading goal scorer but Lehigh Valley was comfortable with receiving a break in its favor as the Phantoms tied the score at 3-3.

Andrae’s power-play shot from center point eluded Greaves to give Lehigh Valley the 4-3 lead with 7:06 to go. And the Phantoms were able to hold off the high-flying, fast-paced Monsters attack from there.

The Phantoms improved to 4-2-1 in January as they picked up the hard-earned victory in the final game of their three-game road swing. Sandstrom (7-4-2) made several impressive stops throughout the night for his third win in his last four outings.

The Phantoms open a six-game homestand on Friday, January 26 and Saturday, January 27 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Toronto Marlies. Next Saturday is Racing Night featuring an auto-racing theme plus a Youth meLVin Winter Hat giveaway for the first 2,000 kids presented by Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital.

1st 18:45 – CLE, B. Gaunce (7) (C. Meyer, D. Jiricek) (PP) (0-1)

2nd 2:17 – CLE, B. Gauncer (8) (S. Knazko, D. Jiricek) (0-2)
2nd 4:27 – LV, R. Gardner (4) (C. Marody, H. Grans) (1-2)
2nd 8:58 – LV, R. Attard (8) (R. Gardner, A. Ginning) (2-2)
2nd 10:14 – CLE, C. Meyer (15) (B. Gaunce, D. Jiricek) (PP) (2-3)

3rd 5:41 – LV, O. Lycksell (16) (E. Andrae, S. Tuomaala) (3-3)
3rd 12:54 – LV, E. Andrae (4) (C. Marody) (PP) (4-3)

LV 26 – CLE 33

LV 1/7, CLE 2/7

LV – F. Sandstrom (W) (7-4-2) (30/33)
CLE – J. Greaves (L) (18-6-1) (22/26)

Lehigh Valley (17-15-6)
Cleveland (24-11-2)

Saturday, January 20 (7:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Cleveland Monsters

Friday, January 26 (7:05) – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Lehigh Valley
Saturday, January 27 (7:05) – Toronto at Lehigh Valley – Racing Night and Youth Winter Hats from Reilly Children’s Hospital of 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