Lehigh Valley Phantoms (16-7-4) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scr. Penguins (12-11-6)
Sunday, May 9, 2021 at 3:05 p.m. – PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Today’s Game – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Sunday afternoon with just four games remaining in the regular season including three home contests. This is Lehigh Valley’s 28th game of the year. The last five meetings between the Phantoms and Penguins have gone to overtime.
Last Time Out – Lehigh Valley was shut out for only the second time this season in a 3-0 decision at Hershey on Saturday afternoon. The Phantoms blasted away for 34 shots but Pheonix Copley was dialed in for his 100th career AHL win. Trailing 1-0 in the second period, Tyson Foerster, fresh out of the penalty box, was denied on a breakaway on a spectacular right-pad save by Copley scrambling to that side to get to Foerster’s backhand effort. He also stoned Brennan Saulnier on a partial break and Garrett Wilson and Tyler Wotherspoon were denied on glorious chances in just the second period. Connor Bunnaman, Isaac Ratcliffe and Ryan Fitzgerald all had various great opportunities to break through but Copley thrived. The Phantoms finished 6-5-0 against the Hershey Bears in the season-rivalry series.
The Penguins picked up a 4-1 win over the Binghamton Devils in Saturday evening in Wilkes-Barre with Nick Schilkey scoring a pair while Tommy Napier made 22 saves in his first career AHL win.
Sensational Sandström – Felix Sandstrom has put together four very strong starts after inconsistent opportunities due to schedule interruptions earlier in the season. Dating back to the last two weeks, Sandström has a .947 save percentage in his last four starts with save totals of 37, 32, 40, 34. He is 2-1-1 in that stretch with a 2.00 goals-against average.
800 Club! – 35-year-old veteran Chris Mueller had a slick assist from the corner to set up Isaac Ratcliffe’s goal on Saturday night as he continues to move up among the AHL’s all-time leaders. Mueller is now 60th all-time in AHL history with 574 points. That is also second among active AHL players trailing only teammate Cal O’Reilly (629 points). Today, the two-time Calder Cup Champion (Texas and Toronto) becomes just the 40th in AHL history to reach 800 career games. Yesterday, with his 799th game, he tied Hershey legend Frank Mathers at 40th.
Another NHL Debut! – Cam York became the fifth Lehigh Valley Phantom this year and the 31st all-time to receive a recall from Lehigh Valley for an NHL debut with the Flyers. This season, York joined other Phantoms’ NHL Debuts including Maksim Sushko, Tanner Laczynski, Wade Allison and Egor Zamula. The Flyers’ first-round selection in 2019 from Anaheim Hills, Cal. won Big Ten Defenseman of the Year honors at the University of Michigan last spring. York has scored 2-3-5 in 6 games with the Phantoms since his pro debut on April 21.
Looking Ahead – The American Hockey League has announced its intention for a full schedule in the 2021-22 campaign for its 86th season which will begin on October 15 and run through April 24.
In the Big Building! – Leigh Valley’s last away game of the season on Wednesday night against the Binghamton Devils will be played at Prudential Center in Newark, home of the New Jersey Devils. Previous games at the Devils have been played at the New Jersey practice rink next-door to Prudential Center at the RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House.
Team Leaders – Tyson Foerster has rushed to the top of the team leader-board with his 10th goal of the season on Wednesday against Hershey. Foerster and Ryan Fitzgerald are tied at 10 goals apiece for most on the Phantoms in the tight race.
Cal O’Reilly has a bit more breathing room for most points and most assists on the Phantoms. His 21 points puts him four ahead of Foerster. And his 17 assists is five more than Logan Day who is the only other Phantom in double-figures in helpers.
Happy Anniversary – Today is the third anniversary of the longest game in the 85-year history of the AHL. On May 9-10, 2018, the Phantoms and Charlotte Checkers played an epic 5 overtime battle in Charlotte, North Carolina that lasted six hours and six minutes and didn’t end until 1:09 a.m. Alex Krushelnyski scored the winning goal at 6:48 of the fifth overtime for the 2-1 victory for the Phantoms to take a 3-1 lead in the Division Finals. His goal, scored against Alex Nedelkjovic, was assisted by Cole Bardreau and Colin McDonald with only a small smattering of fans remaining at the end of the crazy night. Alex Lyon made 94 saves on the historic night falling four shy of Michael Leighton’s AHL record of 98 saves in the only other five-overtime game in league history. The widely celebrated an epic marathon received national and international attention. The previous record for longest game in league history was on April 24, 2008 when the Philadelphia Phantoms won at the Albany River Rats on April 24, 2008 with Ryan Potulny scoring the winner just over two minutes into the fifth overtime on the team’s 101st shot of the game. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Charlotte Checkers are the current-day incarnations of those previous teams, the Philadelphia Phantoms and Albany River Rats.
Winding Down – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are in the stretch-run of the 2021 season with just four games remaining including three at PPL Center. Tickets are available for all upcoming Phantoms home games at phantomshockey.com
The Series – The Phantoms are 3-1-2 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. The last five meetings between the two teams have gone to overtime
Feb 26 @ WBS L 2-4 Zayde Wisdom power-goal through two defenders
Feb 27 @ LV OTL 4-5 (OT) Max Willman 2 Goals. WBS Frederick Gaudreau OT Goal.
Mar 8 @ WBS W 4-3 (OT) Ryan Fitzgerald OT Goal
Mar 21 @ LV W 5-4 (OT) Tanner Laczynski first two pro goals tying game in 3rd and then OT Goal. Allison and Foerster Goals
Apr 3 @ LV W 5-4 (SO) Tyson Foerster 2 Goals and SO Winner
Apr 28 @ WBS OTL 1-2 (OT) Phantoms season-high 42 shots on Alex D’Orio (41 svs). Sandstrom 32 svs. Tim Schaller OT Goal
Upcoming – Wednesday, May 12, 7:00 – Phantoms at Binghamton Devils (Prudential Center, Newark)
Saturday, May 15, 7:05 – Penguins at Phantoms (PPL Center)
Sunday, May 16, 3:05 – Devils at Phantoms (PPL Center)
Provident Bank Pennsylvania Cup
Bears 12-6-2 = .650
Phantoms 9-6-2 = .588
Penguins 5-6-4 = .467
Penn Cup Results and Upcoming:
May 8: Bears 3 – Phantoms 0
May 9: Penguins at Phantoms
May 15: Penguins at Phantoms
May 15: Penguins at Phantoms