It’s a GAMEDAY presented by MassMutual as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms open a weekend set at the Springfield Thunderbirds, AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.
Lehigh Valley (20-25-10) is playing Game 2 of a six-game road swing. This is Game 56 of the season and there are 21 remaining including tonight.
Springfield (32-17-7) is in first place in the Atlantic Division and is coming off a 3-2 overtime win over Bridgeport on Wednesday.
The Phantoms threw everything they had at Hershey goalie Zach Fucale but couldn’t break through in a 2-0 loss at Giant Center last Sunday. Felix Sandstrom was great as well and kept the game deadlocked at 0-0 until late in the second period. Marcus Vela’s goal was the lone tally against either goalie. Mike Sgarbossa scored a late empty-netter to finish the night.
Max Willman has been recalled to the Philadelphia Flyers after a quick three-game return to the Phantoms last weekend.
Springfield (32-17-7) is tops in the Atlantic Division with 71 points. The affiliate of the St. Louis Blues is 3-0-0 against the Phantoms including a 6-2 win on January 29 in the team’s only visit to Springfield this season which saw former Hershey Bears forward Nathan Walker net a natural hat trick. The T-Birds won at PPL Center 3-1 on February 20 on a solid goaltending effort by Charlie Lindgren. The fast-paced T-Birds crank up 33.5 shots per game, most in the Eastern Conference and third in the AHL. They also boast a power play with a 22.1% conversion rate which is second-best in the Eastern Conference. Veterans Matthew Peca (19-29-48) and Sam Anas (15-31-46) are the team’s scoring leaders. Peca had the overtime winner against Bridgeport on Wednesday.
News and Notes
– Cal O’Reilly is currently at 996 pro games (AHL, NHL, KHL combined) and is projected to play in his 1,000th pro game on March 25 at Laval. Two weeks ago, he became the 41st player to reach 800 AHL games.
– Cal O’Reilly has 16 goals this season and the 35-year-old captain of the Phantoms is on pace to set a new personal best for goals in a season. He had 18 goals in 2006-07 as a 20-year-old rookie with the Milwaukee Admirals. Cal had three goals last weekend.
– Wade Allison has an unusual 4-game goal streak with lamplighters in Phantoms games on Jan 14, Jan 15, Jan 16 and Mar 11. He missed almost two months from January through March on a recall to Philadelphia and an injury.
– The Phantoms have played 55 games and have 21 remaining in the 2021-22 regular season.
– Hayden Hodgson leads the Phantoms with 18 goals and has six goals in the last ten games as well as 12 goals in the last 20 games.
– Felix Sandstrom played eight out of nine periods last weekend and went 2-1-0, 2.26, .924. He allowed six goals on 79 shots although one of the goals was a long empty-netter when he was on his way to the bench for an extra attacker on Sunday. Because Sandstrom was still on the ice when the goal was scored it is officially charged against his stats.
Friday, March 18 at Springfield Thunderbirds (7:05)
Saturday, March 19 at Springfield Thunderirds (7:05)
Wednesday, March 23 at Hershey Bears (7:00)
Friday, March 25 at Laval Rocket (7:00)
Saturday, March 26 at Belleville Senators (7:05)
Friday, April 1 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (7:05) (PPL CENTER)
Saturday, April 2 vs. Utica Comets (7:05) (PPL CENTER)
Broadcast coverage of all Phantoms games, home and away, is available on the Phantoms 365 app and on 1470-WSAN. Fans can watch on AHLTV.com and can listen on their Smart Speakers at: “Play Phantoms Radio 24/7.” Join Voice of the Phantoms, Bob Rotruck, for all the action!