PREVIEW: Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Apr 6 2022

It’s a Phantoms GAMEDAY presented by MassMutual with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms traveling up the Northeast Extension to Wilkes-Barre for an important rivalry clash against the Penguins. The Phantoms are coming off a perfect 3-for-3 weekend and are in search of their fourth straight win. Lehigh Valley trails Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by seven points for the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division but the Phantoms also have two games-in-hand in the remaining schedule.
Lehigh Valley (25-27-11) is playing game 64 of the season and there are 13 remaining including today.
Tonight is the milestone 500th career AHL game for Garrett Wilson.

Isaac Ratcliffe recorded his first career multi-goal game and the Phantoms knocked in a season-high three power-play goals in a 4-3 victory at Bridgeport on Sunday afternoon. Adam Johnson and Logan Day also tallied for the Phantoms who never trailed in the game. Ratcliffe’s deflection of a Cal O’Reilly shot/pass broke a 3-3 tie with just 4:00 left as Lehigh Valley prevailed in another tightly played contest.

Hayden Hodgson has been returned to the Phantoms from the Philadelphia Flyers. The hard-shooting right wing has gone from preseason AHL tryout all the way to NHL contract in the same season. On March 24, Hodgson made his NHL debut and scored a goal with an assist in Philadelphia’s 4-2 victory at St. Louis. The Windsor, Ontario native played in five games with Philadelphia on his recall. Hodgson is tied with Cal O’Reilly for the team lead on the Phantoms with 18 goals.

Lehigh Valley is seven points back of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (30-27-8) who occupies the last postseason position in the Atlantic Division. The Phantoms have two games-in-hand on the Penguins. Lehigh Valley is 5-4-1 against the Pens who rebounded from their Friday loss at PPL Center to post a ridiculous 9-2 rout over Bridgeport on Saturday in their most recent outing.
The Phantoms rallied from behind to top the Penguins on Friday with Tanner Laczynski’s breakaway goal evening the game at 2-2 in the second period and then Wade Allison’s power-play snipe with under 15:00 remaining giving the Phantoms the lead in a 4-2 final. Felix Sandstrom for the Phantoms is 3-3-0, 2.21, .922 in the season series. Seventh-rounder from Finland Valterri Puustinen leads the Penguins with 18 goals including five against the Phantoms. The Penguins are a paltry 4/36 (11.1%) on the power play against Lehigh Valley. The Phantoms have gone 9/41 (22.0%) against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

– Garrett Wilson will play his 500th career AHL game tonight. He has played in 686 career pro games including 84 contests in the NHL with Florida and Pittsburgh. In the AHL, Wilson has played with San Antonio, Portland, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Toronto and Lehigh Valley.
– Five Phantoms players have made their NHL debuts this season: Max Willman, Felix Sandstrom, Linus Sandin, Isaac Ratcliffe, Hayden Hodgson
– Isaac Ratcliffe recorded his first multi-goal game on Sunday at Bridgeport. That included the game-winner with just 4:00 left breaking a 3-3 tie.
– Lehigh Valley’s three power-play goals in Sunday’s win at Bridgeport was their most in a game this season.
– The team’s power play has been thriving: 8-for-27 (29.6%) in the last 7 games.
– The Phantoms had 21 shots in the second period on Sunday, also a season-high.
– Cal O’Reilly has 18 goals this season to equal a personal high. The 35-year-old captain of the Phantoms also had 18 goals in a season 15 years ago in the 2006-07 season when he was a 20-year-old rookie with the Milwaukee Admirals. Cal has five goals in his last five games including a pair of two-goal games.
– The Phantoms have played 63 games and have 13 remaining in the 2021-22 regular season.

Upcoming Schedule
Wednesday, April 6 at Wilkes-Barres/Scranton Penguins (7:05)
Friday, April 8 vs. Hershey Bears (7:05) (PPL CENTER) – Postgame Skate, US Senior Open Night!
Sunday, April 10 at Bridgeport Islanders (3:00)
Monday, April 11 at Providence Bruins (7:05)

Wednesday, April 13 vs. Hershey Bears (7:05) (PPL Center)
Friday, April 15 vs. Bridgeport Islanders (7:05) (PPL Center)
Saturday, April 16 vs. Providence Bruins (7:05) (PPL Center) – PRIDE NIGHT!

Broadcast coverage of all Phantoms games, home and away, is available on the Phantoms 365 app and on 1470-WSAN. Fans can watch on and can listen on their Smart Speakers at: “Play Phantoms Radio 24/7.” Join Voice of the Phantoms, Bob Rotruck, for all the action!