J.R. Avon First Pro Goal Earns Phantoms Standings Point

Hershey Takes 4-3 Overtime Win

November 1, 2023

Hershey, PA – J.R. Avon scored his first career professional goal on a power-play blast with just 4:53 remaining to force overtime at Hershey but Chase Priskie’s breakaway in the extra period earned the Bears the extra standings point in a 4-3 final on Wednesday night.

Lehigh Valley (3-4-1) also received goals from Cooper Marody (3rd) and Adam Ginning (2nd) in the see-saw game filled with rivalry intensity.  Felix Sandstrom rejoined the Phantoms on an NHL conditioning loan and recorded 24 saves in a sturdy effort as part of his first game of the season.

Hershey was led by former Phantom Nicolas Aube-Kubel who scored his first AHL goal since 2019 when he played for Lehigh Valley and also added an assist for a shorthanded goal. Pierrick Dube gave Hershey the lead midway through the third period with this third goal against the Phantoms this season.

Sandstrom and Hunter Shepard were both up to the task in a scoreless first period that saw strong chances on both ends. J.R. Avon was involved in two of the best opportunities for Lehigh Valley including a steal behind the goal to set up Rhett Gardner at the net-front and also his own chance going into the hard areas to get his own Grade-A try.

Hershey (7-2-0) had its best chance of the first period when Joe Snively had a shot on the rush up the right wing that Sandstrom barely got a piece of. That deflection off the blocker was just enough to put the puck off the post and away. Sandstrom was challenged early when Ethen Frank had a dangerous attempt from the right dot looking to go five-hole but Sandstrom’s first save of the season showed he wasn’t going to show any signs of rust.

Cooper Marody (3rd) gave the Phantoms the initial lead at 3:57 into the second period taking the rebound of his own shot and putting it over Shepard and into the cage. Will Zmolek started the sequence working the puck down low to Tanner Laczynski. Zmolek was making his season-debut with the Phantoms after beginning the season with Reading in the ECHL and recorded his first career pro point. Laczynski’s assist extended his team-best point-streak to five games.

Aube-Kubel scored his first AHL goal since 2019 on what appeared to be an attempted pass in the slot. But his push across deflected into the goal off the stick of a Phantoms defenseman at 6:51 into the frame to tie the score at 1-1.

Aube-Kubel again was responsible for the next goal with his intercept in the neutral-zone setting up a Bogdan Trineyev breakaway shorthanded conversion with 9:00 left in the middle frame for Hershey’s first lead of the night at 2-1. It was the first shorthanded goal of the season allowed by the Phantoms.

Less than a minute later, the same power play had just expired when Ginning jumped on a pass from Garrett Wilson from behind the cage that coasted out to the point. His monster one-timer beat Shepard with 8:09 left in the second period to forge a 2-2 deadlock.

Shortly after the tying goal, former Phantom Mike Vecchione blasted into Ginning with a nasty hit that had the Phantoms defenseman down for a few moments. Ginning was eventually okay and stayed ni the game. Vecchione had taken a game misconduct for interference and the Phantoms had a five-minute power play opportunity to try to take the lead. But Hershey’s penalty kill came through on the extended man-advantage with several big intercepts and clears to limit Lehigh Valley’s chances.

Pierrick Dube (4th) put Hershey back in front at 3-2 with just 10:37 remaining in regulation with his snipe from the left circle on a 2-on-1. His shot beat Sandstrom past the glove to the far post side.

But the Phantoms received another key power-play chance late with the opportunity to equalize and this time would come through. J.R. Avon took a pass from Garrett Wilson and found the narrow space between two defenders for his drive from the left slot to beat Shepard short-side past his blocker to even the count at 3-3 with just 4:53 left. Desnoyers had worked the puck over to Wilson in the right slot who faked as though he was going to spin around and shoot before delivering the perfect pass to Avon on the other side.

Lehigh Valley controlled possession for most of overtime including Ginning pushing past the defenders up the right wing to drive at Shepard. But the Hershey goaltender made the big save allowing the chance a few seconds later for Mike Sgarbossa to nudge a drop to the point thus sending Priskie on the breakaway. The hard-shooting defenseman scored the overtime winner past the glove of Sandstrom at 1:32 into the extra frame for the Bears to secure the additional standings point 4-3. It was the first overtime game of the season for Lehigh Valley.

  • J.R. Avon scored his first career pro goal in just his fourth game.
  • Hershey’s Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored his first goal in the AHL since December 14, 2019 when he played for Lehigh Valley in a game against Hartford.
  • Aube-Kubel played in 229 games for the Phantoms scoring 50 goals and also 102 games with the Philadelphia Flyers scoring 10 goals.
  • Will Zmolek recorded his first pro point on an assist of Cooper Marody’s goal in the second period. It was Zmolek’s first game with the Phantoms this season after beginning the year with the Reading Royals.
  • Mason Millman also made his season-debut for the Phantoms after beginning the season with Reading.
  • Felix Sandstrom had 24 saves in his first start of the season.
  • Tanner Laczynski extended his team-best point streak to five games and leads the team in scoring with 1-7-8.
  • Wade Allison has a two-game assist streak.

The Phantoms are back at home on Friday against the Hartford Wolf Pack on Swiftie Takeover Night.


2nd 3:57 – LV, C. Marody (3) (W. Zmolek, T. Laczynski) (1-0)
2nd 6:51 – HER, N. Aube-Kubel (1) (B. Trineyev, D. McIlrath) (1-1)
2nd 11:00 – HER, B. Trineyev (2) (N. Aube-Kubel) (SH) (1-2)
2nd 11:51 – LV, A. Ginning (2) (G. Wilson, W. Allison) (2-2)

3rd 9:23 – HER, P. Dube (4) (I. Miroshnichenko, D. McIlrath) (2-3)
3rd 15:07 – LV, J. Avon (1) (G. Wilson, E. Desnoyers) (PP) (3-3)

OT 1:32 – HER, C. Priskie (1) (M. Sgarbossa) (3-4)

LV 33 – 28

LV 1/3, HER 0/4

LV – F. Sandstrom (24/28) (OTL) (0-0-1)
HER – H. Shepard (30/33) (W) (4-0-0)

Lehigh Valley (3-4-1)
Hershey (7-2-0)

Friday, November 3 (7:05) – Hartford Wolf Pack at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – SWIFTIE Takeover Night!
Saturday, November 4 (7:05) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Springfield Thunderbirds

Wednesday, November 8 (10:35 a.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Springfield Thunderbirds
Saturday, November 11 (7:05 p.m.) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Sunday, November 12 (3:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Hershey Bears