Lightning Strikes Twice for Brink

Comeback Effort Falls Short in Shootout Decision

January 27, 2024

Allentown, PA – The resilient Lehigh Valley Phantoms rallied in the third period to erase a 3-1 deficit, but the Toronto Marlies claimed a 4-3 shootout victory in their lone visit to PPL Center on Saturday night. Bobby Brink led the Phantoms offense by scoring twice more and finished a productive homecoming weekend with a shining three goals in two nights. Wade Allison (8th) also returned to the Lehigh Valley lineup with thunder by registering a game-tying, power-play goal.

Toronto, in the midst of a nine-game road swing including eight in the United States, opened the scoring only 4:13 into the contest. Former Phantoms forward, Kieffer Bellows greeted his old club rudley by burying a 2-on-1 chance past goaltender Parker Gahagen. Bellows’ goal marked his 11th point (6g, 5a) in his last eight games for the Marlies.

Bobby Brink was rewarded for going to the blue paint and earned a greasy goal for the Phantoms to equalize prior to intermission. Samu Tuomaala funneled the puck towards the Toronto net, and Brink was on the spot for a quick chip-in at the 18:15 mark. It’s the third time in Brink’s young career the sophomore has tallied in consecutive games. Brink finished the 2022-23 season by scoring in consecutive nights on April 14 versus Cleveland and April 15 at Hershey. The Minnetonka, Minnesota native also scored in his first two professional games on January 6, 2023 at Rochester and January 11, 2023 at Bridgeport.

Toronto countered with a quick deuce in the second period to claim a 3-1 advantage after 40 minutes. Robert Mastrosimone scored his second goal of the season at 7:16, and Kyle Clifford directed a puck off his skate and past Parker Gahagen at 11:39.

But similar to Lehigh Valley’s valiant effort on Friday night to erase a three-goal deficit, the Phantoms proved once again they are never out of any given hockey game. In the third period, the Orange and Black were fully opportunistic of a 5-on-3 power-play chance. A timeout on the bench before the two-man advantage allowed Assistant Coach John Snowden to rally his troops and draw-up a play on the whiteboard, which soon worked to perfection.

Brink scored his second of the night at 5:59 after his shot from below the left-wing face-off dot changed direction off the stick of Toronto’s Joe Blandisi. Cooper Marody and Emil Andrae earned the power-play helpers.

Only 101 seconds later and still on the man-advantage, Wade Allison returned to the lineup with vengeance and unleashed a wicked shot for the equalizer. Andrae once more earned the assist to complete a multi-point game for the rookie blueliner.

Strong work by the Phantoms penalty kill late, which finished the night 4-for-5, allowed Lehigh Valley to secure a standings point and force sudden-death overtime. In the three-on-three display, the Phantoms dominated puck possession, but stops by Keith Petruzzelli preluded an eventual shootout.

J.R. Avon scored in the shootout, but Alex Steeves and Logan Shaw both struck for Toronto to complete a 4-3 Marlies decision.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms will continue a six-game homestand at PPL Center with a Wednesday night delight against their rival Hershey Bears on January 31 at 7:05 p.m. Ticket information is available online at

1st 4:13 – TOR, K. Bellows (17) (R. Tverberg, M. Rifai) (0-1)
1st 18:15 – LV, B. Brink (2) (S. Tuomaala, A. Ginning) (1-1)

2nd 7:16 – TOR, R. Mastrosimone (2) (J. Slavin, M. Kokkonen) (1-2)
2nd 11:39 – TOR, K. Clifford (8) (J. Blandisi, M. Lajoie) (PP) (1-3)

3rd 5:59 – LV, B. Brink (3) (C. Marody, E. Andrae) (5×3 PP) (2-3)
3rd 7:40 – LV, W. Allison (8) (E. Andrae) (PP) (3-3)

LV 33 – TOR 31

LV 2/4, TOR 1/5

LV – P. Gahagen (SOL) (27/30) (4-3-3)
TOR – K. Petruzzelli (W) (30/33) (6-5-1)

Lehigh Valley (17-16-7)
Toronto (17-14-6)

Wednesday, January 30 (7:05) – Hershey at 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 – Alumni Reunion with Colin McDonald, Sam Morin and More!