Phantoms Earn Standings Point in Wild Shootout Game

Phantoms Rally Twice but Charlotte Prevails 5-4

December 22, 2023

Charlotte, NC – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms battled back from a pair of two-goal deficits and were tantalizingly close to a win to complete a sweep but the Charlotte Checkers barely hung on and stole a 5-4 shootout victory on Friday night in the final game before the Holiday Break.

Olle Lycksell (13th), Tanner Laczynski (8th), Wade Allison (7th) and Cooper Marody (8th) all scored for Lehigh Valley who trailed by scores of 2-0 and 4-2 but forged ties of 2-2 and 4-4. Allison also scored the lone shootout goal for the Phantoms in the team’s first shootout of the season. Brendan Perlini struck for the game-winner in Round 3 of the shootout after he was denied on a pair of overtime breakaways.

The teams traded chances back and forth through a wild and chaotic overtime that saw each team register six shots on goal. But Parker Gahagen for the Phantoms and Ludovic Waeber for the Checkers both stood tall in making a number of terrific saves to preserve the deadlocked result into the first shootout of the season.

Zac Dalpe (5th) scored from the right circle just nine seconds into the game after a dump-in eluded Gahagen. The Charlotte captain set a new record for fastest goal allowed by Lehigh Valley breaking the old record of 16 seconds set by Joe Snively of Hershey three seasons ago.

Perlini (6th) scored at 9:43 into the game to extend the lead to 2-0 when a rebound handcuffed Gahagen and had him leaning the wrong way.

The Phantoms answered late in the first when Lycksell scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season getting a piece of a Louie Belpedio slapper from the point with 1:39 left in the first.

Lehigh Valley (12-11-5) evened the score with a power-play goal early in the second period when Laczynski’s attempt to connect with Lycksell on the backdoor instead went off a Charlotte defender and into the net at 1:33 into the middle frame making it 2-2.

Charlotte retook the lead with some help from the active end-boards at Bojangles’ Coliseum with Mackie Samoskevich striking for his first of two from the right of the cage after Casey Fitzgerald’s drive ricocheted back out to the Florida Panthers first rounder.

Samoskevich scored on the power play early in the second period for his eighth of the year early in the third period. Charlotte (14-10-3) had again taken a two-goal advantage, this time at 4-2.

But the Phantoms had an answer again. Allison and Marody scored goals 36 seconds apart in Lehigh Valley’s next rally. Ethan Samson connected with Allison on the breakaway who blasted a drive from the slot past Waeber at 3:40 into the third. Marody sprinted up the right wing on a connection from Victor Mete. He took the shot himself on his 2-on-1 with Brooks and crushed a drive off the right post that banked off the back of the goalie to then dribble backward barely across the goal-line to even the count at 4-4.

The Phantoms dominated play in the third period and had several chances to take the lead but either just missed or were denied on the doorstep by Waeber. Lehigh Valley outshot Charlotte in the third period 14-5.

Both teams had incredible chances throughout the 3-on-3 insanity in the third overtime game in a row in the season series. But Lehigh Valley and Charlotte were both unable to break through despite a combined 12 shots on goal in just five minutes.

Samoskevich scored in the first round of the shootout but Wade Allison for Lehigh Valley answered in the second round tucking the puck around the left skate of Waeber after Allison pulled it around the goaltender’s poke-check attempt. But Lycksell was unable to convert in the third round and Perlini did past the blocker of Gahagen for the game-winner and the extra standings point.

Lehigh Valley took three out of four points in the series at Charlotte and now stands at 3-0-1 against the Checkers this season.

The Phantoms are now on the AHL Holiday Break for the next three days before resuming play on Wednesday night at PPL Center against the Utica Comets, AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, featuring $2 select beers during pregame Happy Hour.

1st 0:09 – CLT, Z. Dalpe (W. Skoog, C. Fitzgerald) (0-1)
1st 9:43 – CLT, B. Perlini (6) (P. Khodorenko, G. Mayhew (0-2)
1st 18:21 – LV, O. Lycksell (13) (L. Belpedio, T. Laczynski) (1-2)

2nd 1:33 – LV, T. Laczynski (8) (C. Marody, E. Andrae) (PP) (2-2)
2nd 4:54 – CLT, M. Samoskevich (7) (C. Fitzgerald, J. Wise) (2-3)

3rd 2:20 – CLT, M. Samoskevich (8) (U. Balinskis, J. Wise) (PP) (2-4)
3rd 3:40 – LV, W. Allison (6) (E. Samson) (3-4)
3rd 4:14 – LV, C. Marody (7) (V. Mete) (4-4)

No Scoring

LV – J. Avon (No), W. Allison (GOAL), O. Lycksell (No)
CLT – M. Samoskevich (GOAL), Z. Dalpe (No), B. Perlini (GOAL)

LV 42 – CLT 30

LV 1/4, CLT 1/2

LV – P. Gahagen (SOL) (26/30) (4-3-2)
CLT – L. Waeber (W) (38/42) (5-4-0)

Lehigh Valley (12-11-5)
Charlotte (14-10-3)


Wednesday, December 27 (7:05) – Utica Comets at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Pregame $2 Beers
Saturday, December 30 (7:05) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Phantoms Knit Caps presented by Morning Call. Whiteout Night.
Sunday, December 31 (7:05) – Charlotte Checkers at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – World’s Largest Puck Drop!