First Chance for New Additions and Tryout Players
October 3, 2023
Lehigh Valley, PA – Several newcomers and tryout players took to the ice Tuesday in the Lehigh Valley Phantoms preseason opener against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Penguins came away with a 4-0 victory in a matchup of teams that are early in their process of learning systems and getting on the same page. The preseason contest also marked the official debut of the Phantoms in the team’s 10th season in the Valley which is presented by Service Electric.
Lehigh Valley’s lineup included five tryout players on contract with the Reading Royals of the ECHL as well as several familiar faces such as Garrett Wilson, Elliot Desnoyers, Zayde Wisdom and Jordy Bellerive. Newcomers on AHL contracts who dressed for the contest included Evan Polei and Ryan Chyzowski while young prospects Ethan Samson and Alexis Gendron got their first official taste of the American Hockey League and recently acquired Helge Grans dressed in a Phantoms jersey for the first time.
The Penguins converted on a pair of first-period chances against Nolan Maier just 40 seconds apart with big Austin Rueschhoff cashing in when he maneuvered to the slot after a blocked pass came back to him. His power-play goal at 11:51 put the Penguins on the board at 1-0 and then Lukas Svejkovsky deflected a shot at the net front from Evan Vierling after working the puck around the boards from the left wing.
The pair of goals against Phantoms netminder Parker Gahagen gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead at the first intermission but Gahagen made a number of impressive stops to keep Lehigh Valley close and was probably the team’s best player in the first period stopping 12 of 14 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton drive.
Defenseman Adam Karashik showed his physical play with a hard check that drew a boarding penalty and also a response from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Justin Addamo.
Kyle Olson drew some attention against his former team as well. The new Reading Royals forward is attending the Phantoms Training Camp on a tryout contract after playing the last two seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Some hard collisions dealt by and against Olson indicated that former teammates weren’t going to take it easy on each other.
Lehigh Valley buckled down its defense and limited the Penguins chances in the second period. The Phantoms generated the first few strong opportunities on goal including a strong drive from the right circle by tryout player Devon Paliani which was the toughest challenge so far for goaltender Joel Blomqvist. Shots in the second period were just 4-3 in favor of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton reestablished control in the final frame. Matt Filipe was at the net-front for a chip-in after Svejkovsky strongly carried to the right circle drawing relief goaltender Nolan Maier to the left side of the crease. Maier had to respect Svejkovsky’s scoring chance but the Penguins winger smartly flipped the pass into the middle instead for the 3-0 lead at 4:53 into the third period.
Justin Addamo received credit for the final goal of the game on a pass across the slot in which Garrett Wilson was guarding his man on the backdoor. The pass may have deflected off Wilson in the physical engagement at the right of the cage as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton built its advantage to 4-0 with 4:14 remaining to conclude the scoring.
The Phantoms continue the preseason on Saturday evening with a 6:05 p.m. rematch against the Penguins in Northeast Pennsylvania.
The Phantoms are back at PPL Center for the final game of the preseason on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. against the Hershey Bears.
The highly anticipated 10th Season of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, presented by Service Electric, begins on Saturday, October 14 with an Opening Night clash against the Cleveland Monsters. Opening Weekend continues with a big 1:05 p.m. matinee on Sunday, October 16 taking on the Belleville Senators.
1st 11:51 – A. Rueschhoff (M. Filipe) (PP) (0-1)
1st 12:31 – L. Svejkovsky (E. Vierling, J. Lee) (0-2)
3rd 4:53 – M. Filipe (L. Svejkovsky, S. Dirven) (0-3)
3rd 15:46 – J. Addamo (L. Roehl) (0-4)
LV 11 – WBS 32
PP: LV 0/2, WBS 1/6
LV – P. Gahagen (13/15) (L)
LV – N. Maier (15/17) (ND)
WBS – J. Blomqvist (11/11) (W)
Saturday, October 7 (6:05) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at W-B/Scranton Penguins (Preseason)
Sunday, October 8 (1:05) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Preseason)
Saturday, October 14 (7:05) – Cleveland Monsters at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (OPENING WEEKEND!!)
Sunday, October 15 (1:05) – Belleville Senators at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (OPENING WEEKEND!!)
Phantoms Premier Memberships provide a true year-long membership that includes tickets to all Phantoms home games as well as year-round benefits and experiences that are exclusive to Premier Members only. Receive early entrance, presale ticket access for PPL Center events, 20% team store discount, enhanced insider access and experiences, and so much more!