Phantoms Keep it Rolling
March 8, 2023
Lehigh Valley, PA – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms picked up back-to-back wins against two of the top teams in the AHL with home victories over the North Division first-place Toronto Marlies and Atlantic Division second-place Providence Bruins. Lehigh Valley (26-22-6) is now in a fourth-place tie in the Atlantic Division with Springfield and has just 16 games remaining in the regular season, 10 of which will be at PPL Center. The top six teams qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs.
The upcoming weekend begins with a Friday night away game at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Then “Los Fantasmas” are back on Hockey Fiesta Weekend at PPL Center celebrating the area’s Hispanic heritage. Lehigh Valley will host the Belleville Senators and Utica Comets on Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday at 4:05 p.m. also includes meLVin Youth Jerseys for the first 2,000 kids age 14 and younger.
This weekend also makes the beginning of a season-long five-game homestand for the Phantoms.
Friday, March 3, 2023
Crunch 4 – Phantoms 1
Max Lagace stood on his head with 35 saves for host Syracuse to thwart the Lehigh Valley attack. Artem Anisimov finally broke through in the third period but Felix Robert notched a pair of goals to lead the Crunch to victory. Lehigh Valley came out strong with a 16-shot barrage in the first period but Lagace was equal to the task with a number of impressive saves in one of the best goaltending performances the Phantoms have faced this season.
Saturday, March 4, 2023
Phantoms 4 – Marlies 3
The Phantoms were “Puttin’ on the Foil” and responded to Dave Hanson’s special pregame speech to the team in a 4-3 takedown of the Toronto Marlies at PPL Center. Elliot Desnoyers scored his team-leading 20th goal of the season and Artem Anisimov made it a three-game goal streak. Garrett Wilson had his 11th goal and also an assist while Sam Ersson turned aside 17 out of 20 Toronto shots. The Phantoms finished the season series 1-0-1 against Toronto.
Sunday, March 5, 2023
Phantoms 3 – Bruins 1
Adam Brooks led the way with two goals and one assist while rookie goalie Nolan Maier was outstanding in a 25-save performance and Lehigh Valley topped Providence 3-1 to close out the weekend at PPL Center. The teams were deadlocked 0-0 after 40 minutes but Justin Brazeau broke through for Providence in the third period on the power play. The Phantoms offered a quick response with Bobby Brink’s goal from Adam Brooks less than two minutes later. Then Brooks scored the from the slot with 8:12 left to break the 1-1 tie and added an empty netter at the end after Max Willman’s long drive down ice hit the post. The Phantoms finished the season series 4-1-1 against Providence.
Defenseman Will Zmolek has signed a one-year entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers for the 2023-24 season and will join the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on an Amateur Tryout Contract for the remainder of the 2022-23 season. The 23-year-old from Bemidji State (MN) is a 6-foot-4 native of Rochester, M with a left-handed shot who scored 4-17-21 this season. The rugged and durable alternate captain with the Beavers was among the NCAA leaders in time-on-ice. Will is the son of former NHL’er Doug Zmolek (SJ, DAL, LA, CHI) and the younger brother of Riese Zmolek of the AHL Iowa Wild.
A trio of young prospects are tops on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in scoring. A pair of 21-year-olds are tops with rookie Elliot Desnoyers (20-18-38) tied for the team-lead in points with Tyson Foerster (18-20-38) who is in his second pro season.
23-year-old North American rookie Olle Lycksell (10-26-36) is next having produced at almost a point-per-game in his 37 games with the team while also receiving multiple call-ups and eight games in the NHL with Philadelphia. And rookie defenseman Ronnie Attard (8-17-25) leads Phantoms blueliners in points and joined Foerster at the AHL All-Star Classic in Laval.
While Foerster had played for the Phantoms prior to the 2022-23 season, the 2020 first-rounder has never played a full 72-game season at the pro level. He had just 24 games in the abbreviated 2020-21 season that started in February and last year, at 19, only played in nine games with Lehigh Valley before a shoulder injury in November derailed his season.
MOST GOALS BY ROOKIE WITH LEHIGH VALLEY
22 – Danick Martel (2015-16)
20 – Elliot Desnoyers (2022-23)
19 – Connor Bunnaman (2018-19)
– Garrett Wilson has scored 6-5-11 in the last eight games in a stretch that has included a five-game point streak as well as a hat trick on February 20 against Hartford.
– Artem Anisimov had another three-game goal streak from February 27 through March 5. The 13-year NHL veteran of 771 games has had three such streaks for the Phantoms this season.
– Sam Ersson is 5-1-0, 2.19. 912 with one shutout in his last six games with the Phantoms since February 4. Since making his NHL debut on December 23, the rookie goaltender has gone 8-3-0 with the Phantoms and also 6-1-0 with the Flyers for a combined record of 14-4-0.
– Elliot Desnoyers has scored 6-9-15 in his last 11 games since February 1. The 21-year-old center was named AHL Rookie of the Month for February scoring 5-9-14 in just eight games played last month while also making is NHL debut
– The Phantoms are….
21-7-5 when scoring 3 or more goals
20-1-1 when allowing 2 goals or fewer
16-5-6 in one-goal games
13-3-6 when scoring the first goal
17-2-4 when leading after two periods
4-3 in overtime and 3-3 in shootouts
Friday, March 10, 2023
Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (23-23-9) is still in playoff contention but the last-place Penguins need to get it moving as they trail sixth-place Bridgeport by three points. Veteran goalie Dustin Tokarski (10-9-5, 2.47, .917) has returned from Pittsburgh backup duty to lead the playoff push but leading scorer Alex Nylander (25-25-50) has been summoned to Pittsburgh and played his first NHL game since 2019-20 with Chicago. Valtteri Puustinen (21-26-47) remains dangerous as does NHL veteran Drake Caggiula (14-26-40) but the Baby Pens are last in the conference in offense at 2.75 goals per game. The Phantoms are 4-3-1 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton entering Game 9 out of 12 in the season series but the Penguins took the last matchup in a 4-3 decision in the last meeting on February 22 in northeast Pennsylvania.
Saturday, March 11, 2023 (7:05)
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Phantoms vs. Belleville Senators
The Los Fantasmas open Hockey Fiesta Weekend at PPL Center against the Belleville Senators, AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators. Belleville (24-27-5) is in last place in the North Division but trails the fifth-place Laval Rocket by just three points for the playoff cut. The resurgent Senators have responded to a coaching change to win seven of their last 10. David Bell stepped in as interim head coach for the ousted Troy Mann shortly before the team’s hot stretch. The B-Sens are led by 2020 second-rounder Egor Sokolov (17-31-48) and former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin Jake Lucchini (14-26-40) while rookie Angus Crookshank (21-14-35) is tops on the team in goals and also third among all AHL rookies. But Belleville is hemorrhaging 3.7 goals allowed per game, worst in the AHL, partly due to a rotating cast of goaltenders resulting from recalls and injuries.
Sunday, March 12, 2023 (4:05)
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Phantoms vs. Utica Comets
“Los Fantasmas” close out Hockey Fiesta weekend against “Los Cometas de Utica”, AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils. The defending North Division champions have not been quite as dominant this season but are still very strong. Utica (27-20-8) is holding down second place and carries a five-game point streak (4-0-1) into the weekend. Graeme Clarke (20-24-34) is tops on the team. Hard-shooting first-rounder Alex Holtz had 26 goals for the Comets last year and has recently returned to Utica after sitting out with New Jersey as a healthy scratch for a majority of the season. The Comets recently lost Andreas Johnsson and Nikita Okhotiuk to San Jose in the Timo Meier trade as part of a 10-player deal.
Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Elliot Desnoyers 20-18-38
Tyson Foerster 18-20-38
Olle Lycksell 10-26-36
Garrett Wilson 11-18-29
Artem Anisimov 16-12-28
Ronnie Attard 8-17-25
Phantoms Tickets are available HERE
Friday, March 10 (7:00) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Saturday, March 11 (7:05) vs. BELLEVILLE SENATORS
Sunday, March 12 (4:05) vs. UTICA COMETS
Wednesday, March 15 (7:05) vs. HERSHEY BEARS
Friday, March 17 (7:05) vs. HERSHEY BEARS
Saturday, March 11 (7:05) vs. Belleville Senators – Hockey Fiesta Weekend and Saturday Night Hockey Live
Sunday, March 12 (4:05) vs. Utica Comets – meLVin Youth Jersey Day (first 2,000 kids age 14 and younger) and Hockey Fiesta Weekend
Wednesday, March 15 (7:05) vs. Hershey Bears – Truist Night. Chamber of Commerce Night. $2 Pregame Happy Hour Beers
Friday, March 17 (7:05) vs. Hershey Bears – St. Patrick’s Day! Whiteout Night. $1 Hot Dogs
Sunday, March 19 (4:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Prospect Pack Trading Card Sets for First 5,000 Fans
Broadcast coverage of all Phantoms games, home and away, is available on the Phantoms 365 app and on Real Oldies 1470-AM in Allentown. Fans can watch on AHLTV.com and can listen on their Smart Speakers at: “Play Phantoms Radio 24/7.” Join the Voice of the Phantoms, Bob Rotruck, for all the action!
Service Electric Network again provides exclusive television coverage of all Phantoms home games with veteran announcer Steve Degler and Phantoms’ alum Steven Swavely on the call from the booth. Kristi Fulkerson reports from ice level and also from the Chickie’s and Pete’s studio with Dan Fremuth for pregame, intermission and postgame show analysis.