Ten Games to Go!
March 22, 2023
Lehigh Valley, PA – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms hit the stretch run of the 2022-23 regular season with a pair of rivalry road games this weekend traveling to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday followed by a Sunday evening clash at the Hershey Bears.
The Phantoms occupy the fifth-place playoff spot in the Atlantic Division with 10 games remaining in the season. Lehigh Valley is three points behind Springfield for a first-round home ice position at fourth place and the Phantoms are five points ahead of Hartford at the playoff cut-line. Lehigh Valley’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 17 points which is points acquired by the Phantoms or missed points by Hartford.
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Bears 6 – Phantoms 3
Garrett Wilson recorded his second hat trick of the season becoming only the second Lehigh Valley player to accomplish the feat. Wilson’s third goal came in the third period and brought the Phantoms to within a goal at 4-3 before the Bears pulled away. Julian Napravnik had a pair of goals for Hershey and former Phantom Matt Strong even the score at 2-2 in the second period with his first goal since the previous March when he scored two goals in a game for Lehigh Valley.
Friday, March 17, 2023
Bears 2 – Phantoms 1
Ronnie Attard snapped home his 11th goal of the season in the second period but that was all the Puck-Luck of the Irish the Phantoms could muster at PPL Center on St. Patrick’s Day. Sam Anas returned from a three-month injury absence to score the game-winning goal for visiting Hershey with 9:13 remaining in the third period. The Phantoms had their chances for more but the usually strong power play had an 0-for-5 slump in this one.
Sunday, March 19, 2023
Penguins 5 – Phantoms 2
Jackson Cates (11th) and Bobby Brink (8th) found the back of the net for Lehigh Valley but Drake Caggiula scored two early-period goals in the first and second frames to stake visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 2-0 lead that they never surrendered. Former Phantom Dustin Tokarski was particularly strong in net with a 36-save performance.
College hockey’s best arrive to PPL Center this weekend in the NCAA Tournament Allentown regionals hosted by Penn State. The Nittany Lions are a 2 seed as their fans look to turn the Lehigh Valley into Hockey Valley. The Michigan Wolverines are back in Allentown as a 1 seed for a second straight season setting up the possibility of an all Big10 showdown in the regional final on Sunday.
Louie Belpedio’s younger brother Nic Belpedio is a sophomore defenseman on the 4-seed Colgate Raiders.
Friday 5:00 – #2 Penn State Nittany Lions (21-15-1) vs. #3 Michigan Tech Huskies (24-10-4)
Friday 8:30 – #1 Michigan Wolverines (24-11-3) vs. #4 Colgate Raiders (19-15-5)
Sunday 6:30 – Winners of Friday games play for a trip to the Frozen Four!
Several Phantoms have played in the NCAA tournament including Jackson Cates with Minnesota-Duluth whose National Championship run in 2019 began with a pair of wins at PPL Center in the Allentown Regional. Bobby Brink led the nation in scoring and helped the Denver Pioneers to a Frozen Four championship in Boston last year.
CHASING A RECORD
Elliot Desnoyers has had an exceptional rookie season with the Phantoms that has seen him lead the team in scoring while also making his NHL debut with the Philadelphia Flyers. Now, the 21-year-old center is chasing history. Desnoyers is one goal away from equaling the all-time record for most goals by a rookie with Lehigh Valley held by Danick Martel who scored 22 goals in 2015-16.
Desnoyers also can potentially catch the Phantoms franchise record for goals by a rookie held by Kyle Greentree who had 24 goals in 2007-08.
MOST GOALS BY ROOKIE WITH LEHIGH VALLEY
22 – Danick Martel (2015-16)
21 – Elliot Desnoyers (2022-23)
19 – Connor Bunnaman (2018-19)
ZAMULA ZOOMS UP
The Philadelphia Flyers recalled defenseman Egor Zamula from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Zamula, 22, has played in 42 games with the Phantoms this season scoring one goal with 15 assists for 16 points. He began this season with Philadelphia where he played in 11 games for the Flyers with two assists. He has been with the Phantoms since December 8. He has scored 5-40-45 in 125 career games with Lehigh Valley while also playing in 23 career games with the Phantoms scoring 0-2-2.
– Garrett Wilson has scored 10-7-17 in the last 13 games in a stretch that has included a five-game point streak as well as two hat tricks (Feb 20 and Mar 15).
– The Phantoms are….
24-8-5 when scoring 3 or more goals
22-2-1 when allowing 2 goals or fewer
17-6-6 in one-goal games
15-3-6 when scoring the first goal
19-2-4 when leading after two periods
5-3 in overtime and 3-3 in shootouts
Saturday, March 25 (6:05)
Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (25-26-10) kept its playoff hopes alive with a big five-point weekend in six games to close to within four points of Bridgeport for the last postseason position. Lehigh Valley is 5-4-1 against the Baby Pens entering Game 11 out of 12 in the season series. Leading scorer Alex Nylander (25-25-50) is up with Pittsburgh. Dustin Tokarski (12-11-5, 2.47, .917) seems to be returning to form between the pipes. Drake Caggiula (17-28-45) has scored 6-3-9 against the Phantoms including a pair of markers in the last meeting on Sunday at PPL Center. Tyson Foerster (5-3-8) and Max Willman (3-4-7) are the top Lehigh Valley scores against their NEPA rivals.
Sunday, March 26, 2023 (5:00)
GIANT Center, Hershey, PA
Phantoms at Hershey Bears
Hershey is staying in the hunt for a division title and a three-game win streak following a three-game losing skid has kept the Bears within three points of first-place Providence. Hunter Shepard (15-6-5, 2.18, .914) is tops in the conference in goals-against average although Zach Fucale, currently with Washington, has received the bulk of the starts in the season series going 7-1-0, 2.35, .891 vs. Lehigh Valley. Hershey’s stingy defense surrenders a conference-best 2.55 goals per contest. Mike Sgarbossa (19-33-52) and former Phantom Mike Vecchione (20-26-46) pace the offense. Ethen Frank has 27 goals to lead all AHL rookies, six of which have come against Lehigh Valley. This is Game 12 of the season series and also represented the Phantoms’ sixth visit to Chocolatetown.
Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Elliot Desnoyers 21-18-39
Tyson Foerster 19-20-39
Olle Lycksell 10-28-38
Garrett Wilson 15-21-36
Cooper Marody 12-22-34
Artem Anisimov 16-13-29
Phantoms Tickets are available HERE
Saturday, March 25 (6:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Sunday, March 26 (5:00) at Hershey Bears
Friday, March 31 (7:05) vs. WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS
Saturday, April 1 (7:05) vs. HERSHEY BEARS
UPCOMING AT PPL CENTER
Friday, March 24 (5:00 and 8:30) – NCAA Tournament – Penn State vs. Michigan Tech and Michigan vs. Colgate
Sunday, March 26 (6:30) – NCAA Tournament Regional Final, First-round winners from Friday games
Friday, March 31 (7:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Berks $1 Hot Dogs
Saturday, April 1 (7:05) vs. Hershey Bears – Saturday Night Hockey Live
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.