Lehigh Valley, PA – It’s Teddy Bear Toss Week with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (9-8-4) who enter a five-game homestand at PPL Center. The Phantoms host the Providence Bruins and Charlotte Checkers back-to-back on Berks $1 Hot Dog Night and Teddy Bear Toss Night presented by Big Woody’s. Fans are encouraged to bring their teddy bears and stuffed animal donations to the game on Saturday and they get to throw them onto the ice after the Phantoms score their first goal. The tradition and spectacle will feature thousands of teddy bears flying all across PPL Center. Last year we received 8,480 teddy bear donations thrown onto the ice to benefit area kids at Valley Youth House.
WEEKLY RECAP Friday, December 1, 2023 Wolf Pack 7 – Phantoms 3
Lehigh Valley fell behind in the first period and was not able to recover as the team’s six-game point streak came to a close. Hartford cranked in four power-play goals while Riley Nash and Ryder Korczak both scored two goals apiece. J.R. Avon (4th), Ronnie Attard (4th) and Samu Tuomaala (5th) all scored for Lehigh Valley.
Saturday, December 2, 2023 Wolf Pack 5 – Phantoms 4 (OT) The Phantoms raced out to a 2-0 lead, fell behind 4-2, rallied in the third to tie, and then were denied with just 0.5 seconds left in regulation before Hartford eventually snagged the additional standings point in overtime in this see-saw game. Helge Grans scored his first goal as a Phantom and Jordy Bellerive scored his first of the season as well. Wade Allison knocked home his third of the year and Garrett Wilson tied the game with 3:59 left on a deflection of a Ronnie Attard blast from the point. Brennan Othmann scored two goals for Hartford including the overtime winner.
Sunday, December 3, 2023 Bruins 3 – Phantoms 2
J.R. Avon (5th) scored his second goal of the weekend and Elliot Desnoyers tied the game in the third period on the breakaway with his third goal of the campaign but Justin Brazeau broke the tie midway through the second period as Providence goalie Brandon Bussi improved to 2-0-0 against the Phantoms this season.
IT’S TEDDY BEAR TIME!
Phantoms Phans have helped donate over 45,000 teddy bears and stuffed animals to Valley Youth House and other organizations in the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss. It’s a crazy spectacle like none other! Fans get to bring their stuffed animal donations to the game, sometimes by the box or bag-full, and then get to throw the animals onto the ice after the Phantoms score their first goal of the game.
Be ready! The fastest Teddy Bear Toss goal came just 59 seconds into the game on a goal by Nic Aube-Kubel in 2019.
The Phantoms record is 10,091 stuffed animals and plushies in 2019. Last year, we had 8,480 flying bears and tigers and lions after Cooper Marody scored Lehigh Valley’s first goal of the game.
The player who scores the official Teddy Bear Toss goal will help with the Monday delivery of all the stuffed animals to our friends at Valley Youth House.
Phantoms Teddy Bear Goal Scorer:
2014: Brett Hextall
2015: Andrew MacDonald
2016: Nic Aube-Kubel (:59 into the game)
2017: Matt Read
2018: Connor Bunnaman
2019: Chris Bigras
2021: Gerry Mayhew
2022: Cooper Marody
Lehigh Valley’s power play is first in the AHL at 25.6% and the team’s 20 total power-play markers is second-most in the league. The Phantoms are on a nine-game streak with a power-play goal going 12-for-30 (40.0%) in that stretch.
Olle Lycksell leads the league in power-play points with 12 and is tied for the AHL lead with six power-play goals. Olle Lycksell is tied for the league lead at six power-play markers (with Adam Gaudette of SPR and Ethen Frank of HER).
Tanner Laczynski (3-5-8), Cooper Marody (2-7-9), Samu Tuomaala (3-5-8) and J.R. Avon (2-1-3) also have multiple power-play goals.
Olle Lycksell (12-7-19) is fourth in the AHL with 12 goals and is tied for first in power-play goals at 6. Lycksell is also second with 79 shots on goal. He had his seven-game point streak (4-6-10) snapped on Saturday at Hartford which is also the longest for the Phantoms this season
Samu Tuomaala (5-13-18) is second in the AHL for most assists by a rookie with 13 and is tied for third in AHL Rookie Points. The 20-year-old rookie was a Round 2 pick of the Flyers in 2021 and has three times this season recorded three points in a game.
The Phantoms are:
5-1-3 when scoring first
8-1-2 when scoring three or more goals
8-0-0 when leading after two periods
7-2-2 when allowing three goals or fewer
3-1-1 on Friday
The Phantoms are also the most penalized team in the AHL at 19.1 average PIM per game which includes a league-leading 123 minor penalties. 98 times on the penalty kill this season is also most in the AHL. Captain and veteran leader Garrett Wilson leads the AHL with 69 PIM.
UPCOMING Friday, December 8, 2023 (7:05 p.m.) PPL Center, Allentown, PA Phantoms vs Providence Bruins
Providence (11-8-3) has won five straight on the other side of a four-game losing streak to rise from seventh all the way up to third place in the Atlantic Division. John Farinacci (6-11-17) is a rookie out of Harvard who leads the P-Bruins in scoring. First-rounder Fabian Lysell (6-8-14) scored in overtime against the Phantoms on November 24 at PPL Center but missed three games last week due to injury. Brandon Bussi (6-4-2, 2.58, .917) has picked up a pair of wins against Lehigh Valley and was sensational in net at PPL Center on November 24 with 41 saves when the P-Bruins won in overtime 2-1. Providence also defeated Lehigh Valley on December 3 by a 3-2 count. The P-Bruins won the Atlantic Division last year going 44-18-10 but were bounced by Hartford 3 games to 1 in their second-round playoff series.
Saturday, December 9, 2023 (7:05 p.m.) PPL Center, Allentown, PA Phantoms vs. Charlotte Checkers
It’s a rematch of last year’s Calder Cup Playoffs when the Phantoms and Checkers meet for the first time since their three-game showdown in Charlotte last year. Lehigh Valley is looking for revenge following a series in which the Phantoms took a 1-0 series lead before Charlotte won Game 2 in double-overtime and then the Game 3 clincher.
Charlotte (10-9-0) is coming off a rough homestand in which the Checkers went 1-5-0.
The AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers is led by hard-shooting defenseman Lucas Carlsson (8-9-17) who scored the double-overtime goal in Game 2 against the Phantoms last year. Carlsson was second-team All-AHL last year scoring 20-34-54 in 61 games finishing tied for first among blueliners in goals and second in points.
Rookie first-rounder Mackie Samoskevich (3-7-10) has already scored a gigantic goal at PPL Center with his overtime winner for the University of Michigan against Penn State in last year’s NCAA Regional Final in Allentown.
Lehigh Valley and Charlotte will rematch at PPL Center next Wednesday, December 13 and then will square off back-to-back in North Carolina the following week on December 21 and 22. The Phantoms and Checkers will play against each other five times in the month of December as part of an eight-game divisional rivalry series this season.
Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Olle Lycksell 12-7-19
Tanner Laczynski 6-12-18
Samu Tuomaala 5-13-18
Cooper Marody 5-11-16
Garrett Wilson 5-8-13
Friday, December 8 (7:05 p.m.) – Providence Bruins at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, December 9 (7:05 p.m.) – Charlotte Checkers at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Teddy Bear Toss presented by Big Woody’s!
Wednesday, December 13 (7:05) – Charlotte Checkers at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Military Appreciation Night
Friday, December 15 (7:05) – Laval Rocket at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, December 16 (7:05) – Springfield Thunderbirds at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Hispanic Heritage Night, Los Fantasmas!!