Phantoms Power Play Presented by Provident Bank

3 Game Homestand to Finish 2023

December 26, 2023

Allentown, PA – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (12-11-5) are back at PPL Center for a big three-game homestand to conclude play in calendar year 2023. Lehigh Valley took three out of four standings points at the Charlotte Checkers last weekend in the final games before the holiday break.
The slate this week begins on Wednesday when the Phantoms welcome the Utica Comets, AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils.
Saturday it’s the rival Hershey Bears on a Whiteout Night featuring the first look this season and the team’s bold Whiteout uniforms while fans receive Whiteout Knit Caps courtesy of The Morning Call.
Sunday it’s the New Year’s Eve battle with the Charlotte Checkers including glow sticks courtesy of Penn Community Bank preceding the World’s Largest Puck Drop outside PPL Center at midnight.

Thursday, December 21, 2023
Phantoms 3 – Charlotte 2 (OT)
Tanner Laczynski went top shelf past Spencer Knight for another overtime victory against the Checkers, this time in North Carolina. Ronnie Attard had scored in overtime against Charlotte just eight days earlier at PPL Center. Samu Tuomaala and J.R. Avon also lit the lamp in Lehigh Valley’s exciting road win as Laczynski scored in overtime for the second time in his career and the first time since March 2021.

Friday, December 22, 2023
Checkers 5 – Phantoms 4 (SO)
The Phantoms rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits to earn a standings point at Charlotte in the final game before the holiday break. After trailing 2-0 in the first period, Lehigh Valley surged back to tie the game on goals by Louie Belpedio (1st) and Tanner Laczynski (8th). But the Checkers pushed back in front at 4-2 setting the stage for another Lehigh Valley comeback on goals by Wade Allison (6th) and Cooper Marody (7th). Both teams had phenomenal chances in a wild overtime that featured 12 combined shots but eventually the Checkers would win in the first shootout of the season for either team. Mackie Samoskevich led the Checkers’ attack with two goals and Brendan Perlini scored in Round 3 for the winner.

Dec 26 – Parker Gahagen (G) – Loaned to Reading by Lehigh Valley
Dec 26 – Cal Petersen (G) – Returned on loan to Lehigh Valley from Philadelphia

Lehigh Valley’s power play just gets better and better. The Phantoms are third in the AHL, and first in the Eastern Conference, at 24.8%. And Lehigh Valley’s 27.5% success rate on the road is best in the AHL.
The Phantoms have scored a power-play goal in 14 of the last 15 games going 18-for-56 (32.1%) since November 12.  The Phantoms are also on a streak of six straight games with a power-play goal (7-for-25, 28.0%) that immediately followed a nine-game streak. It’s been a balanced attack that has generated the team’s tremendous success on the man-advantage.
Cooper Marody (3-11-14) has the most power-play points of any Eastern Conference player and is one off the AHL lead. Samu Tuomaala (5-8-13) is tied for the most power-play goals for AHL rookies and is tied for second in rookie power-play points.
Olle Lycksell (6-6-12) and Tanner Laczynski (4-6-10) are both at double-digit power-play points as well.
Emil Andrae (2-7-9),  J.R. Avon (3-1-4) and Wade Allison (2-1-3) also have multiple power-play goals.

Philadelphia’s Round 2 selection in the 2021 NHL Draft is having a massive season in his first full pro campaign in North America. 20-year-old Finland product Samu Tuomaala (8-17-25) now leads the Phantoms in scoring and also rates third among AHL rookies in points and assists while leading the Eastern Conference in both categories.


  • Emil Andrae is on a five-game point streak scoring 2-6-8 since Dec 13. The Flyers round 2 selection in 2020 from Sweden is in his first full season of pro hockey in North America.
  • Tanner Laczynski has multiple points in consecutive games (2-2-4). The fourth-year pro out of Ohio State scored his second career overtime goal last Thursday
  • Cooper Marody has points in five of the last six games (2-7-9). The 28-year-old veteran of 257 career AHL games has 240 points across six seasons with Bakersfield and Lehigh valley
  • The Phantoms played consecutive games to overtime or shootout last week and have had overtime contests in three of the last five games
  • The Phantoms are:
    7-3-3 when scoring first
    10-2-3 when scoring three or more goals
    9-1-0 when leading after two periods
    9-2-2 when allowing three goals or fewer

Wednesday, December 27, 2023 (7:05 p.m.)
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Phantoms vs. Utica Comets
Utica (10-11-3) arrives to PPL Center for its lone visit of the season. It’s the return of three former Phantoms as Max Willman (7-6-13), Kyle Criscuolo (5-9-14) and Ryan Fitzgerald all return to Allentown for the first time since they played for Lehigh Valley. Willman played 142 games with the Phantoms over four seasons from 2019-23 scoring 32-35-71 while also playing in 50 games with Philadelphia scoring 4-2-6.
The Comets have lost three straight and have scored only three goals during their pre-Holiday Break slump. Fourth-year pro Graeme Clarke (10-9-19) leads the offense. Rookie prospect Isaac Poulter (8-4-1, 2.33, .920) has done a commendable job keeping his team in games.
The Comets special teams feature the ultimate of highs and lows. Utica’s penalty kill is best in the AHL at 87.4% but the power play is dead last at a paltry 11.1%.

Saturday, December 30, 2023 (7:05 p.m.)
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Phantoms vs. Hershey Bears
Hershey (24-6-0) is surging again as the first-place Bears return from the break on a five-game win streak. The current run came shortly after a nine-game winning streak. The Bears allow under 2.2 goals per game on just 25.7 shots allowed per contest, both best in the AHL. Veteran Mike Sgarbossa (5-24-29) leads the AHL in assists while free-agent pickup from France, Pierrick Dube, has a league-leading 16 goals including four against the Phantoms. Clay Stevenson (10-4-0, 1.79, .931) leads the AHL in goals-against average and two of his league-leading four shutouts have come against the Phantoms.
Lehigh Valley is 1-2-1 against Hershey this season but won the most recent matchup in a 4-1 decision at Chocolate Town on November 12.

Sunday, December 31, 2023 (7:05 p.m)
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Phantoms vs. Charlotte Checkers
It’s a New Year’s Eve special at PPL Center welcoming the rival Charlotte Checkers (14-10-3), AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers. The Phantoms and Checkers are meeting for a fifth time in the month of December with Lehigh Valley currently boasting a 3-0-1 record against their Tar Heel State foes.
The AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers is led by hard-shooting defenseman Lucas Carlsson (8-12-20) who scored the double-overtime goal in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Playoffs against the Phantoms last year. Carlsson was also second-team All-AHL scoring 20-34-54 in 61 games finishing tied for first among blueliners in goals and second in points.
Rookie first-rounder Mackie Samoskevich (8-11-19) had a two-goal game against the Phantoms last Friday in Charlotte. He scored a gigantic goal at PPL Center with his overtime winner for the University of Michigan against Penn State in the NCAA Regional Final in Allentown last March.
Former Phantom Gerry Mayhew (4-10-14) is in his second season with the Checkers after splitting time between the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms in 2021-22. He scored nine goals in 24 games in his time with Lehigh Valley.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Samu Tuomaala 8-17-25
Cooper Marody 7-18-25
Tanner Laczynski 8-14-22
Olle Lycksell 12-8-20
Emil Andrae 3-11-14

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

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