Phantoms Rally with 4 Goals in 3rd

Seven Comeback Wins Leads AHL

March 9, 2024

Wilkes-Barre, PA – It took over 40 minutes but when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms finally solved goaltender Joel Blomqvist they couldn’t stop. The Phantoms equaled a season-high with four goals in a period in a 4-2 triumph at the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday night to earn a split in the two-game weekend series in which each team picked up a victory on the road.

Samu Tuomaala’s top-shelf strike on the power play got the Phantoms on the board and then Brendan Furry’s shorthanded breakaway, while the Penguins were on a five-minute power play, gave the Phantoms the lead for good and shifted momentum squarely to the men in Orange and Black.

Lehigh Valley (24-23-7) improved to 3-0 in games at Wilkes-Barre on goals by Samu Tuomaala (14th), Brendan Furry (5th), Adam Brooks (4th) and Evan Polei (1st) while Rhett Gardner landed a pair of assists and goaltender Parker Gahagen turned in a stellar 30-save performance.

The Phantoms rallied for a win after trailing at the second intermission for a seventh time this season which is the most comeback triumphs in the AHL.

It was familiar territory for the first 30 minutes of the game as neither team could break through on goaltenders Parker Gahagen and Joel Blomqvist who were both very much on top of their game. Lehigh Valley had some great chances at the net front and continually worked pucks down low only to be denied on the doorstep.

The Penguins broke through at 10:36 into the second period on a drive from the right boards by defenseman Ryan Shea (2nd) that squeaked past the right skate of Gahagen and may have gone off a skate on its way in.

The Phantoms trailed 1-0 after 40 minutes but didn’t let up.

Tuomaala went top shelf from the left circle on the power play for his first goal since February 2nd to tie the game at 1-1 at 2:!3 into the third period.

Garrett Wilson and Jager Joshua found a mutual distaste for each other and escalating tensions boiled over a few minutes later. Wilson was assessed a match penalty for a check against Ty Smith and shortly thereafter mixed it up with Joshua before exiting the game. The Phantoms were on a five-minute penalty kill but held off the Penguins. Gahagen made several big saves. And 3:30 into the kill, Gardner and Adam Karashik spotted an open Brendan Furry up the right wing who was able to speed past the Penguins skaters to create a shorthanderd breakaway. Furry angled in from the right boards and cut across the blue paint to stuff a backhander past the right skate of Blomqvist for a 2-1 lead at 7:22 into the final frame.

The Phantoms finished off the five-minute kill to preserve the lead and then went back on the attack. Adam Brooks picked off a pass from behind the goal and was ready for a quick flip through the five-hole of Blomqvist at 11:33 for a 3-1 advantage.

Two minutes later, Tuomaala got to a puck in deep behind the goal and set up Polei’s first goal as a Phantom on a top-shelf rocket from inside the left dot past the shoulder of Blomqvist to make it 4-1 at 13:58 into the third period.

The Penguins went on the power play with 5:22 left and then received a penalty shot with 5:11 to go when Gahagen was charged with a penalty for throwing his stick at a free puck in the crease. Sam Poulin (12th) converted on the backhand to pull the Penguins to within a goal but the Phantoms successfully held them off the rest of the way despite Wilkes-Barre/Scranton playing the last 5:20 of the game at 5-on-4 or 6-on-5.

The Phantoms improved to 4-3-0 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season including 3-0-0 in northeast Pennsylvania. The closing seconds of the game included more nastiness and physicality that could carry over into the next meeting between the two teams when they clash for a third time in six days as the Phantoms will make a return visit to Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday.

Tonight’s game was the first of five straight on the road for the Phantoms.

Next up is a Sunday afternoon showdown at the Bridgeport Islanders at 3:00 p.m.


2nd 10:36 – WBS, R. Shea (2) (T. Smith, V. Hinostroza) (0-1)

3rd 2:13 – LV, S. Tuomaala (14) (E. Andrae, C. Marody) (PP) (1-1)
3rd 7:22 – LV, B. Furry (5) (R. Gardner, A. Karashik) (SH) (2-1)
3rd 11:33 – LV, A. Brooks (4) (3-1)
3rd 13:58 – LV, E. Polei (1) (S. Tuomaala, R. Gardner) (4-1)
3rd 14:47 – WBS, S. Poulin (12) (PS)

LV 29 – WBS 32

LV 1/5, WBS 0/5

LV – P. Gahagen (W) (30/32) (6-7-3)
WBS – J. Blomqvist (L) (25/29) (18-9-5)

Lehigh Valley (24-23-7)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (29-20-8)

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Sunday, March 10 (3:00) at Bridgeport Islanders

Wednesday, March 13 (7:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Friday, March 15 (7:05) at Providence Bruins
Saturday, March 16 (7:05) at Providence Bruins

Wednesday, March 20 (7:05) vs. Springfield Thunderbirds – Joe Watson Book Signing / $1 Pretzels
Saturday, March 23 (7:05) vs. Bridgeport Islanders – Margaritaville Night
Sunday, March 24 (3:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Kids Takeover Day / Postgame Autographs Presented by NJM Insurance