Hockey Returns to Center City Allentown This Weekend!
September 16, 2022
Lehigh Valley, PA – It’s a GAMEDAY at PPL Center with the official return of hockey to the home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, this time with NHL teams in this weekend’s Rookie Series at PPL Center. The Philadelphia Flyers take on the New York Rangers tonight at 7:05 and will rematch on Saturday night at 5:05.
This weekend marks the seventh and eighth occasions for the Philadelphia Flyers to play at PPL Center. The Flyers are 3-0-2 all-time in Allentown and are 8-3-2 all-time in Rookie Games.
Some of the top prospects from both organizations will be showcasing their skills and looking to impress in their first taste of game action. And there’s also a lot on the line for the young players hungry for roster spots on the Flyers.
Ian Laperriere and the Phantoms’ coaching staff are running Rookie Camp and will be the coaching staff for the Rookie Series while Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella will be observing from the press box along with several other representatives from the Flyers front office.
Flyers first-rounder Tyson Foerster, fresh off a Gold Medal win with Team Canada in the World Juniors Tournament in August, is now fully recovered from his shoulder injury last year. The 20-year-old is looking to make a big push through Rookie Camp and Flyers Training Camp to crack the roster of the big club but there’s a lot of competition. Having recently played games while also showing a strong performance just a month ago perhaps gives Tyson an advantage over the other players who have not played in any games since last season.
Ian Laperriere has already indicated that the Cates brothers, Noah and Jackson, will be on a top line with Foerster. Noah Cates scored five goals in 16 games after joining the Flyers late last season. Older brother Jackson had his season with the Phantoms cut short due to injury but he also has NHL experience with the Flyers. That strong line will certainly be a lot for the Rangers to contend with.
Newcomer Elliot Desnoyers is entering his professional debut season and is coming off an immensely successful final year of Major Juniors with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL where he scored 42 goals.
Zayde Wisdom is back as well. The energetic winger was a fan favorite in the 2020-21 season when he became the youngest player in franchise history. But the 2021-22 season didn’t go quite as well as he had shoulder surgery before the season even started and then later needed to find his game again upon his return to the Kingston Frontenacs in the Ontario Hockey League. Wisdom is healthy again as well and ready to pick up where he left off at the American Hockey League level in the 2020-21 season.
Defenseman Egor Zamula will show off his new frame. Having added 12 pounds over the summer, the hope is that the slick-moving blueliner is more capable than ever of winning battles and pucks in corners and competing with the strongest of opponents. Adding muscle was considered critically important for Big Z’s development.
These games are probably even more important for the Rookie Camp Invites who are hoping they can earn a contract with the Flyers or Phantoms. The weekend will also be about getting a good look at some guys the front office is not as familiar with but wants to learn more about. Theo Rochette had a gigantic season in the QMJHL with the Quebec Remparts racking up 99 points in 66 games. Tye McSorley, nephew of former NHL tough-guy Marty McSorley, is one to watch as well. We can expect some of the less familiar names to log big minutes during both games to give the Flyers’ front office the longest look possible at these players whom some have never seen live before.
For the New York Rangers, many eyes will be on first-rounder Brennan Othmann, who played in the Rookie Games last year as well. At 19 years old, is he now ready to crack the roster for the big club? He scored 50 goals in the Ontario Hockey League last year with the Flint Firebirds and is undoubtedly looking to make a big statement beginning tonight at PPL Center.
Brennan Othmann, Will Cuylle (2nd round, 2020 from the Windsor Spitfires) and Dylan Garand (4th round, 2020) were all teammates last month with Flyers forwards Tyson Foerster and Eliott Desnoyers on Team Canada at the World Juniors. That’s five players in these Rookie Games who are Gold Medalists following Canada’s win over Finland. But the fun of this Team Canada reunion will be short-lived once the puck is dropped in the Flyers vs. Rangers rivalry.
Defenseman Zac Jones got a 12-game taste of NHL action late in the season. The 21-year-old from Richmond, Va. developed his game nicely with the Hartford Wolf Pack last year and is absolutely on the radar to stick in the NHL for this coming season.
Bobby Trivigno of UMass-Amherst helped push the team to a 2021 National Championship in the Frozen Four and was one of the more highly sought free agents last year. The Rangers won the “Trivigno Sweepstakes” and are keen to see what the talented 23-year-old can do at the professional level. He got a taste late last season playing 11 games with Hartford in which he scored his professional goal. Trivigno and UMass lost in the 2019 National Championship game to Noah Cates and Jackson Cates at Minnesota-Duluth.
Gigantic Matt Rempe will be easy to spot during the game, and you won’t need to know that he wears jersey number 73. The 6-foot-9 center from the Seattle Thunderbirds is a noticeable and imposing presence for the Rangers.
Those are just some of the key players and storylines for the games this weekend.
Welcome back to hockey season, everyone!
Flyers Rookie Games History (Flyers are 8-3-2 all-time in Rookie Games)
2021: Flyers 6 – Rangers 3 in Voorhees, NJ
Rangers 3 – Flyers 2 in Tarrytown, NY
2020: NO GAME
2019: Islanders 5 – Flyers 4 (OT) in PPL Center, Allentown, PA
2018: Flyers 6 – Islanders 3 in East Meadow NY
2017: Islanders 4 – Flyers 3 (OT) in Philadelphia, PA
2016: Flyers 4 – Islanders 0 in East Meadow, NY
2015: NO GAME
2014: Flyers 3 – Capitals 0 in Voorhees, NJ
2013: Flyers 1 – Capitals 0 in Arlington, VA
2012: NO GAME
2011: Flyers 3 – Capitals 2 in Philadelphia, PA
2010: Capitals 4 – Flyers 3 in Arlington, VA
2009: Flyers 7 – Capitals 3 in Voorhees, NJ
2008: Capitals 7 – Flyers 0 in Arlington, VA
2007: Flyers 5 – Capitals 3 in Voorhees, NJ
Flyers Preseason and Rookie Games at PPL Center
2019: Islanders 5 – Flyers 4 (SO) (Rookie Game)
2018: Islanders 3 – Flyers 2 (SO)
2017: Flyers 3 – Islanders 2 (OT)
2016: Flyers 2 – Devils 0
2015: Flyers 5 – Islanders 3
2014: Orange 5 – White 3 in the Flyers intrasquad “Battle on Hamilton”