PREVIEW: Phantoms at Americans

Wednesday, January 17, 7:05 p.m.
Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, NY
Lehigh Valley (16-13-6) at Rochester (16-13-4)

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms open a three-game road-swing up north as they take on the Rochester Americans, AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres.
Lehigh Valley is on a four-game point streak at 3-0-1 to open 2024 following a pair of home victories last weekend over Hartford and Hershey.
The Phantoms won the previous meeting against Rochester on November 25 in a 5-4 decision at PPL Center.

J-R Avon scored in the fourth round for Lehigh Valley’s first shootout victory of the season as the Phantoms pushed past the first-place Hershey Bears 4-3 on Saturday at PPL Center. Ronnie Attard tied the game in the third period. Olle Lycksell (15th) and Samu Tuomaala (11th) scored for the Phantoms in the first. Cal Petersen made the Save of the Year with his incredible two-pad stack in the second period sliding across on his left hip and kicking his right leg way up high in the air.

The Phantoms are third in the AHL with 11 overtime games trailing only Rochester (13) and Springfield (12). Lehigh Valley is 4-5 in overtime decisions and 1-1 in shootouts. Lehigh Valley has gone to overtime in three out of four games to begin calendar year 2024.
The Phantoms have also gone to overtime in four consecutive away games including December 21 and December 22 (shootout) at Charlotte followed by overtime thrillers on January 6 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and January 7 at Hershey. Lehigh Valley has played to overtime in five of the last nine games overall as well as six of the last 12.
Samu Tuomaala is the first Lehigh Valley rookie to score two overtime goals in a season (Nov 3 vs. HFD and Jan 6 at WBS) while Ronnie Attard (Dec 13 vs. CLT) and Tanner Laczynski (Dec 21 at CLT) have also scored overtime winners.

Tonight will be captain Garrett Wilson’s 200th game with the Phantoms. He becomes the 11th player to achieve the feat with Lehigh Valley as well as the 28th all-time in Phantoms franchise history.
Wilson has scored 42 goals with 59 assists for 101 points through four seasons with the Phantoms. He has played in 612 career games in the AHL via stays with San Antonio, Portland, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Toronto and Lehigh Valley scoring 136-170-306 with 1,033 penalty minutes. Wilson has also played in 84 NHL games with Pittsburgh and Florida scoring 2-4-6.

Phantoms scoring leaders in Ja
Cooper Marody 1-4-5
Olle Lycksell 3-2-5
Samu Tuomaala 3-1-4
Ronnie Attard 2-2-4

Rochester (16-13-4) is coming off a weekend split in Charlotte including a 5-2 loss in an outdoor game on Saturday. Defense and goaltending has been inconsistent for the affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres as the Amerks allow 3.9 goals per game which is worst in the AHL and are also at the bottom of the league on the penalty kill at 75.4%. A pair of young first-rounders, Isak Rosen (9-15-24) and Juri Kulich (16-7-23), lead the Americans and both will represent the team at the upcoming AHL All-Star Classic.
20-year-old Rosen is a #14 overall selection in 2021 out of Sweden. Kulich scored 24 goals in the AHL last year at just 18 years old. This year, he’s eclipsing that pace with 16 goals before the halfway mark. Kulich also tacked on another 6-6-12 for Czechia at the recently completed World Juniors. Both were absent on recalls to Buffalo when The Phantoms pushed past Rochester on November 25 at PPL Center in a 5-4 decision. Lehigh Valley while out-shooting the Amerks 49-15. Tanner Laczynski and Alexis Gendron both had a pair of goals in that contest.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Cooper Marody 9-23-32
Samu Tuomaala 11-18-29
Tanner Laczynski 8-18-26
Olle Lycksell 15-11-26
Ronnie Attard 7-13-20

Amerks Scoring Leaders
Isak Rosen 9-15-24
Jiri Kulich 16-7-23
Lukas Rousek 6-17-23
Brandon Biro 10-10-20
Michael Mersch 5-14-19

Lehigh Valley PP, 21.8% (5th)
Lehigh Valley PK 81.7% (15th)
Rochester PP 20.4% (10th)
Rochester PK 75.4% (32nd)

Lehigh Valley heads to northeast Ohio for a back-to-back set on Friday and Saturday nights against the first place Cleveland Monsters.
The Phantoms return to PPL Center on Friday, January 26 and Saturday, January 27 hosting the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Toronto Marlies. January 27 has an auto-racing theme on Racing Night and also includes a Youth Knit Hat Giveaway for the first 2,500 kids age 14 and younger.

Wednesday, January 17 (7:05) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Rochester Americans
Friday, January 19 (7:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Cleveland Monsters
Saturday, January 20 (7:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Cleveland Monsters

Friday, January 26 (7:05) – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Lehigh Valley
Saturday, January 27 (7:05) – Toronto at Lehigh Valley – Racing Night and Youth Knit Hat Night