PREVIEW: Phantoms at Bears, Game #2

Lehigh Valley Phantoms (1-0-0) at Hershey Bears (1-0-0)
Giant Center – Hershey, PA – Sunday, October 16, 3:00 p.m.

October 16, 2022

TODAY – It’s a Phantoms Game Day, presented by the Pennsylvania Lottery, as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms travel to Chocolatetown for their first of 14 rivalry matchups against the Hershey Bears.

LAST TIME – It was an incredible way to open the season. Louie Belpedio scored the winning goal in overtime with just 1.4 seconds remaining to open the season with a thrilling win at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Max Willman collected the rebound of a Belpedio breakaway and had just enough time to set up the new Phantoms defenseman for a second chance at the winner.
20-year-old rookie Elliot Desnoyers scored the first goal of the season in the first period in his pro debut. Zack MacEwen had a power-play goal and an assist while Tyson Foerster and Cam York picked up one assist apiece for their first points of the campaign.
33-year-old veteran goalie Troy Grosenick stole the show with a tremendous 38-save performance in the win. Alex Nylander and Sam Poulin lit the lamp for the Penguins. Poulin’s goal with 59.5 seconds left forced overtime.

OPENING NIGHT – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are now 6-3-0 all-time in season openers as they embark on their ninth official season since arriving to Center City Allentown. Lehigh Valley is 3-1-0 when beginning the season on the road.
The Phantoms franchise is 19-8-0 all-time in season debuts going back to the beginning of the Philadelphia Phantoms in 1996.

The Philadelphia Phantoms won their first-ever game in franchise history on October 4, 1996 with a 6-3 triumph at the Springfield Falcons.
The team also won its won its first-ever game as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on October 11, 2014 with a 5-2 triumph at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Chris VandeVelde scored the first goal for the new AHL market and led the way with a two-goal game.

TRANSACTIONS – Olle Lycksell was recalled to the Philadelphia Flyers where he made his pro debut yesterday afternoon in Philadelphia’s 3-2 comeback win against Vancouver.
Hayden Hodgson was assigned to the Phantoms and was in the lineup Saturday at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

AT THE BENCH – Ian Laperriere is entering his second season as head coach of the Phantoms. After eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers, the rugged NHL veteran became the third head coach in Lehigh Valley history. Laperriere played in 1,083 career NHL games amassing 1,956 penalty minutes during his stays with the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers.
Riley Armstrong, Jason Smith and Bill Downey all return as Lappy’s assistant coaches.

PHANTOMS PHOCUS – Louie Belpedio brings a wealth of experience to the Phantoms blueline where he has been paired with prospect Cam York in the preseason and into the regular season. Originally a Round 3 selection of the Minnesota Wild in 2014 out of Miami (Ohio) University), Belpedio played for the Iowa Wild for three seasons and also saw action in four NHL gams in Minnesota. The slick, puck-moving defenseman had a career-high 11 goals for the Laval Rocket last year. He has played in 235 career games scoring 26 goals with 56 assists for 82 points.

TONIGHT’S OPPONENT – The Hershey Bears welcome new head coach Todd Nelson to the team after Scott Allen accepted a position with the Washington Capitals as an assistant coach. Nelson had previously guided Grand Rapids to a Calder Cup championship in 2017.

Phantoms alum Mike Vecchione is back with the Bears for a second season after leading the team in scoring (16-28-44) last year. He scored a goal in Hershey’s 3-1 Opening Night win over the Utica Comets.

Dylan McIlrath has been named the new captain of the team following the retirement of Matt Moulson at the end of last season.

Hendrix Lapierre is a 20-year-old prospect for the Washinton Capitals who was taken #22 overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft

BROADCAST –  Fans can listen to today’s game on the Phantoms 365 app and on 1470-WSAN and on their smart speakers at “Play Phantoms Radio 24/7”. Pregame show coverage begins at 2:30. The broadcast is also available at the “Listen Live” button on
Fans can watch the games on AHLTV which is also having a Free Preview weekend for all games to begin the season.

UP NEXT – Lehigh Valley returns to action on Saturday, October 22 in the team’s home opener against the Cleveland Monsters to open a two-game weekend series against the Columbus Blue Jackets affiliation.


Opening Weekend for the Phantoms at PPL Center is Saturday, October 22 at 7:05 p.m. and Sunday, October 23 at 3:05 p.m. with a pair of games against the Cleveland Monsters. Opening Weekend will include a rally towel giveaway for the fans while T-Shirt Throwing Maniac Cameron Hughes entertains the Saturday crowd. The weekend concludes with a postgame photograph session with the fans meeting the players on the ice following the contest on Sunday.


Opening Weekend at PPL Center is Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23 with a weekend series against the Cleveland Monsters featuring a Rally Towel Giveaway.
T-Shirt Throwing Sensation Cameron Hughes will perform at the game on Saturday, October 22. And fan-interaction activities return on Sunday, October 23 with a postgame photo session with the players on the ice.

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