PREVIEW: Phantoms at Bears, Game #68

Friday, April 12, 7:00 p.m.
GIANT Center, Hershey, PA
Lehigh Valley (29-29-9) at Hershey (50-12-5)

The  Lehigh Valley Phantoms (29-29-9) continue their Push for the Playoffs, presented by Provident Bank, as they look to trim their Magic Number in a rivalry showdown in Chocolatetown against the Hershey Bears. Tonight is the penultimate away game of the 2023-24 regular season.
ust two weeks remain in the regular season and with five games to go Lehigh Valley’s Magic Number is just seven points to officially clinch a position in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
The Phantoms could potentially clinch as early as Saturday night at home against the Bridgeport Islanders if everything goes their way with Phantoms wins as well as losses by the Springfield Thunderbirds.
The Hershey Bears are wrapping up a historic season and the defending Calder Cup Champions are looking to officially clinch the Kilpatrick Trophy for the top record in the regular season. The Bears have won four straight and are also on pace to break the all-time AHL long-season record .775 points percentage accomplished by the Binghamton Rangers in 1992-93.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are proud to announce that Adam Brooks has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Lehigh Valley community during the 2023-24 season. This is the second consecutive season he has won the award for the Phantoms. Adam Brooks embodies the qualities of a true leader both on and off the ice, exemplifying the values of sportsmanship and community engagement.

Jacob Gaucher (8th) broke up the shutout bid of Penguins’ goaltender Joel Blomqvist with five minutes to play but the Baby Pens tacked on a pair of late goals including an empty-netter and a power-play strike to put the game away in a 5-1 decision on Sunday afternoon in northeast Pennsylvania. Phantoms Phans rallied on the Phan busses up to northeast Pennsylvania but couldn’t push Lehigh Valley over the top in the weekend finale. Blomqvist had 35 saves and helped hold the Phantoms to 0-for-5 on the power play.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms continue their Push for the Playoffs, presented by Provident Bank. The Phantoms now lead the slumping Springfield Thunderbirds by four points in the battle for the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division with just five games remaining in the concluding two weeks of the regular season. Lehigh Valley also trails Hartford by just three points for a possible five-seed.
Lehigh Valley’s Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot is seven points.
The Phantoms can potentially clinch as early as Saturday night depending on the results of Lehigh Valley’s games this weekend and also Springfield’s games.
The top six teams in the Atlantic qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs. The first round is a Best of 3 series and right now would see the Phantoms take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 6 vs. 3 rivalry matchup in late April. The Penguins moved into a tie for third with the Charlotte Checkers but the Penguins hold the tiebreaker advantage over Charlotte.
Lehigh Valley’s second-round matchup would be against first-place Hershey in a Best of 5 series.

Goaltender Alexei Kolosov, 22, has joined the Phantoms from the Minsk Dinamo of the KHL. Philadelphia’s Round 3 selection in the 2021 NHL Draft was 22-21-3, 2.39, .907 for his hometown team in Minsk, Belarus.

Congratulations to Phantoms products Olle Lycksell and Adam Ginning who both recorded their first career NHL goals last Saturday night for the Philadelphia Flyers. Both Swedish products are in their second season of professional hockey in North America.
Lycksell, 24, leads the Phantoms with 19 goals in 36 games this season and has also played in 18 games with Philadelphia.
Ginning, 24, has scored 2-11-13 with the Phantoms in 56 games played this year and has also played in nine games with the Flyers.

Adam Brooks had his five-game goal streak snapped on Saturday despite several strong chances at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and he also had his seven-game point streak snapped on Tuesday in a 1-0 loss at Hershey. But Brooks got back into the goal column on Friday for his seventh goal in the last eight games. He has scored 7-7-14 in his last 11 games dating back to March 15.

The Phantoms record when:
– Score 4 or more goals: 19-0-2
– Allow 3 or fewer goals: 19-6-3
– Lead After 1st period: 8-1-3
– Lead After 2nd period: 15-2-1
– One-Goal Games: 19-8-8
– Overtime: 7-6 / Shootout: 4-3

Hershey (50-12-5) has clinched the Atlantic Division and is putting the finishing touches on a historic season. The Bears’ point percentage of .784 would break the AHL record (72-game season or longer) held by the Binghamton Rangers who had a .775 percentage in the 1992-93 season.
The defending Calder Cup Champs have 105 points and a four-game win streak following a weekend sweep at the Iowa Wild including a 7-2 win in the opener with a hat trick from Ethen Frank and then a 7-round shootout win in the finale on a goal by former Phantom Matt Strome.
The last two meetings against the Phantoms have been 1-0 goaltenders’ duels with Hunter Shepard just getting the edge on Cal Petersen last Tuesday at GIANT Center. The Bears dropped a 1-0 shootout decision at PPL center on March 3 with Cal Petersen beating Clay Stevenson in a game of matching shutouts. The Phantoms have gone 3-2-1 against Hershey in the last six matchups, all in 2024. This is the 12th and last meeting of the regular season between the arch-rivals.
Joe Snively (11-42-453) and Alex Limoges (23-25-48) pace the offense. Pierrick Dube (27-16-47) and Ethen Frank (28-17-45) are also in the 20+ goal department and Dube has scored six goals against the Phantoms. The stingy Bears allow less than 2.1 goals and under 26 shots per contest, both tops in the AHL. Goaltenders Hunter Shepard (25-3-3, 1.80, .927) and Clay Stevenson (23-9-2, 1.97, .925) are first and second in the AHL in goals-against average.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Cooper Marody 18-34-52
Samu Tuomaala 15-27-42
x – Olle Lycksell 19-19-38
Tanner Laczynski 14-24-38
Emil Andrae 5-27-32

Bears Scoring Leaders
Joe Snivelyt 11-42-53
Alex Limoges 23-25-48
Pierrick Dube 27-20-47
Ethen Frank 28-17-45
x Mike Sgarbossa 7-36-43

Lehigh Valley PP, 18.5% (17th)
Lehigh Valley Valley PK 80.0% (25th)
LV vs. HER PP 4/41, 9.1%

Hershey PP 20.4% (5th)
Hershey PK 88.1% (1st)
HER vs. LV PP 4/45, 8.9%

Oct. 28 – Loss – Lehigh Valley 0 at Hershey 4
Nov. 1 – OTL – Lehigh Valley 3 at Hershey 4 (OT)
Nov. 11 – Loss – Hershey 2 at Lehigh Valley 0
Nov. 12 – Win – Lehigh Valley 4 at Hershey 1
Dec. 30 – Loss – Hershey 4 at Lehigh Valley 0
Jan. 7 – OTL – Lehigh Valley 2 at Hershey 3 (OT)
Jan. 13 – Win – Hershey 3 at Lehigh Valley 4 (SO)
Jan. 31 – Loss – Hershey 4 at Lehigh Valley 2
Feb. 2 – Win – Hershey 1 at Lehigh Valley 4
Mar. 3 – SOW – Hershey 0 at Lehigh Valley 1 (SO)
Apr. 2 – LOSS – Lehigh Valley 0 at Hershey 1

Apr. 12 Lehigh Valley at Hershey

Lehigh Valley
Cooper Marody 2-4-6
Garrett Wilson 1-3-4
Emil Andrae 1-3-4
Elliot Desnoyers 0-4-4
Cal Petersen 2-3-1, 2.21, .911

Pierrick Dube 6-2-8
Bogdan Trineyev 2-3-5
Joe Snively 0-5-5
Mike Vecchione 4-0-4
Clay Stevenson 4-2-1, 1.42, .948
Hunter Shepard 2-0-1 1.93, .920

The Phantoms return to PPL Center on Saturday, April 13 against the Bridgeport Islanders on Los Fantasmas Night.

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Sunday, April 7 (3:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Friday, April 12 (7:00) at Hershey Bears
Saturday, April 13 (7:05) vs. Bridgeport Islanders

Friday, April 19 (7:00) at Bridgeport Islanders
Saturday, April 20 (7:05) vs. W-B/Scranton Penguins
Sunday, April 21 (3:05) vs. Charlotte Checkers – Our Valley, Our Home Day – End of Regular Season!