PREVIEW: Phantoms at Checkers, Game #47

Tuesday, February 14, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (24-17-5) at Charlotte Checkers (26-16-4)
Bojangles’ Coliseum, Charlotte, NC

Happy Valentine’s Day from the South! Love is in the air as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms open an important two-game series at the Charlotte Checkers, AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers.
Lehigh Valley (24-17-5) is tied with Springfield for fourth place in the Atlantic Division and trails third-place Charlotte by just three points. The Phantoms have won three straight and four of five. Additionally, Lehigh Valley has won six consecutive away games and has an eight-game road point streak (7-0-1) for calendar year 2023.
The Charlotte Checkers (26-16-4) recently had a six-game win streak snapped at the hands of the Toronto Marlies on Saturday.
There are just 26 games remaining in the 2022-23 regular season which concludes in almost exactly two months on April 15.

Saturday, February 11, 2023
Phantoms 3 – Islanders 0
Sam Ersson recorded his first career AHL shutout but only needed 15 saves to do it in a Saturday night win over Bridgeport at PPL Center. Elliot Desnoyers scored a pair of goals to move into a tie for the team lead with Tyson Foerster at 17 apiece and Artem Anisimov knocked in his 13th on a strong helper from Bobby Brink.
Bridgeport had 10 shots on goal in the first period but didn’t have much more the rest of the way with only two shots in the second and three in the third.

The Philadelphia Flyers have recalled goaltender Sam Ersson and forward Kieffer Bellows from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Ersson, 23, recorded his first career AHL shutout on Saturday with 15 saves in a 3-0 win against the Bridgeport Islanders. He is 15-10-1, 2.58, .911 with the Phantoms this season. With the Philadelphia Flyers this year, Ersson is 5-0-0, 2.37, .918 in a stint that included his first NHL win on December 31, 2022 at the Los Angeles Kings and also his first NHL shutout on January 9, 2023 at Buffalo.
Bellows, 24, has played in 12 games including one game in his recent assignment this past Saturday. He has scored three goals with seven assists for 10 points with Lehigh Valley. He has 137 career AHL games over two seasons with Bridgeport and Lehigh Valley, recording 37 goals with 23 assists for 60 points and he also has 83 career NHL games scoring 12-14-26.

The Phantoms have moved all the way up to second in the AHL on the power play at 24.7% after going 6-for-13 in the last five games 8-for-19 in the last seven. Only Toronto (26.8%) has a more successful power-play conversion rate. Tyson Foerster (6-7-13) and Olle Lycksell (4-8-12) pace the team’s power-play attack.
Amazingly, 11 players have scored two or more power-play goals for the Phantoms:
Foerster (6), Anisimov (5), Lycksell (4), Desnoyers (4), Attard (2), Brink (2), Brooks (2), Marody (2), O’Reilly (2), Wilson (2), York (2)
14 total players have scored at least one power-play goal for the Phantoms including Bellows, Cates and MacEwen who have one each.

Elliott “The Destroyer” Desnoyers is on pace to establish a new Lehigh Valley record for most goals by a rookie. He only needs three more to equal the record of 20 goals held by Danick Martel in 2015-16.
Kyle Greentree holds the Phantoms franchise record for goals by a rookie with 24.

20 – Danick Martel (2015-16)
19 – Connor Bunnaman (2018-19)
17 – Elliot Desnoyers (2022-23)

– Bobby Brink is on a five-game point streak scoring 2-6-8 February 1. His current streak is tied with Tyson Foerster and Kieffer Bellows for the longest on the Phantoms this season.
– The Phantoms are….
18-5-4 when scoring 3 or more goals
20-1-1 when allowing 2 goals or fewer
13-3-5 in one-goal games
13-1-5 when scoring the first goal
17-0-4 when leading after two periods
4-3 in overtime and 2-2 in shootouts

Charlotte (26-16-4) stands just three points directly ahead of the Phantoms entering this critical midweek showdown series. Former Phantoms netminder Alex Lyon (10-8-1, 2.57, .909) has returned to the Checkers following a successful NHL stretch with the Florida Panthers with three wins in six starts. 33-year-old NHL veteran of 627 games Riley Nash (16-21-37) paces the offense. Former Phantoms Gerry Mayhew (11-12-23) and Connor Bunnaman (10-4-14) have also come on strong. The Checkers just had their six-game win streak come to a halt in a 4-3 loss to Toronto on Saturday. Head coach Georgdie Kinner’s team has points in 9 of its last 11 games going 8-2-1 in the stretch.
The Phantoms are 3-1-0 against Charlotte including wins by scores of 2-1 and 6-1 the last time the two teams met in a pair of games at PPL Center December 9-10

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
x Olle Lycksell 9-25-34
Tyson Foerster 17-15-32
Elliot Desnoyers 17-12-29
Artem Anisimov 13-9-22
Jackson Cates 10-10-20
Ronnie Attard 7-12-19

Charlotte Scoring Leaders
Riley Nash 13-21-37
Aleksi Heponiemi 9-18-27
Lucas Carlsson 9-17-26
Gerry Mayhew 11-12-23
Santtu Kinnunen 6-17-23

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Lehigh Valley Power Play – 24.7%, 2nd (vs. CLT 8/18, 44.4%)
Lehigh Valley Penalty Kill – 74.0%, 31st
Charlotte Power Play – 18.4%, 17th (vs. LV 3/19, 15.8%
Charlotte Penalty Kill – 84.2%, 4th

The Phantoms rematch against the Charlotte Checkers on Wednesday and then return to PPL Center on Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19 hosting the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Hartford Wolf Pack.

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Tuesday, February 14 (7:00) at Charlotte Checkers
Wednesday, February 15 (7:00) at Charlotte Checkers
Saturday, February 18 (7:05) vs. WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS
Sunday, February 19 (5:05) vs. HARTFORD WOLF PACK

Saturday, February 18 (7:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – United Way Housing Heroes presented by PPL with sock donation drive

Sunday, February 19 (5:05) vs. Hartford Wolf Pack – meLVin’s Birthday with his Mascot Friends! Postgame Skate with the Phantoms Players

Saturday, March 4 (7:05) vs. Toronto Marlies – Slap Shot Night with Dave Hanson!





Broadcast coverage of all Phantoms games with Bob Rotruck is available on the Phantoms 365 app and on Real Oldies 1470-AM in Allentown. Also available on the Listen Live button at
Fans can also watch the games on or can listen on their Smart Speakers at: “Play Phantoms Radio 24/7.”

Service Electric Network again provides exclusive television coverage of all Phantoms home games with veteran announcer Steve Degler and Phantoms’ alum Steven Swavely on the call from the booth. Kristi Fulkerson reports from ice level and also from the Chickie’s and Pete’s studio with Dan Fremuth for pregame, intermission and postgame show analysis.