PREVIEW: Phantoms at Checkers, Game #48

Saturday, February 24, 4:00 p.m.
Bojangles’ Coliseum Charlotte, NC
Lehigh Valley (21-19-7) at Charlotte (24-20-5)

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (21-19-7)  look to keep it going as they head south for a two-game series at the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The Phantoms are just four points back of the fifth-place Checkers (tied with Springfield for fifth and sixth) and also have two games-in-hand entering the important weekend. Lehigh Valley has won three of its last four with all three wins going to overtime or shootout. The Checkers are heating up and are currently on a four-game point streak (3-0-1).
Lehigh Valley is 3-1-1 against Charlotte this season having played five out of the eight games in the season series so far. This is the second game in a stretch of four straight on the road. There are 25 games remaining in the regular season.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms did it again. For the second time this season, the Phantoms rallied from a two-goal deficit in Wilkes-Barre to post an overtime win at the rival Penguins with a 3-2 triumph on Wednesday night. Lehigh Valley leading scorer Cooper Marody (11th, 12th) drove the exciting comeback scoring the tying goal with just 8:36 remaining in the third before he blasted home the winning strike in overtime for a 3-2 victory. Bobby Brink (4th) also scored for the Phantoms to get the comeback started.

Olle Lycksell has returned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms ahead of the big weekend series in Charlotte. Lycksell, 24, leads the Phantoms with 16 goals including four goals in his last five games with the Phantoms from January 12-20 immediately prior to his recall to Philadelphia on January 22. The 5-foot-10 inch right wing has played in five games with the Flyers this season recording one assist and also played in eight games with Philadelphia last season recording one assist. This season with the Phantoms, Lycksell has scored 16-12-28 in 33 games.

Samu Tuomaala (13-24-36) is third among AHL rookies in points and assists. Lehigh Valley’s representative at the AHL All-Star Classic also tops all Finland products in AHL scoring.

Finland Native – AHL Scoring Leaders
Samu Tuomaala (21), LV – 12-23-36
Brad Lambert (20), MTB – 15-16-31
Otto Koivula (25), BRI, 10-21-31
Aatu Räty (22), ABB, 9-18-27

The Phantoms are third in the AHL with 15 overtime games this season out of 47 games total games played. Only Rochester (17) and Cleveland (16) have more. Lehigh Valley is 5-5 in overtime decisions and 3-2 in games that advance to a shootout for a combined record of 8-7 after regulation.
Samu Tuomaala (2), Ronnie Attard, Tanner Laczynski and Cooper Marody have all struck for overtime winners for the Phantoms.
Samu Tuomaala is the first-ever Lehigh Valley rookie and also the first-ever forward for Lehigh Valley to score two overtime goals in a season. Tuomaala’s two overtime goals is also tied for the AHL Rookie lead along with Brett Berard (Hartford) and Joe Carroll (Syracuse). He’s the first rookie in franchise history to accomplish the feat since Kyle Greentree of the Philadelphia Phantoms had two OT goals in 2007-08.

Never count out the Phantoms!
Lehigh Valley has won five times when trailing at the second intermission which is the second-most comeback wins in the AHL trailing only Grand Rapids (6). Additionally, the Phantoms have points in nine games when trailing after two periods including four losses in overtime or shootout. That is also second-highest in the AHL.

The Phantoms record when:
– Score 4 or more goals: 13-0-2
– Allow 3 or fewer goals: 15-4-3
– Lead After 1st period: 7-1-2
– Lead After 2nd period: 12-1-1
– One-Goal Games: 14-4-7
– Overtime: 5-5 / Shootout: 3-2

Charlotte (24-20-5) has gone on a four-game point streak (3-0-1) to move up to fifth in the Atlantic Division. But the Phantoms are only four points back of the team they met in the postseason a year ago and the Phantoms have two games-in-hand as they enter this important showdown series in North Carolina.
The Checkers moved ahead of Springfield last weekend taking three out of four points in their head-to-head series down south with a 2-1 overtime loss followed by a 5-3 regulation win on Sunday.
The Phantoms are 3-1-1 against Charlotte this season and three of the five meetings have gone to overtime. Ronnie Attard and Tanner Laczynski have both posted overtime winners against the Checkers this year.
Lucas Carlsson (14-22-36) is on pace to lead AHL defensemen in goals for a second consecutive season. First-rounder from the University of Michigan Mackie Samoskevich (12-18-30) is thriving in his rookie season and has scored four goals against the Phantoms. He has also been up with the Florida Panthers for seven games this year. Former Phantom and Flyer Gerry Mayhew (11-12-23) has not been as potent this year but is coming off a two-goal and one-assist game against Springfield his last time out and has three overtime goals this season.

Dec. 9 – Win – Charlotte 1 at Lehigh Valley 4
Dec. 13 – Win – Charlotte 2 at Lehigh Valley 3 (OT)
Dec. 21 – Win – Lehigh Valley Valley 3 at Charlotte 2 (OT)
Dec. 22 – SOL – Lehigh Valley 4 at Charlotte 5 (SO)
Dec. 31 – Loss – Charlotte 5 at Lehigh Valley 2
Feb. 24 Lehigh Valley at Charlotte 4:00 pm
Feb. 25 Lehigh Valley at Charlotte 1:00 pm
Apr. 21 Charlotte at Lehigh Valley 3:05 pm

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Cooper Marody 12-27-39
Samu Tuomaala 13-24-37
Olle Lycksell 16-12-28
Tanner Laczynski 8-18-26
Emil Andrae 4-21-25
Ronnie Attard 9-15-24

Checkers Scoring Leaders
Lucas Carlsson 14-22-36
Mackie Samoskevich 12-18-30
Rasmus Asplund 6-21-27
Justin Sourdif 10-15-25
Gerry Mayhew 11-12-23

Lehigh Valley PP, 21.1% (5th) – LV vs. CLT 4/19, 21.1% – Lehigh Valley PK 80.0% (24th)
Charlotte PP 17.0% (23rd) – CLT vs. LV 2/20, 10.0% – Charlotte PK 84.3% (6th)

20 Cooper Marody 1-5-6
9 Tanner Laczynski 2-3-5
6 Emil Andrae 1-4-5
27 Samu Tuomaala 2-2-4
12 Ronnie Attard 1-2-3
32 Felix Sandstrom 2-1-0, 2.64, .901

11 Mackie Samoskevich 4-1-5
15 Patrick Khodorenko 1-3-4
21 Zac Dalpe 3-0-3
39 Brendan Perlini 2-1-3
28 Jake Wise 1-2-3
30 Spencer Knight 1-0-2, 2.62, .914

The Phantoms and Checkers rematch on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Lehigh Valley concludes its four-game road stretch on Friday, March 1 at the Utica Comets.

The Phantoms return to PPL Center on Saturday, March 2 against the Bridgeport Islanders on Hockey is for Everyone Night and then host the Hershey Bears on Sunday, March 3 at 3:05 p.m. on meLVin’s Birthday!

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Saturday, February 24 (4:00) – Phantoms at Charlotte Checkers
Sunday, February 25 (1:00) – Phantoms at Charlotte Checkers

Friday, March 1 (7:05) – Phantoms at Utica Comets
Saturday, March 2 (7:05) vs. Bridgeport Islanders—Hockey is for Everyone, SNHL ft. DJ Brad Scott
Sunday, March 3 (3:05) vs. Hershey Bears—meLVin’s Birthday, Post-game skate with players presented by NJM Insurance, Faith Night