PREVIEW: Phantoms at Islanders, Game #55

Sunday, March 10, 3:00 p.m.
Total Mortgage Arena, Bridgeport, CT
Lehigh Valley (24-23-7) vs. Bridgeport Islanders (20-29-7)

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (24-23-7) play Game 2 of a five-game road trip in a Sunday matinee tilt at the Bridgeport Islanders, AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders.
The Phantoms are 1-1-0 against Bridgeport this season. This is Game 3 out of 6 in the season series.
Lehigh Valley is in a dead-heat for sixth place points percentage with the Springfield Thunderbirds in the battle for the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
Today is the 55th game of the season. There are 18 games remaining in the 2023-24 campaign.

The Phantoms took over in the third period with four straight goals en route to a comeback 4-2 win at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday night. Samu Tuomaala (14th) Brendan Furry (6th), Adam Brooks (5th) and Evan Polei (1st) all struck for Lehigh Valley while Parker Gahagen turned in a 30-save performance in the win. Shortly after tying it at 1-1 in the third period on Tuomaala’s first goal in over a month, the Phantoms found themselves on a five-minute penalty kill. But that ended up being perfect timing for the Phantoms as Brendan Furry raced past the Penguins defenders for a shorthanded breakaway beauty to give the Phantoms the lead for good.

Trade Deadline Day also meant several transactions involving the Phantoms.
Wade Allison was traded to Nashville and now joins the Milwaukee Admirals.
Additionlly, Olle Lycskell and Adam Ginning have returned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Allison was traded by the Flyers to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Denis Gurianov. Allison played in 84 games with the Phantoms over parts of three seasons scoring 24-19-43. This season with the Phantoms, Allison has scored 10-7-17 in 47 games. He also played in 75 NHL games with the Flyers scoring 13-9-22. He now joins the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL.

Lycksell leads the Phantoms with 18 goals and has scored 18-14-32 in 34 games with Lehigh Valley this season. The 24-year-old left wing has scored six goals in his last six games with the Phantoms dating back to January. He has also played in nine games with the Flyers this season scoring 0-3-3.

Ginning has been loaned back to the Phantoms after a quick recall to Philadelphia where he played in Thursday’s win at the Florida Panthers. That was Ginning’s first NHL game of the season and the second of his career. The 6-4 defenseman has played in 52 games with the Phantoms this season scoring two goals with 11 assists for 13 points and also 120 career games with Lehigh Valley scoring 5-27-32.

The Philadelphia Flyers made three more transactions yesterday affecting Phantoms players. Ronnie Attard, Bobby Brink and Felix Sandstrom were all loaned to Lehigh Valley at the trade deadline at 3:00 p.m. and then immediately recalled back to Philadelphia. It is required that any currently contracted player be on the team’s AHL roster at the trade deadline in order to be allowed to play for the AHL team after the deadline. These transactions ensure that Attard, Brink and Sandstrom are eligible to return to Lehigh Valley at any point moving forward in the regular season or postseason.

Never count out the Phantoms! Lehigh Valley rallied for victory seven times when trailing after two period which is the most comeback wins in the AHL ahead of Grand Rapids, Henderson and Manitoba who have six late comeback triumphs. Three of Lehigh Valley’s rallies have been on the road at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton where the Phantoms have gone 3-0-0 despite trailing at the second intermission on each visit.

The Phantoms have won five straight games that have been tied after regulation including two overtime wins and three shootout wins. Lehigh Valley is 7-1 in calendar year 2024 in overtimes and shootouts combined.
20-year-old rookie J-R Avon is tied for the AHL lead with five shootout goals on just six attempts this season. Trey Fix-Wolansky of Cleveland is the only other player with five.
The Phantoms are tied for the league lead with four shootout wins. The Cleveland Monsters and Abborstford Canucks also have four. Lehigh Valley is also second in the league with nine total shootout goals trailing only Cleveland who has 11.
The Phantoms have gone to overtime or shootout in 17 games this year which is third-most in the AHL behind Rochester (19) and Cleveland (18). The Phantoms are 6-5 in overtimes and 4-2 in shootouts for a combined mark of 10-7 after regulation.

The Phantoms record when:
– Score 4 or more goals: 15-0-2
– Allow 3 or fewer goals: 17-5-3
– Lead After 1st period: 7-1-2
– Lead After 2nd period: 12-2-1
– One-Goal Games: 17-6-7
– Overtime: 6-5 / Shootout: 4-2

Last place Bridgeport (20-29-7) isn’t throwing in the towel in the Atlantic Division race. The Islanders have gone on a four-game win streak and are 10 points back of Springfield and eight points behind Lehigh Valley in their efforts for a late-season comeback.
The Islanders won at home against Hartford 3-2 in a shootout yesterday following a 4-2 win at Springfield on Friday.
The Phantoms and Islanders have traded 2-1 victories at each other’s home rinks this season.
Last-place Bridgeport (18-29-7) has won two straight and isn’t throwing in the towel in the Atlantic Division race. 30-year-old Cole Bardreau is in his fifth season with Bridgeport after playing in parts of five seasons for the Phantoms where he scored 41-57-98 in 226 games. Bardreau rates 7th in games played and 10th in assists in Lehigh Valley history.
2018 second-rounder Ruslan Ishakov (15-25-49) set up the third-period game-winner in Allentown last Saturday and paces the team’s scoring in his second season in the AHL. Otto Koivula (9-21-30) is in his sixth season with Bridgeport under new head coach Rick Kowalsky. Fifth-rounder Matt Maggio (13-8-21) is finding his form in his rookie season after leading the OHL with 58 goals as a member of the Windsor Spitfires last year and was recently on a three-game goal streak including the winning goal at the Phantoms on Saturday.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Cooper Marody 14-32-46
Samu Tuomaala 14-25-38
Olle Lycksell 18-14-32
Emil Andrae 4-25-29
Tanner Laczynski 8-18-26
x – Ronnie Attard 10-15-25

Penguins Scoring Leaders
Ruslan Ishakov 15-25-40
Otto Koivula 9-21-30
Brian Pinho 6-17-23
x Kyle MacLean 6-16-22
Dennis Cholowski 5-17-22

Lehigh Valley PP, 20.9% (5th)  – Lehigh Valley PK 80.6% (22nd) – Series PP vs. BRI 2/7 (28.6%)
Bridgeport PP 13.2% (32nd) – Bridgeport PK 84.2% (7th) – Series PP vs. LV 0/5 (0.0%)


Lehigh Valley’s five-game road swing continues on Wednesday evening with a rematch in Wilkes-Barre against the Penguins. After that, the Phantoms travel to Providence, Rhode Island for a pair of games on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16.

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Sunday, March 10 (3:00) at Bridgeport Islanders

Wednesday, March 13 (7:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Friday, March 15 (7:05) at Providence Bruins
Saturday, March 16 (7:05) at Providence Bruins

Wednesday, March 20 (7:05) vs. Springfield Thunderbirds – Joe Watson Book Signing / $1 Pretzels
Saturday, March 23 (7:05) vs. Bridgeport Islanders – Margaritaville Night
Sunday, March 24 (3:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Kids Takeover Day / Postgame Autographs Presented by NJM Insurance