PREVIEW: Phantoms at Monsters, Game #36

Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (16-14-5) at Cleveland Monsters (14-16-4)
Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, Cleveland, OH

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms begin a three-game road stretch in the opener of a two-game series at the Cleveland Monsters, AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Lehigh Valley (16-14-5) had points in four out of five games (2-1-2) in 2023 but had a four-game point streak snapped the last time out on Saturday against Syracuse.
Cleveland (14-16-4) is working to climb out of the cellar of the North Division.
The Phantoms took three of four points from Cleveland during Opening Weekend at PPL Center October 22-23.
The team officially reaches the midway point of the season following tonight’s game having played 36 contests with 36 remaining.

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Crunch 5 – Phantoms 2
Elliot Desnoyers tucked one in behind the goalie for his team-leading 13th goal of the season and Kevin Connauton converted from the point for his first of the year. But an early three-goal surge in the first period for visiting Syracuse held up the rest of the way. The Phantoms had a strong push through much of the third trying to cut into a 4-2 deficit including a 6-on-4 and 6-on-5 attack late in the game. But the Crunch sealed the win with a late empty-netter as Lehigh Valley’s four-game point streak to commence 2023 came to an end.

Goaltender Felix Sandstrom is back with the Phantoms on a two-week conditioning loan designed to provide him maximum opportunities to play and he has taken advantage of his stretch with Lehigh Valley having started all five games since his arrival. He has two games left in his conditioning stint. Sandstrom has gone 2-1-2, 2.97, .894. His best game of the stretch was likely last Wednesday at Bridgeport when he turned aside 35 Bridgeport Islanders shots, including 18 in the third period, to preserve a 3-1 win.
He’s been the backup goalie with the Philadelphia Flyers this season and recorded his first NHL win on November 8 with 27 saves in a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. The Flyers’ third-round selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft has played in 14 career games with the Flyers including nine this season.

Forward Zayde Wisdom and defenseman Adam Karashik both returned to the Phantoms following quick stays with the Reading Royals. Both played three games in the ECHL prior to rejoining Lehigh Valley.
Goaltender Pat Nagle was recalled to the Phantoms from Reading and goaltender Nolan Maier was returned on loan to Reading from the Phantoms


The Phantoms are 3-3 in overtimes this year with all three of their wins coming on the road and all three of the extra-period losses coming at home. Louie Belpedio, Cam York and Artem Anisimov have scored OT winners for the Phantoms in October, November and December respectively.

– Bobby Brink scored in his first two games with the Phantoms including last Wednesday at Bridgeport. The Flyers’ second-round selection in 2019 out of the University of Denver joins Elliot Desnoyers in lighting the lamp in his first AHL game.
–  Tyson Foerster became the third Phantom to reach double-digit in goals joining Artem Anisimov (12) and Elliot Desnoyers (13). His two-goal game on Friday was his first since he had three such performances in a five-game stretch in April, 2021.
– Elliot Desnoyers is fourth among AHL rookies with 13 goals.
– Cal O’Reilly has 699 career points. He will become the 25th player in AHL history to reach the 700-point milestone.
– Lehigh Valley’s power play is eighth in the AHL at 22.8%.
– The Phantoms are….
12-4-4 when scoring 3 or more goals
12-2-1 when allowing 2 goals or fewer
12-3-5 in one-goal games
9-1-5 when scoring the first goal
10-0-4 when leading after two periods
3-3 in overtime and 2-2 in shootouts

Cleveland (14-16-4) is in last place in the North Division after a 6-2 loss to Laval on Saturday. The Monsters have just two wins in their last nine games (2-6-1) and are allowing a league-worst 3.9 goals per game but have the league’s second-best power play at 26.7%.
Trey Fix-Wolansky  (16-20-36) leads Cleveland in scoring and rookie talent David Jiricek (5-15-20) has returned after racking up seven goals for Czechia in a silver-medal performance at the World Juniors in Halifax. The 19-year-old was the #6 overall selection in the NHL Draft in 2021. Pavel Cajan (5-7-2, 3.51, .879) and Jet Greaves (6-6-2, 3.69, .885) have split goaltending duties.
The Phantoms took three out of four points from Cleveland on Opening Weekend at PPL Center October 22-23 with a 4-3 overtime loss in the first home game of the season. Cal O’Reilly tied the game with 1:02 left but Emil Bemstrom scored the overtime winner. The Phantoms bounced back in the Sunday rematch with a 5-4 win led by two goals from Ronnie Attard.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Olle Lycksell 6-18-24
Tyson Foerster 11-12-23
Elliot Desnoyers 13-7-20
Artem Anisimov 12-6-18
Garrett Wilson 5-11-16

Cleveland Scoring Leaders
Trey Fix-Wolansky 16-20-36
x Emil Bemstrom 14-17-31
Justin Richards 6-16-22
David Jiricek 5-15-20
x Kirill Marchenko 8-11-19

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Lehigh Valley Power Play – 22.8%, 8th
Lehigh Valley Penalty Kill – 71.9%, 31st
Cleveland Power Play – 26.7%, 2nd
Cleveland Penalty Kill – 74.5%, 30th

The Phantoms and Monsters rematch on Wednesday in Cleveland and then the Phantoms head to Wilkes-Barre for a rivalry showdown against the Penguins on Friday.

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Tuesday, January 17 (7:00) at Cleveland Monsters
Wednesday, January 18 (7:00) at Cleveland Monsters
Friday, January 20 (7:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Sunday, January 22 (11:00 a.m.) Outdoor Practice presented by Velaspan at Spring Mountain Adventures
Wednesday, January 25 (7:05) vs. HERSHEY BEARS

Sunday, January 22 (11:00 a.m.) – Phantoms Outdoor Practice presented by Velaspan at Spring Mountain in Schwenksville. Free to the public!

Wednesday, January 25 (7:05) vs. Hershey Bears – Pregame Happy Hour. $2 Miller Lites and Yuenglings available until Puck Drop.

Friday, January 27 (7:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Flyers Night with Lou Nolan and GRITTY!!!

Saturday, January 28 (7:05) vs. Hershey Bears – meLVin Youth Winter Hats presented by Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital (first 2,000 kids age 12 and younger)






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.”