PREVIEW: Phantoms at Monsters, Game #37

Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (17-14-5) at Cleveland Monsters (14-17-4)
Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, Cleveland, OH

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms conclude their season series against the Cleveland Monsters, AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets as they also open play in the second half of the season. Lehigh Valley has played 36 games in 2022-23 and has 36 games remaining.
Lehigh Valley (17-14-5) had points in five out of six games (3-1-2) in 2023 including a 3-1 win at Cleveland last night to open a three-game road trip.
Cleveland (14-17-4) has just two wins in its last 10 games and has also lost six consecutive home games.
The Phantoms are in fifth-place in the Atlantic Division just two points back of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and three points away from third-place Charlotte.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Phantoms 3 – Monsters 1
Felix Sandstrom and the penalty kill for clutch in Cleveland in a 3-1 win on Tuesday night. The P.K. held the potent Monsters’ power play to 0-for-6 while Sandstrom made 28 saves and came just 19.8 seconds away from a shutout. Ronnie Attard (5th) scored on the power play while Louie Belpedio (3rd) and Bobby Brink (3rd) with an empty-netter also registered for the Phantoms. Brink and Belpedio both had two-point games. The Monsters entered the game with the league’s second-best power play at 26.4% but were unable to break through against the hard-working defenders of the Phantoms.

Tonight is the last game of Felix Sandstrom’s two-week conditioning loan to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Sandstrom has started six consecutive games since arriving from the Philadelphia Flyers and has gone 3-1-2, 2.65, .906. He has allowed just one goal in two games, including a 3-1 win at Bridgeport on January 11 with 35 saves and a 3-1 win at Cleveland on January 17 with 28 saves.
Sandstrom has 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.

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 has scored a goal in every away game he has played for the Phantoms. His three goals this season have come on January 6 at Rochester, January 11 at Bridgeport, and January 17 at Cleveland.
–  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 22.9%.
– The Phantoms are….
13-4-4 when scoring 3 or more goals
13-2-1 when allowing 2 goals or fewer
12-3-5 in one-goal games
10-1-5 when scoring the first goal
11-0-4 when leading after two periods
3-3 in overtime and 2-2 in shootouts

Cleveland (14-17-4) 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 ten games (2-7-1) and are allowing a league-worst 3.9 goals per game but have the league’s second-best power play at 25.5%.
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 13-8-21
Artem Anisimov 12-6-18
Garrett Wilson 5-11-16
Jackson Cates 7-7-14
Ronnie Attard 5-7-14

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 – 22.9%, 8th
Lehigh Valley Penalty Kill – 73.1%, 31st
Cleveland Power Play – 25.5%, 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

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.”