PREVIEW: Phantoms at Penguins, Game 1

Wednesday, April 24, 7:05 p.m.
Mohegan Sun Arena, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Lehigh Valley (32-31-9) vs. W-B/Scranton (39-24-8)

Welcome to Day 1 of the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (32-31-9) travel to the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for Game of their Best-of-3 series in the opening round of the postseason.
This is the first time Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton have met in the playoffs and the fifth time the Phantoms franchise has played against the Penguins with the most recent encounter coming in 2008 when the Philadelphia Phantoms tangled with their foes from northeast Pennsylvania.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms put a bow on the regular season with an impressive 4-1 drubbing of the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday afternoon at PPL Center. The Phantoms took control on goals by Tanner Laczynski (17th), Zayde Wisdom (2nd), Cooper Marody (19th) and Elliot Desnoyers (6th). Lehigh Valley racked up a pair of power-play goals to gain momentum into the postseason. Charlotte’s Wilmer Skoog broke through with barely more than four minutes remaining to deny Felix Sandstrom’s shutout bid.

It’s Playoff Time!!
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms will take on the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a Best of 3 series in the first round. If the Phantoms win then they advance to take on the first-place Hershey Bears in the second round in early May.

The Phantoms will host a playoff game at PPL Center for the first time in six years when the Penguins arrive on Friday, April 26 for Game 2 of the series.

The Phantoms are part of the AHL’s postseason dance for the second consecutive season and for the fourth time in the last six years in which the Playoffs have been held since 2017.In total, the Phantoms are making their 14th overall appearance in the postseason including a pair of Calder Cup Championships for the Philadelphia Phantoms in 1998 and 2005 before the team arrives in the Lehigh Valley.

Veteran goaltender Cal Petersen has found his A-Game since he return to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms from the Philadelphia Flyers on February 28. The lefty netminder from Waterloo, Iowa has been particular solid in his 13 games back with the team posting a goals-against average going 5-7-1, 2.08, .917 with two shutouts including a playoff-berth clinching win on Friday at Bridgeport in his most recent start. Petersen has surrendered two goals or fewer in eight of his last 13 starts including three of his last four and also five of his most recent seven.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have a beefed-up roster entering the Calder Cup Playoffs after the Philadelphia Flyers loaned forwards Bobby Brink and Olle Lycksell and defensemen Ronnie Attard and Adam Ginning to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Brink, 22, has played in 57 games with Philadelphia this season scoring 11-12-23 and also 13 games with Lehigh Valley scoring 7-6-13.
Lycksell, 24, is tops on the Phantoms in goals having scored 19-20-39 in 38 games with Lehigh Valley this season. He has also played 18 games with the Flyers scoring 1-4-5 including his first career NHL goal on April 6 at Columbus.
Attard, 25, has scored 10-17-27 in 48 games with the Phantoms and also 0-2-2 in 12 games with Philadelphia.
Ginning, 24, has played in 58 games with the Phantoms this season scoring 2-11-13 and nine games with the Flyers in a stint that included his first NHL goal on April 6 at Columbus.

Garrett Wilson accumulated 216 penalty minutes to finish with the most in the AHL for a second consecutive season. He became the first AHL player in eight years to rack up over 200 PIM in a season since Stu Bickell with San Diego in 2015-16.
J-R Avon had five shootout goals to tie for the AHL lead with Trey Fix-Wolanski of Cleveland
Emil Andrae has 15 power-play assists which was first among AHL rookie defensemen and second among AHL rookies overall trailing only Brennan Othmann of Hartford who has 17.

Cooper Marody and Olle Lycksell tied for the team lead with 19 goals apiece.
Marody had 37 helpers on the year giving him the team-crown in that department over Samu Tuomaala who has 28.
Marody also had 56 points this season besting Tanner Laczynski who was next with 44 points in just 49 games.

The Phantoms record when:
– Score 4 or more goals: 21-0-2
– Allow 2 or fewer goals: 19-6-1
– Lead After 1st period: 10-1-3
– Lead After 2nd period: 17-3-1
– One-Goal Games: 19-8-9
– Overtime: 8-6 / Shootout: 4-3

Game 1 – Wednesday, April 24 (7:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Game 2 – Friday, April 26 (7:05) at Lehigh Valley
Game 3 – Sunday, April 28 (5:05) at Lehigh Valley

W-B/Scranton (39-24-9) had a seven-game win streak late in the season and landed the third-place position in the Atlantic Division.  The Phantoms are 4-7-1 against the Baby Pens and dropped the last four contests against their northeast Pennsylvania rivals however the Phantoms boast a stronger lineup with the return of their reinforcements from the Flyers.
Like the Phantoms, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s roster has been bolstered by some arrivals from the big club. The Pittsburgh Penguins have loaned forwards Sam Poulin, Valtteri Puustinen and Radim Zohorna as well as defenseman Jack St. Ivany back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Defenseman Ty Smith (9-34-43) is unavailable due to a long-term injury. NHL veteran of 374 games Vinnie Hinostroza (16-19-35) is the team’s active-leading scorer and has scored 3-8-11 against Lehigh Valley. Corey Andonovski has 2-6-8 vs. the Phantoms including an overtime winner on March 30. Second-rounder Joel Blomqvist (25-12-6, 2.16, .921) was named to the AHL All-Rookie team. Against the Phantoms, Blomqvist has gone 6-1-2, 2.10, .929 including his first career shutout on March 13.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Cooper Marody 18-36-54
Samu Tuomaala 15-28-43
Tanner Laczynski 16-26-42
Olle Lycksell 19-20-39
Emil Andrae 5-27-32

Penguins Scoring Leaders
Ty Smith 9-34-43
Vinnie Hinostroza 16-19-35
Sam Poulin 16-15-31
Corey Andonovski 7-23-30
Austin Rueschhoff 15-13-28

Lehigh Valley PP, 18.4% (15th)
Lehigh Valley Valley PK 79.8% (24th)
LV PP vs. WBS 5/36, 13.9%

W-B/Scranton PP 17.2% (27th)
W-B/Scranton PK 85.4% (2nd)
WBS vs. LV PP 8/41, 19.5%

Jan. 6 – WIN – Lehigh Valley 4 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3 (OT) (Tuomaala)
Jan. 26 – LOSS – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4 at Lehigh Valley 3
Feb. 3 – LOSS – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3 at Lehigh Valley 1
Feb. 9 – WIN – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4 at Lehigh Valley 5 (SO)
Feb. 21 – WIN – Lehigh Valley 3 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2 (OT) (Marody)
Mar. 8 – LOSS – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3 at Lehigh Valley 2
Mar 9 – WIN – Lehigh Valley 4 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2
Mar. 13 – LOSS – Lehigh Valley 0 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3
Mar. 24 – LOSS – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3 at Lehigh Valley 1
Mar. 30 – OTL – Lehigh Valley 3 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4 (OT) (Andonovski)
Apr. 7 – LOSS – Lehigh Valley 1 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5
Apr. 20 – LOSS – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2 at Lehigh Valley 0

Lehigh Valley
Rhett Gardner 3-6-9
Samu Tuomaala 4-3-7
Cooper Marody 3-4-7
Adam Brooks 3-3-6
Parker Gahagen 1-2-0, 2.40, .918
Cal Petersen 0-2-0, 2.58, .904

Vinnie Hinostroza 3-8-11
Radim Zohorna 2-7-9
Corey Andonovski 2-6-8
Sam Poulin 4-4-8
Joel Blomqvist 6-1-2, 2.10, .929


Phantoms Tickets are available HERE


Wednesday, April 24 (7:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Game 1 – Calder Cup Playoffs

Friday, April 26 (7:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Game 2 – Calder Cup Playoffs

Sunday, April 28 (5:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Game 3 – Calder Cup Playoffs