PREVIEW: Phantoms vs. Bears, Game #30

Saturday, December 30, 7:05 p.m.
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Lehigh Valley (13-11-5) vs. Hershey (26-6-0)

It’s the penultimate game of 2023 as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms host the rival Hershey Bears on a Whiteout Night at PPL Center. The Phantoms will be wearing their alternate Whiteout uniforms for the first time this season. Fans are also encouraged to wear white to the game AND will receive a Whiteout Knit Cap from The Morning Call.
Lehigh Valley is on a three-game point streak (2-0-1) as the I-78 rivals meet for the first time since November 12 in Hershey when the Phantoms prevailed 4-1.
Hershey is on a seven-game winning streak for the second time this season and the defending Calder Cup Champions also boast the top record in the league.
Up next is tomorrow’s big New Year’s Eve game against Charlotte including Glowsticks and party favors from Penn Community Bank and then the World Largest Puck Drop after the game.

The Phantoms raced out to a 5-1 lead but then had to hang on all the way to the finish in a 5-4 victory against the Utica Comets on Wednesday night at PPL Center.
The craziness began early with four combined goals in the first five minutes of the contest as the Phantoms overcame an initial 1-0 deficit to take a 3-1 advantage on goals by Garrett Wilson (6th), Wade Allison (7th) and Alexis Gendron (5th). The first career AHL goal for Jacob Gaucher opened the second period and was quickly followed by Cooper Marody (8th) making it 5-1. Max Willman scored in his return to Allentown, including the fastest goal in PPL Center history at just 11 seconds into the game.

Dec 30 – Add Adam Karashik (D) – Recalled to Lehigh Valley from Reading
Dec 28 – Delete Adam Karashik (D) – Loaned by Lehigh Valley to Reading
Dec 28 – Delete Mason Millman (D) – Reassigned to Reading by Philadelphia

Lehigh Valley’s power play just gets better and better. The Phantoms are third in the AHL, and first in the Eastern Conference, at 24.3%. And Lehigh Valley’s 27.5% success rate on the road is best in the AHL.
The Phantoms had a streak of six straight games with a power-play goal ended on Wednesday when they went 0-for-2 while scoring five goals at 5-on-5 instead. Lehigh Valley havs scored a power-play goal in 15 of the last 17 games going 18-for-58 (31.0%) since November 12.
Cooper Marody (3-11-14) is fifth in the AHL and second in the conference in power-play points. Samu Tuomaala (5-8-13) is tied for the most power-play goals for AHL rookies and is tied for second in rookie power-play points.
Olle Lycksell (6-6-12) and Tanner Laczynski (4-6-10) are both at double-digit power-play points as well.
Emil Andrae (2-7-9),  J.R. Avon (3-1-4) and Wade Allison (2-1-3) also have multiple power-play goals.


  • Emil Andrae is on a six-game point streak scoring 3-6-9 since Dec 13. That is tied for the longest current point streak in the AHL. The Flyers round 2 selection in 2020 from Sweden is in his first full season of pro hockey in North America.
  • Cooper Marody has points in five of the last six games (3-8-11). The 28-year-old veteran of 258 career AHL games has vaulted ahead of Samu Tuomaala for the team lead in scoring. Marody has 242 points across six seasons with Bakersfield and Lehigh Valley
  • The Phantoms are:
    7-3-3 when scoring first
    11-2-3 when scoring three or more goals
    10-1-0 when leading after two periods
    9-2-2 when allowing three goals or fewer

Hershey (26-6-0) is surging again as the first-place Bears now have a seven-game win streak. That’s the second such run for the Bears who had a nine-game streak ended on December 8.
Since the Phantoms won in Chocolate Town on November 12, the defending Calder Cup Champions have gone 17-2-0.  The Bears allow just 2.1 goals per game on just 25.6 shots allowed per contest, both best in the AHL. Veteran Mike Sgarbossa (6-26-22) leads the AHL in assists and is third in points, first in the Eastern Conference. Free-agent pickup from France, Pierrick Dube, has a league-leading 17 goals including four against the Phantoms. Clay Stevenson (11-4-0, 1.81, .931) leads the AHL in goals-against average and two of his AHL-leading four shutouts have come against the Phantoms.
Lehigh Valley is 1-2-1 against Hershey this season but won the most recent matchup in a 4-1 decision at Chocolate Town on November 12.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Cooper Marody 8-19-27
Samu Tuomaala 8-17-25
Tanner Laczynski 8-14-22
Olle Lycksell 12-9-21
Garrett Wilson 6-10-16

Bears Scoring Leaders
Mike Sgarbossa 6-26-32
Ethen Frank 14-13-27
Joe Snively 8-17-25
Alex Limoges 9-15-24
Pierrick Dube 17-5-22

Lehigh Valley PP, 24.3% (3rd)
Lehigh Valley PK 80.3% (17th)
Hershey PP 23.8% (4th)
Hershey PK 86.5% (3rd)

LV PP vs. HER 2/15 (13.3%)
HER PP vs. LV 1/16 (6.3%)

Series Leaders:
Lehigh Valley
Garrett Wilson 1-3-4
Cooper Marody 1-2-3
J.R. Avon 2-0-2

Pierrick Dube 4-0-4
x Ivan Miroshnichenko 1-3-4
Logan Day 1-2-3
Mike Vecchione 2-0-2
Clay Stevenson 2-1-0, 1.33, .947

Series Results
Oct. 28 Lehigh Valley 0 at Hershey 4
Nov. 1 Lehigh Valley 3 at Hershey 4 (OT)
Nov. 11 Hershey 2 at Lehigh Valley 0
Nov. 12 Lehigh Valley 4 at Hershey 1
Dec. 30 Hershey at Lehigh Valley
Jan. 7 Lehigh Valley at Hershey
Jan. 13 Hershey at Lehigh Valley
Jan. 31 Hershey at Lehigh Valley
Feb. 2 Hershey at Lehigh Valley
Mar. 3 Hershey at Lehigh Valley
Apr. 2 Lehigh Valley at Hershey
Apr. 12 Lehigh Valley at Hershey

Sunday, December 31 against the Charlotte Checkers includes the World’s Largest Puck Drop after the game outside the arena as part of the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration which will also include a Glowstick giveaway courtesy of Penn Community Bank.

Saturday, December 30 (7:05) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Phantoms Knit Caps presented by The Morning Call. Whiteout Night.
Sunday, December 31 (7:05) – Charlotte Checkers at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – World’s Largest Puck Drop! Glowsticks presented by Penn Community Bank

Saturday, January 6 (6:05) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Sunday, January 7 (3:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Hershey Bears

Friday, January 12 (7:05) – Hartford Wolf Pack at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, January 13 (7:05) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms