PREVIEW: Phantoms vs. Bears, Game #35

Saturday, January 13, 7:05 p.m.
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Lehigh Valley (15-13-6) vs. Hershey (29-7-0)

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms conclude their quick weekend homestand in a Saturday night rivalry showdown against the Hershey Bears, AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals.
Lehigh Valley is on a three-game point streak to open 2024 at 2-0-1 following a rough-and-tumble 4-1 victory over Hartford on Friday.
The Hershey Bears have the best record in professional hockey and the defending Calder Cup Champs won in their last game with a 3-2 overtime decision against the Phantoms last Sunday at GIANT Center.
It is Game 7 out of 12 in the season series.
Tonight is also Valley Youth House Night presented by Air Products including a Diaper and Wipes Donation Drive at the Martin Guitar Stage featuring several terrific prizes available for those who generously contribute to help families in need in the region.
Tonight’s game is almost a sellout. Limited tickets remain.

Friday Night Fights at PPL Center amazed and energized the PPL Center crowd in the first home ame of 2024 as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-1.
Phantoms captain Garrett Wilson and Wolf Pack goaltender Louis Domingue exchanged punches in the second period as both received fighting majors and a game misconduct. Rhett Garnder mixed it up with behemoth Matt Rempe. And undersized defenseman Victor Mete scored his own take-down among other altercations in the emotion-filled game. Olle Lycksell (13th, 14th) recorded his third multi-goal game of the season while Jacob Gaucher (3rd) and Victor Mete (1st) also tallied for the Phantoms while Tanner Laczynski recorded a pair of helpers.
Felix Sandstrom racked up 30 saves in a splendid performance as he celebrated his 27th birthday.

Samu Tuomaala has been named to represent the Phantoms AHL All-Star Classic on February 4-5 in San Jose, Cal. Tuomaala just celebrated his 21st birthday on Monday and is having a tremendous rookie season with 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points which is second on the Phantoms. The Round 2 selection of the Flyers in 2021 is also fifth among AHL rookies and second among Eastern Conference first-year players in points and assists.

Lehigh Valley Phantoms Named to AHL All-Star Classic
2024 – Samu Tuomaala (San Jose, CA)
2023 – Ronnie Attard, Tyson Foerster, Cam York (Laval, PQ)
2020 – Morgan Frost  (Ontario, CA)
2019 – Greg Carey, Colin McDonald (Springfield, MA)
2018 – T.J. Brennan, Danick Martel, Oskar Lindblom (Utica, NY)
2017 – T.J. Brennan, Taylor Leier, Jordan Weal (Allentown, PA)
2016 – Nick Cousins, Anthony Stolarz (Syracuse, NY)
2015 – Brandon Manning (Utica, NY)

Samu Tuomaala made history with his overtime goal at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last Saturday becoming the first Lehigh Valley forward and also the first Lehigh Valley rookie to score two overtime goals in the same season. Four other Lehigh Valley Phantoms have notched two overtime goals in a season but all four were defensemen (Louie Belpedio, Andy Welinski, T.J. Brennan, Brandon Manning).
Only two other rookies in Phantoms franchise history have scored two overtime goals in a season:
Paul Healey (1996-97) and Kyle Greentree (2007-08) both with the Philadelphia Phantoms
The last forward in the Phantoms franchise to score two overtime goals in a season was Kyle Greentree.

The Phantoms are third in the AHL with 10 overtime games trailing only Rochester (13) and Springfield (12). Lehigh Valley is 4-5 in overtime decisions and 0-1 in shootouts. The Phantoms had won three consecutive overtime decisions from December 13 through January 6 before Hershey snapped the streak last Sunday.
Lehigh Valley has gone to overtime in four consecutive away games including December 21 and December 22 (shootout) at Charlotte followed by overtime thrillers on January 6 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and January 7 at Hershey. Lehigh Valley has played to overtime in four of the last eight games overall as well as five of the last 11.

Tonight is Phantoms captain Garrett Wilson 199th game with the Phantoms. He is projected to play in his 200th career game with Lehigh Valley next Wednesday at Rochester and will become the 11th player to achieve the feat with Lehigh Valley as well as the 28th all-time in Phantoms franchise history.
Wilson has scored 42 goals with 59 assists for 101 points through four seasons with the Phantoms. He has played in 610 career games in the AHL via stays with San Antonio, Portland, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Toronto and Lehigh Valley scoring 136-170-306 with 1,016 penalty minutes. Wilson has also played in 84 NHL games with Pittsburgh and Florida scoring 2-4-6.

First-place Hershey (29-7-0) continues to impress with the best record in pro hockey. The Phantoms almost took down the first-place Bears last Sunday but Hershey equalized late before finding the overtime winner to improve to 20-3-0 since November 15. Clay Stevenson (13-5-0, 1.79, .934) has been the top goaltender in the league and three of his five shutouts this season have come against Lehigh Valley. 31-year-old veteran Mike Sgarbossa (7-26-33) is second in the AHL in assists and had the late tying goal with just 5:20 left last Sunday. Free-agent pickup from France, Pierrick Dube,  has 19 goals, second in the AHL. Ethen Frank (14-14-28) is picking up where he left off in his AHL All-Rookie team season when he scored 30 goals. Hershey’s stingy defense is tough to crack as the Bears lead the AHL with just 2.11 goals allowed per game and 26 shots allowed per contest. Four former Phantoms play for the Bears including Logan Day, Matt Strome,  35-year-old veteran Garrett Roe (Adirondack Phantoms) and Mike Vecchione. Lehigh Valley is 1-3-2 against Hershey this season.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Cooper Marody 9-22-31
Samu Tuomaala 10-18-28
Tanner Laczynski 8-17-25
Olle Lycksell 14-10-24
Ronnie Attard 6-12-18

Bears Scoring Leaders
Mike Sgarbossa 7-22-33
Ethen Frank 14-14-28
Alex Limoges 10-18-28
Joe Snively 8-18-26
Pierrick Dube 19-6-25

Lehigh Valley PP, 21.9% (5th) – LV vs. HER PP, 2/21, 9.5%
Lehigh Valley PK 81.9% (16th)
Hershey PP 22.5% (4th) – HER vs. LV PP, 1/22, 4.5%
Hershey PK 86.8% (2nd)

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

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
Bogdan Trineyev 2-2-4
Logan Day 1-3-4
Clay Stevenson 3-1-0, 1.00, .964

Lehigh Valley heads out for a three-game road swing to Rochester and Cleveland beginning Wednesday night.
The Phantoms return to PPL Center on Friday, January 26 and Saturday, January 27 hosting the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Toronto Marlies. January 27 has an auto-racing theme on Racing Night and also includes a Youth Knit Hat Giveaway for the first 2,500 kids age 14 and younger.

Saturday, January 13 (7:05) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Valley Youth House Night presented by Air Products

Wednesday, January 17 (7:05) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Rochester Americans
Friday, January 19 (7:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Cleveland Monsters
Saturday, January 20 (7:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Cleveland Monsters

Friday, January 26 (7:05) – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Lehigh Valley
Saturday, January 27 (7:05) – Toronto at Lehigh Valley – Racing Night and Youth Knit Hat Night