PREVIEW: Phantoms vs. Bears, Game #52

Sunday, March 3, 3:05 p.m.
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Lehigh Valley (22-22-7) vs. Hershey (41-10-3)

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (22-22-7) host the rival Hershey Bears in a Sunday matinee clash at PPL Center to wrap up a busy weekend. Today is also meLVin’s birthday with all his mascot friends and includes a postgame skate with the Phantoms player presented by NJM Insurance.
Lehigh Valley and Hershey are meeting for a 10th time this season as well as a sixth (and last) time at PPL Center this year. The Phantoms will travel to Chocolatetown on two more occasions this season. The Phantoms have won two of the last three meetings against Hershey and have points in five of nine meetings overall with 3-4-2 record against the Bears.
Today is the 52nd game of the season. There are 21 games remaining in the 2023-24 campaign.

Parker Gahagen dazzled with an AHL-career high 39 saves and the penalty kill came through in big moments but the Phantoms’ offense had a difficult time breaking through against Bridgeport Islanders goaltender Jakub Skarek in a 2-1 loss on Saturday night.
Adam Ginning fired up the already energetic crowd with a big fight against Bridgeport’s Tyce Thompson late in the second period. Cooper Marody (14th) scored the lone Phantoms tally on a terrific power-play assist by Emil Andrae. Rookie prospect Matt Maggio (11th) scored the winner at 2:30 into the third period breaking a 1-1 tie as he cut in alone at the net after a nifty steal and set up for leading score Ruslan Ishakov.

Four Phantoms have received recalls to the Philadelphia Flyers in the last week.
Olle Lycksell joined the Phantoms after one game back with the team on Saturday in which he scored two goals with two assists at Charlotte. Lycksel leads the Phantoms with 18 goals.
Bobby Brink returns to the Flyers after scoring 5-6-11 in 11 games with the Phantoms since arriving on January 26. Brink scored the overtime winner on Saturday at Charlotte.
Ronnie Attard received his first call-up to the Flyers this season. The righty-shooting defenseman has scored 10-15-25 with Lehigh Valley and has played in 16 career games with the Philadelphia Flyers previously including one game last year and 15 games at the end of the 2022-23 season.
Goaltender Felix Sandstrom has a big opportunity with the Flyers were he has yet to play this season. Sandstrom has gone 11-6-2, 3.23, .882 with Lehigh Valley this season. On his career with the Flyers he is 3-16-4, 3.62, .887.

Cal Petersen has been returned to the Phantoms where he is 5-8-2, 3.26, .890. He had been up with Philadelphia since January 20 and has played in five games with the Flyers this season.
Alex Kile rejoins the Phantoms from the Maine Mariners of the ECHL where he is second in the league in points and third in goals scoring 28-31-49 in just 38 games played. The 29-year-old winger has played in 49 career games with the Phantoms over the past three seasons scoring 6-5-11.

Never count out the Phantoms!
Lehigh Valley has won six times when trailing at the second intermission which is tied for most comeback wins in the AHL with Grand Rapids. Additionally, the Phantoms have points in 10 games when trailing after two periods including four losses in overtime or shootout. That is second-highest in the AHL.

The Phantoms record when:
– Score 4 or more goals: 14-0-2
– Allow 3 or fewer goals: 15-5-3
– Lead After 1st period: 7-1-2
– Lead After 2nd period: 12-1-1
– One-Goal Games: 15-5-7
– Overtime: 6-5 / Shootout: 3-2

Hershey (41-10-3) is on a record pace with a league-leading .787 points percentage which would break the old mark of .775 by the Binghamton Rangers in 1992-93. The Phantoms are 3-4-2 against Hershey and are the only team to have defeated the Bears three times this season, including twice in regulation. The Bears are coming off a 1-0 loss at home to Isaac Poulter and the Utica Comets which ended their seven-game home win streak.
That also ended an overall five-game point streak. The Bears are led by Joe Snively (10-33-43). Mike Sgarbossa (7-36-43) has been recalled to the Washington Capitals as has Pierrick Dube (24-10-34) and Ivan Miroshnichenko (9-16-25). All-Star goaltender Clay Stevenson (18-7-1, 1.89, .930) is the leading candidate for the AHL’s Red Garrett Award for the top goaltender as the Dartmouth College rookie leads the circuit in GAA and Save Percentage and also tops the league with six shutouts, including two against the Phantoms.
The Bears stingy defense is tough to beat. Hersey leads the AHL in goals allowed (2.09), shots allowed (26.2) and penalty kill (87.7%). Lehigh Valley clobbered Hershey 4-1 in the last matchup on February 2 at PPL Center. Both teams have had strong penalty kills in the season series. Lehigh Valley and Hershey are an identical 4/35 (11.4%) in the series so far. This is Hershey’s last visit to PPL Center this season. The Phantoms make two more treks to Chocolate Town.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Cooper Marody 14-30-44
Samu Tuomaala 13-24-37
x – Olle Lycksell 18-14-32
Emil Andrae 4-24-28
Tanner Laczynski 8-18-26
x – Ronnie Attard 10-15-25I

Bears Scoring Leaders
Joe Snively 10-33-43
x – Mike Sgarbossa 7-36-43
Alex Limoges 15-22-37
Ethen Frank 21-14-35
x – Pierrick Dube 24-10-24

Lehigh Valley PP, 20.9% (6th)  – Lehigh Valley PK 80.2% (24th) – LV PP vs. HER 4/35 (11.4%)
Hershey PP 21.3% (4th) – Hershey PK 87.7% (1st) – HER PP vs. LV 4/35 (11.4%)

Oct. 28 – Loss – Lehigh Valley 0 at Hershey 4
Nov. 1 – OTL – Lehigh Valley 3 at Hershey 4 (OT)
Nov. 11 – Loss – Hershey 2 at Lehigh Valley 0
Nov. 12 – Win – Lehigh Valley 4 at Hershey 1
Dec. 30 – Loss – Hershey 4 at Lehigh Valley 0
Jan. 7 – OTL – Lehigh Valley 2 at Hershey 3 (OT)
Jan. 13 – Win – Hershey 3 at Lehigh Valley 4 (SO)
Jan. 31 – Loss – Hershey 4 at Lehigh Valley 2
Feb. 2 – Win – Hershey 1 at Lehigh Valley 4

Mar. 3 Hershey at Lehigh Valley
Apr. 2 Lehigh Valley at Hershey
Apr. 12 Lehigh Valley at Hershey

Lehigh Valley
Cooper Marody 2-4-6
x Olle Lycksell 2-2-4
Adam Ginning 1-3-4
Garrett Wilson 1-3-4
Cal Petersen 1-2-1, 3.16, .880

x Pierrick Dubé 5-2-7
x Ivan Miroshnichenko 1-5-6
x Mike Sgarbossa 1-5-6
Bogdan Trineyev 2-3-5
Mike Vecchione 4-0-4

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

The Phantoms host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday, March 8 on a Berks Dollar Dog Night.
Lehigh Valley opens a five-game road swing after that beginning with a Saturday, March 9 rematch at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Sunday, March 3 (3:05) vs. Hershey Bears—meLVin’s Birthday, Post-game skate with players presented by NJM Insurance, Faith Night

Friday, March 8 (7:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Berks Dollar Dog Night. Can we break the hot dog record?!
Saturday, March 9 (6:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Sunday, March 10 (3:00) at Bridgeport Islanders