PREVIEW: Phantoms vs. Bears

Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 4:05 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (31-22-6) vs. Hershey Bears (34-16-7)
PPL Center, Allentown, PA

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms strive to beware the Ides of March while seeking their sixth straight win as they tangle with the rival Hershey Bears in the third game of a five-game homestand at PPL Center. Tonight’s game can be seen on NHL Network in a simulcast with the broadcast from Service Electric Network.
Lehigh Valley (31-22-6) swept its busy three-game weekend including a 5-2 victory over the Utica Comets in the most recent outing on Sunday.
The Phantoms are tied with the Springfield Thunderbirds for fourth place in the Atlantic Division although Springfield has one game-in-hand.
Hershey (34-16-7) has lost three in a row to drop out of first place in the Atlantic Division. The Bears were swept in a two-game series at the Providence Bruins last weekend in a showdown of the top two teams in the Atlantic Division.
There are 13 games remaining in the regular season with eight at home.

Saturday, March 11, 2023
Phantoms 4 – Senators 3 (OT)
Cooper Marody’s hat trick goal with 48.5 seconds brought the flying sombreros at PPL Center. But there was still work to be done. Sam Ersson made six saves in overtime including several on a Belleville penalty kill. Then it was Ronnie Attard (10th) who struck for the overtime winner after Adam Brooks stole it in the B-Sens zone. Marody’s fourth career AHL hat trick was part of a five-goal weekend for him…so far. Brooks had three assists on the night and Lehigh Valley won in overtime at home for the first time this season after four away OT triumphs.

The top six teams in the Atlantic Division qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs and the fourth-place team will receive home-ice advantage for the first round of the postseason. Lehigh Valley is tied for fourth with Springfield for fourth place but the Thunderbirds have one game-in-hand. The Phantoms are now nine points ahead of Hartford at the playoff cut-line.
Lehigh Valley’s Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot is now 20 points (which is points acquired by Lehigh Valley and also points missed by Hartford). The Phantoms can trim that Magic Number down to 16 with a win tonight combined with a regulation loss by Hartford against Bridgeport.
The current standings would have the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Springfield Thunderbirds meeting in the first round in the 5 vs. 4 series.

Cooper Marody was named AHL Player of the Week after scoring six goals with three assists for nine points in just three games last weekend. His hat trick on Saturday tied the game with 48.5 seconds remaining as part of a comeback overtime victory. Marody has scored 12-19-31 in 39 games with the Phantoms this season and has scored 79-127-206 in his AHL career encompassing 221 games with Lehigh Valley and Bakersfield. Marody is the fifth Lehigh Valley player to win AHL Player of the Week honors and it is the 20th time a Phantoms player has won the honor since the beginning of the Philadelphia Phantoms in 1996.

Lehigh Valley Phantoms to win AHL Player of the Week:
Cooper Marody – Mar 13, 2023
Max Willman – Feb 28, 2021
Colin McDonald – Jan 31, 2016
Nick Cousins – Mar 15, 2015
Scott Laughton – Oct 19, 2014 (Scored First Goal at PPL Center)

22 – Danick Martel (2015-16)
21 – Elliot Desnoyers (2022-23)
19  Connor Bunnaman (2018-19)

Tyson Foerster was again recalled to the Philadelphia Flyers after a quick one-game return to the Phantoms on Sonday afternoon. The Flyers first-round selection in 2020 made his NHL debut at Carolina last Thursday. Tuesday night against Vegas was his third game in the NHL and his first Flyers home game. Foerster is tied with Elliot Desnoyers for the team lead with 39 points and is second on the Phantoms with 19 goals.
Sam Ersson was also recalled on an emergency basis to step in as backup goalie while Carter Hart was unavailable due to the flu but Ersson was expected to return to the Phantoms after the game.

– Lehigh Valley’s five-game win streak is their second such stretch of the season. The Phantoms also won five straight from November 5-19. The last time the Phantoms won six in a row was in the 2017-18 season from October 14-27. Lehigh Valley’s longest win streak was eight in a row in the 2016-17 season from November 2-18.
 Garrett Wilson has scored 7-8-15 in the last 11 games in a stretch that has included a five-game point streak as well as a hat trick on February 20 against Hartford.
– Adam Brooks has scored 2-7-9 in a four-game point streak
 Sam Ersson is 7-1-0, 2.13. 911 with one shutout in his last eight games with the Phantoms since February 4. Since making his NHL debut on December 23, the rookie goaltender has gone 9-3-0 with the Phantoms and also 7-1-0 with the Flyers for a combined record of 16-4-0.
– Elliot Desnoyers has scored 7-9-15 in his last 12 games since February 1. The 21-year-old center was named AHL Rookie of the Month for February scoring 5-9-14 in just eight games played last month while also making is NHL debut.
– The Phantoms are….
24-7-5 when scoring 3 or more goals
22-1-1 when allowing 2 goals or fewer
17-5-6 in one-goal games
15-3-6 when scoring the first goal
19-2-4 when leading after two periods
5-3 in overtime and 3-3 in shootouts


The Phantoms play back-to-back games against the Hershey Bears at PPL Center as the rivalry series continues. Hershey (34-16-7) has dropped three straight and fell out of first place in the Atlantic Division when they were swept at the Providence Bruins in a two-game series last weekend. Mike Sgarbossa (19-32-51) and former Phantom Mike Vechione (20-26-46) lead the way for the Bears and both top-line forwards have done very well against the Phantoms. Ethen Frank (25-17-42) tops all AHL rookies in goals. Hunter Shepard (13-6-5, 2.28, .911) is tops in the Eastern Conference in goals-against average while Hershey is surrendering a conference-best 2.60 goals per game. The Phantoms are 2-0-1 against Hershey in the last three meetings after Hershey prevailed in the first seven meetings of the season. This week represented Games 11 and 12 out of 14 in the season series.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Elliot Desnoyers 21-18-39
Tyson Foerster 19-20-39
Olle Lycksell 10-27-37
Garrett Wilson 12-21-33
Cooper Marody 12-19-31
Artem Anisimov 16-12-28

Bears Scoring Leaders
Mike Sgarbossa 19-32-51
Mike Vecchione 20-26-46
Ethen Frank 25-17-42
Mason Morelli 11-22-33
Connor McMichael 12-17-29

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Lehigh Valley Power Play – 22.0%, 9th (vs. HER 6/22, 27.3%)
Lehigh Valley Penalty Kill – 72.6%, 32nd
Hershey Power Play – 17.5%, 26th (vs. LV 10/36, 27.8%)
Hershey Penalty Kill – 80.5%, 18th

The homestand continues in a rivalry rematch with Hershey with a St. Patrick’s Day showdown on Friday, March 17 on a Whiteout Night with the Phantoms.

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Wednesday, March 15 (7:05) vs. HERSHEY BEARS
Friday, March 17 (7:05) vs. HERSHEY BEARS
Sunday, March 19 (4:05) vs. WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS
Saturday, March 25 (7:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Sunday, March 26 (5:00) at Hershey Bears

Wednesday, March 15 (7:05) vs. Hershey Bears – Truist Night. Chamber of Commerce Night. $2 Pregame Happy Hour Beers

Friday, March 17 (7:05) vs. Hershey Bears – St. Patrick’s Day! Whiteout Night. $1 Hot Dogs

Sunday, March 19 (4:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Prospect Pack Trading Card Sets for First 5,000 Fans

Friday, March 24 – NCAA Tournament Hockey Allentown Regional Doubleheader Hosted by Penn State

Sunday, March 26 – NCAA Tournament  Hockey Allentown Regional Final playing for Berth in the Frozen Four



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.”

Service Electric Network again provides exclusive television coverage of all Phantoms home games with veteran announcer Steve Degler and Phantoms’ alum Steven Swavely on the call from the booth. Kristi Fulkerson reports from ice level and also from the Chickie’s and Pete’s studio with Dan Fremuth for pregame, intermission and postgame show analysis.