PREVIEW: Phantoms vs. Bruins, Game #17

Friday, November 24 at 7:05 p.m.
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Lehigh Valley (8-6-2) vs. Providence (6-8-3)

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are back at PPL Center for a Thanksgiving Weekend homestand beginning tonight against the slumping Providence Bruins. The Phantoms are returning from a perfect three-game trip through Canada and have also won four in a row, all on the road. The Providence Bruins have dropped four straight. Tonight is the first of six meetings between the Atlantic Division foes.

The Phantoms finished their perfect Canadian road swing with a hard-fought 2-1 win at the Toronto Marlies on Tuesday. Olle Lycksell (11th) and Garrett Wilson (4th) provided the offense while Cal Petersen racked up 25 saves in a strong effort which also included backstopping a perfect 6-for-6 penalty kill. Former Phantom and Flyer Kieffer Bellows scores the lone goal for the Marlies. Lehigh Valley’s win came against the top goaltender in the AHL in rookie Dennis Hildeby who entered the night with a 1.41 goals-against average.

Tanner Laczynski was named the Howie’s Hockey Tape/AHL Player of the Week for his massive performance last weekend which included three goals and two assists in two games. He added another assist on Tuesday in Toronto after he had won the award.
Laczynski was a factor in all three goals in Lehigh Valley’s 3-2 win at the Laval Rocket on Friday with one goal and two assists. Then he racked up two more goals in the 8-1 rout of the Belleville Senators on Saturday.
Laczynski is the second Phantom to win the honor this season as he joins Olle Lycksell who received the honor on October 23 following a five-goal weekend in three games that included a hat trick at Springfield on October 20.

The Philadelphia Flyers have loaned goaltender Felix Sandström to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
The Flyers have also reassigned defenseman Mason Millman from the Phantoms to the Reasding Royals of the ECHL.
Sandström, 26, recently played in two games with Lehigh Valley on a conditioning loan from Philadelphia. But his stint with the Phantoms was cut short due to an upper-body injury in the first period of a home game on Friday, November 3 against Hartford. He was recalled to Philadelphia after that game and placed on injured reserve.  Sandström went 0-0-1, 3.68, .857 in his two games with Lehigh Valley. Last season, he played in seven games with the Phantoms in January on a conditioning loan going 4-1-2, 2.39, .911 which came in between stints with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Millman has played in seven games with the Phantoms this season recording two assists.


  • Lehigh Valley’s streak of four consecutive wins in regulation is the team’s longest since a five-game streak in January, 2020. The Phantoms have had other five-game overall win streaks since 2020 but those streaks were not all regulation wins.
  • Olle Lycksell (11-4-15) is tied for second in the AHL with 11 goals. He is also tied for second in power-play goals with 5.
  • Samu Tuomaala (3-10-13) racked up five points last weekend (1-4-5). He is third among AHL rookies in assists and is tied for sixth in rookie points.
  • Samu Tuomaala scored the fastest goal to start a period in Lehigh Valley history when he deflected a Ronnie Attard shot into the cage just 10 seconds into the second period on Saturday at Belleville. That ties the Lehigh Valley record set by Pascal Laberge who scored 10 seconds into a game on April 26, 2021 at the Binghamton Devils.
  • The Phantoms have won AHL Player of the Week honors twice in the same season for only the second time since the team arrived in Lehigh Valley 10 years ago with Olle Lycksell and Tanner Laczynski both winning the award. Scott Laughton and Nick Cousins won the award in the team’s inaugural season in 2014-15.
  • The Phantoms are 7-0-1 when scoring three or more goals
  • Lehigh Valley’s power play is fifth in the AHL, and second in the Eastern Conference, at 22.4%. The Phantoms have scored a power-play goal in each game of their win streak and are 5-for-10 during the stretch.
  • The Phantoms have sprinted up to 10th in the AHL in penalty kill at 85.7%. Lehigh Valley has allowed just 2/25 in the four-game win streak and both of those were 6-on-4 goals. Lehigh Valley has not allowed a 5-on-4 goal since November 3. In November, the PK has allowed just 4/44 (90.9% PK).
  • The Phantoms are one of only four teams who rate in the Top 10 in both power play and penalty kill (also Calgary, Hartford, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton)
  • The Phantoms are tied for the AHL lead for most goals in the second period with 21 (also Texas Stars)
  • The Phantoms are second in the AHL for most shots in the second period with 178 (Springfield has 182)

It’s the first of six meetings this season between Atlantic Division foes Lehigh Valley and Providence (6-8-1). The P-Bruins have dropped four straight including a 6-4 loss at Hartford on Wednesday and a 3-1 setback at Bridgeport on Sunday. Chatham, NJ native John Farinacci (5-9-14) leads the team in scoring in his rookie season out of Harvard. First-rounder Fabian Lysell (4-8-12) scored 14 goals as a rookie. Western Michigan product Brandon Bussi (4-4-2, 2.81, .910) was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team last season but seems to be having a slight sophomore slump following his 22-5-4 campaign with .924 save percentage in 2022-23. Georgii Merkolov (4-6-10) also made the All-Rookie Team scoring 24-31-55 last year finishing second in the league among first-year players behind only Tye Kartye of Coachella Valley. Special teams have been a drag on Providence with a power play that rates only 27th in the AHL (13.4%) and a penalty kill that is 31st out of 32 at 75.0%.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Olle Lycksell 11-4-15
Cooper Marody 5-9-14
Tanner Laczynski 4-10-14
Samu Tuomaala 3-10-13
Garrett Wilson 3-10-13

Bruins Scoring Leaders
John Farinacci 5-9-14
Fabian Lysell 4-8-12
Jayson Megna 4-6-10
Georgii Merkulov 4-6-10
Luke Toporowski 6-3-9

Lehigh Valley PP, 22.4% (5th)
Lehigh Valley PK 85.7% (10th)
Providence PP 13.4% (27th)
Providence PK 75.0% (31st)

Lehigh Valley is back at PPL Center Saturday, November 25 on Flyers Night with GRITTY plus postgame photos with the Phantoms players


Friday, November 24 (7:05 p.m.) – Providence Bruins at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – SECTV Phantoms Ballcaps
Saturday, November 25 (7:05 p.m.) – Rochester Americans at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Flyers Night with GRITTY! Plus postgame photos with Phantoms players

Friday, December 1 (7:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Hartford Wolf Pack
Saturday, December 2 (7:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Hartford Wolf Pack
Sunday, December 3 (3:05 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Providence Bruins