PREVIEW: Phantoms vs. Bruins, Game #22

Friday, December 8, 7:05 p.m.
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Lehigh Valley (9-8-4) vs. Providence (11-8-3)

It’s Home Sweet Home for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms who return to PPL Center for the next five games beginning with tonight’s rematch against the Providence Bruins, AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins.
Tonight is a Berks $1 Hot Dog Night and tomorrow against the Charlotte Checkers is the annual Teddy Bear Toss Night, presented by Big Woody’s.
This is Game 3 out of 6 in the season series between the Atlantic Division foes with the P-Bruins having taken a pair of one-goal decisions from Lehigh Valley already including 3-2 last Sunday at Providence and 2-1 in overtime the week prior on November 24 at PPL Center.
Providence has won five straight since snapping a four-game losing skid and the P-Bruins have zoomed up to third place in the Atlantic Division as a result. Lehigh Valley is holding steady at sixth place following the team’s three-game road swing through New England.

J.R. Avon (5th) scored his second goal of the weekend and Elliot Desnoyers tied the game in the third period on the breakaway with his third goal of the campaign but Justin Brazeau broke the tie midway through the second period as Providence picked up a 3-2 win over the Phantoms last Sunday. Providence goalie Brandon Bussi improved to 2-0-0 against the Phantoms this season.

Olle Lycksell has been recalled to the Philadelphia Flyers to join the team on its western road swing. Lycksell (12-7-19) is fourth in the AHL with 12 goals and is tied for first in power-play goals at 6. Lycksell is also second with 79 shots on goal. He had his seven-game point streak (4-6-10) snapped on Saturday at Hartford which is also the longest for the Phantoms this season. Lycksell scored 14 goals for the Phantoms last season as a rookie and also played in eight games with Philadelphia.

Lehigh Valley’s power play is first in the AHL at 25.6% and the team’s 20 total power-play markers is second-most in the league.  The Phantoms are on a nine-game streak with a power-play goal going 12-for-30 (40.0%) in that stretch.
Olle Lycksell leads the league in power-play points with 12 and is tied for the AHL lead with six power-play goals. Olle Lycksell is tied for the league lead at six power-play markers.
Tanner Laczynski (3-5-8), Cooper Marody (2-7-9), Samu Tuomaala (3-5-8) and J.R. Avon (2-1-3) also have multiple power-play goals.


  • Samu Tuomaala (5-13-18) is second in the AHL for most assists by a rookie with 13 and is tied for third in AHL Rookie Points. The 20-year-old rookie was a Round 2 pick of the Flyers in 2021 and has three times this season recorded three points in a game.
  • Ronnie Attard is on a four-game point streak (1-4-5)
  • Tonight is Phantoms captain Garrett Wilson’s 599th career game in the AHL
  • The Phantoms are:
    5-1-3 when scoring first
    8-1-2 when scoring three or more goals
    8-0-0 when leading after two periods
    7-2-2 when allowing three goals or fewer
    3-1-1 on Friday
  • The Phantoms are also the most penalized team in the AHL at 19.1 average PIM per game which includes a league-leading 123 minor penalties. 98 times on the penalty kill this season is also most in the AHL. Captain and veteran leader Garrett Wilson leads the AHL with 69 PIM.

Providence (11-8-3) has won five straight on the other side of a four-game losing streak to rise from seventh all the way up to third place in the Atlantic Division. John Farinacci (6-11-17) is a rookie out of Harvard who leads the P-Bruins in scoring. First-rounder Fabian Lysell (6-8-14) scored in overtime against the Phantoms on November 24 at PPL Center but missed three games last week due to injury. 6’5″ tall goaltender Brandon Bussi (6-4-2, 2.58, .917) has picked up a pair of wins against Lehigh Valley this year and was sensational in net at PPL Center on November 24 with 41 saves when the P-Bruins won in overtime 2-1. But Bussi went up to Boston on Thursday on en emergency recall. Georgii Merkulov (5-9-14) joined Bussi on last year’s AHL All-Rookie Team after scoring 24-31-55 last season.
Tonight’s game is a rematch of last Sunday’s clash in Rhode Island which the Bruins took 3-2 on a third-period goal by Justin Brazeau. The P-Bruins won the Atlantic Division last year going 44-18-10 but were bounced by Hartford 3 games to 1 in their second-round playoff series.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
x Olle Lycksell 12-7-19
Tanner Laczynski 6-12-18
Samu Tuomaala 5-13-18
Cooper Marody 5-11-16
Garrett Wilson 5-8-13

Bruins Scoring Leaders
John Farinacci 6-11-17
Fabian Lysell 6-8-14
Jayson Megna 5-9-14
Georgii Merkulov 5-9-14
Justin Brazeau 7-6-13

Lehigh Valley PP, 25.6% (1st)
Lehigh Valley PK 79.6% (25th)
Providence PP 14.9% (24th)
Providence PK 73.4% (32nd)

The Phantoms are back for the annual Teddy Bear Toss Night on Saturday, December 9 when the Phantoms host the Charlotte Checkers. Fans can bring their stuffed animal donations to throw onto the ice after the Phantoms score their first goal. It will be raining THOUSANDS of Teddy Bears inside PPL Center on Saturday!

Friday, December 8 (7:05 p.m.) – Providence Bruins at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, December 9 (7:05 p.m.) – Charlotte Checkers at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Teddy Bear Toss presented by Big Woody’s!

Wednesday, December 13 (7:05) – Charlotte Checkers at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Military Appreciation Night
Friday, December 15 (7:05) – Laval Rocket at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, December 16 (7:05) – Springfield Thunderbirds at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Hispanic Heritage Night, Los Fantasmas!!