Preview: Phantoms vs. Crunch, Game #46

Saturday, February 17, 7:05 p.m.
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Lehigh Valley (20-18-7) vs. Syracuse (26-15-5)

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (20-18-7) play their final home game of February as they host the North Division-leading Syracuse Crunch, AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tonight is meLVin Youth Jersey Night for the first 2,000 kids presented by Velaspan and Service Electric.
Tonight is Lehigh Valley’s first game in a week following an unusual gap in the schedule. There are 26 games remaining in the regular season over the next two months. After tonight’s contest, the Phantoms take to the road for the next four straight beginning with a Wednesday night excursion to Wilkes-Barre.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Bridgeport Islanders went down to the wire last Saturday in a tremendous goaltenders duel between Parker Gahagen and Henrik Tikkanen. Jacob Gaucher (6th) scored in the third period while J-R Avon and Wade Allison scored in the shootout in a 2-1 victory in Connecticut. Gahagen was stellar with a 34-save performance.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms made history when they won consecutive games in a shootout last weekend. Lehigh Valley had only played back-t0-back shootout games on one other occasion in October 2019. But this was the first time for Lehigh Valley to win two in a row via a shootout.
The only other time the Phantoms franchise won back-to-back games in a shootout came in the form of the old Adirondack Phantoms accomplishing the feat January 2 and January 5, 2011.
J-R Avon is tied for the AHL lead with four shootout goals and that also ties an all-time Lehigh Valley record. Taylor Leier is the only other Lehigh Valley Phantom to score four shootout goals in a season when he went 4-for-8 in the 2015-16 campaign. The franchise record is held by Jared Ross who went 7-for-11 in 2008-09 with the Philadelphia Phantoms.

The Phantoms are second in the league with 14 overtime games this season out of 45 games total games played. Only Rochester (15) has more. Lehigh Valley is 4-5 in overtime decisions and 3-2 in games that advance to a shootout for a combined record of 7-7 after regulation.


AHL Rookie Scoring
Logan Stankoven, TEX 22-31-53
Matt Coronato, CGY 14-22-37

Rookie Defensemen Assists
Brandt Clarke, ONT, 25
Olen Zellweger, SD, 22
Logan Mailloux, LAV, 22

Rookie Defensemen
Power Play Scoring:
Olen Zellweger, SD, 5-11-16
EMIL ANDRAE, LV, 3-10-13
Brandt Clarke, ONT, 2-10-12

Power Play Assists
Mike Sgarbossa, HER, 19
Matt Donovan, CHI, 16


The Phantoms record when:
– Score 4 or more goals: 13-0-2
– Allow 3 or fewer goals: 14-3-3
– Lead After 1st period: 7-1-2
– Lead After 2nd period: 12-1-1
– One-Goal Games: 13-3-7
– Overtime: 4-5 / Shootout: 3-2

Syracuse (26-15-5) had moved up the standings to briefly take first place in the North Division but has now fallen out of the top spot after the Cleveland Monsters won a pair of games this week. The Crunch have gone 10-5-1 in 2024 but lost in a wild 6-5 decision at Belleville their last time out on Wednesday.
Head coach Joel Bouchard formerly was bench boss at San Diego and Laval and has prior ties to Ian Laperriere and Daniel Briere with the QMJHL Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.
2020 second-rounder Gage Goncalves (7-32-39) leads the team in scoring. Felix Robert (11-17-28) played two seasons for the WBS Penguins before joining Syracuse last year. 2019 third-rounder from Sweden Hugo Alnefelt (10-5-4, 2.35, .909) is 10th in the AHL in GAA.
Defenseman Phil Myers played parts of 3 seasons with the Phantoms from 2017 through 2020 for a total of 109 games scoring 14-40-54 and also played 115 games with the Philadelphia Flyers scoring 6-23-29 plus an overtime goal in Game 2 of Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New York Islanders. Myers has played 158 career NHL games with Philadelphia, Nashville and Tampa Bay.
Syracuse allows just 2.76 goals per game, 5th in the AHL and second in the conference behind Hershey. The Crunch penalty kill is also fifth in the league at 84.5%.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Cooper Marody 10-27-37
Samu Tuomaala 13-22-35
x – Olle Lycksell 16-12-28
Tanner Laczynski 8-18-26
Emil Andrae 4-20-24
Ronnie Attard 9-15-24

Islanders Scoring Leaders
Gage Goncalves 7-32-39
Jack Thompson 5-26-31
Felix Robert 11-17-28
x Mitchell Chaffee 12-14-26
Cole Koepke 12-11-23

Lehigh Valley PP, 21.3% (6th) / Lehigh Valley PK 80.5% (21st)
Syracuse PP 17.0% (22nd) / Syracuse PK 84.5% (5th)

The Phantoms open a stretch of four straight away games with a Wednesday night trek to Wilkes-Barre to tangle with the Penguins. Next weekend, the Phantoms play a pair of games at the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

The Phantoms return to PPL Center on Saturday, March 2 against the Bridgeport Islanders on Hockey is for Everyone Night.

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Saturday, February 17 (7:05) – vs. Syracuse Crunch – meLVin Youth Jerseys presented by Velaspan and SECTV, SNHL

Wednesday, February 21 (7:05) – Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Saturday, February 24 (4:00) – Phantoms at Charlotte Checkers
Sunday, February 25 (1:00) – Phantoms at Charlotte Checkers
Friday, March 1 (7:05) – Phantoms at Utica Comets

Saturday, March 2 (7:05) vs. Bridgeport Islanders—Hockey is for Everyone, SNHL ft. DJ Brad Scott
Sunday, March 3 (3:05) vs. Hershey Bears—meLVin’s Birthday, Post-game skate with players, Faith Night