It’s a Phantoms GAMEDAY presented by MassMutual! The Lehigh Valley Phantoms host the Hershey Bears in the opening game of a critical weekend Home-and-Home series which will include a rematch in Chocolatetown tomorrow. A pair of Phantoms victories this weekend can pull Lehigh Valley into strong contention in the late-season Calder Cup Playoff chase.
The Phantoms are on a four-game point streak (1-0-3) and have an eight-game home-ice point streak (6-0-2).
The Phantoms are 6-0-0 at PPL Center against the Hershey Bears.
Lehigh Valley (27-30-14) is playing game 72 of the season and there are five games remaining including tonight with four of those games in Allentown.
Lehigh Valley racked up three goals in the first period but the Providence Bruins had answers each time and eventually prevailed in a 5-4 overtime verdict on Tuesday night in Rhode Island. Bruins’ first-rounder Johnny Beecher scored his first two career pro goals, including the overtime winner against Pat Nagle.
Wyatte Wylie (5th) and Logan Day (6th) struck on point shots in the first and Nick Lappin (5th) scored on a sharp-angle from the bottom of the left circle on a rebound off traffic. Isaac Ratcliffe (10th) tied the game in the third period on a deflection of an Adam Clendenin drive from the top of the left circle.
Defenseman Linus Hogberg made his NHL debut on Thursday night and also recorded an assist in the Philadelphia Flyers’ 6-3 victory at the Montreal Canadiens. Hogberg became the sixth Phantoms player to make an NHL debut with the Flyers this season joining Max Willman, Felix Sandstrom, Linus Sandin, Isaac Ratcliffe and Hayden Hodgson.
Slumping Hershey (33-30-10) has hopes of clinching a Calder Cup Playoff spot tonight if they win against the Phantoms AND the Bridgeport Islanders lose to Springfield. But the Phantoms can bring themselves into very realistic contention into the last week of the season if they pick up a two-game sweep of the series.
The fifth-place Bears get one final chance to pick up a win at PPL Center after going 0-6 so far. The Phantoms are 7-4-1 overall against Hershey entering the opener of the critical home-and-home series. The Bears have dropped four straight including back-to-back shutout losses. Phantoms’ alum Mike Vecchione leads Hershey in scoring with 16-28-44. Against the Phantoms, Vecchione has scored 4-4-8. Cal O’Reilly has six of his team-leading 20 goals against Hershey including three shorthanded markers. Hershey is just 3-for-43 (7.0%) on the power play against Lehigh Valley while the Phantoms have performed at 4-for-38 (10.5%) against the Bears.
– Cal O’Reilly recorded his 534th career assist in the AHL to pass former Philadelphia Phantoms great Peter White for eighth-most all-time. White is the all-time leading scorer in franchise history with 472 of his points and 319 assists coming as a member of the Phantoms.
– The Phantoms are on an eight-game home-ice point streak (6-0-2) since March 11.
– The Phantoms now have seven players who have reached double digits in goals after Isaac Ratcliffe scored his 10th on Tuesday following Maksim Sushko and Wade Allison both scoring their 10th of the year last week. They join Cal O’Reilly (20), Hayden Hodgson (19), Garrett Wilson (16) and Max Willman (10) in the select group.
– The Phantoms are 16-1-2 when scoring four or more goals. The Phantoms are 16-2-3 when leading at the second intermission.
– Six Phantoms players have made their NHL debuts this season: Max Willman, Felix Sandstrom, Linus Sandin, Isaac Ratcliffe, Hayden Hodgson, Linus Hogberg
– The Phantoms have played 71 games and have 5 remaining in the 2021-22 regular season.
Friday, April 22 vs. Hershey Bears (7:05) (PPL Center)
Saturday, April 23 at Hershey Bears (7:00)
Tuesday, April 26 vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (7:05) (PPL Center)
Wednesday, April 27 vs. Cleveland Monsters (7:05) (PPL Center)
Saturday, April 30 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (7:05) (PPL Center) Star Wars Night!! Season Finale
Broadcast coverage of all Phantoms games, home and away, is available on the Phantoms 365 app and on 1470-WSAN. Fans can watch on AHLTV.com and can listen on their Smart Speakers at: “Play Phantoms Radio 24/7.” Join Voice of the Phantoms, Bob Rotruck, for all the action!