PREVIEW: Phantoms vs. Marlies, Game #40

Saturday, January 27, 7:05 p.m.
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Lehigh Valley (17-16-6) vs. Toronto (16-14-6)

VROOM VROOM!!! On Racing Night at PPL Center, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms host the Toronto Marlies, AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, in Game 2 of a season-long six-game homestand.
Tonight is also a Whiteout Night. And it is also meLVin Youth Winter Cap Night for the first 2,000 kids presented by Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital.

Bobby Brink returned with an impressive strike in his first game with the Phantoms this season and the resilient Phantoms roared back into the game after falling behind early 3-0 but eventually fell at home to the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 4-3 on Friday night at PPL Center. Garrett Wilson (7th), Bobby Brink (1st) and Adam Brooks (2nd), after a coast-to-coast entry for the impressive assist by J-R Avo,n all converted to equalize the game at 3-3. Lehigh Valley was on the verge in the third period where the Phantoms enjoyed a 17-4 shots advantage but a breakdown led to a rare chance to capitalize for the visitors and Sam Poulin didn’t miss for his second goal of the game and the winner with just 1:29 left.

Jan 22 – Delete Olle Lycksell (F) – Recalled to PHI
Jan 22 – Add Bobby Brink (F) – Loaned to LV by PHI
Jan 23 – Delete Cal Petersen (G) – Recalled to PHI
Jan 23 – Delete Mason Millman (D) – Reassigned by PHI to Reading from LV
Jan 23 – Delete Adam Karashik (D) – Loaned to Reading by LV
Jan 23 – Delete Jordy Bellerive (F) – Traded to San Jose (AHL)
Jan 23 – Add Parker Gahagen (G) – Recalled to LV from Reading

Bobby Brink has returned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms from the Philadelphia Flyers. He delivered in his first game back with a powerful shot to the upper-left corner from the high slot on the power play for a second-period goal. Brink also had two or three other close calls in tight and buzzing for much of the game.
Brink, 22, joined the Phantoms for the first time this season after scoring seven goals with 11 assists for 18 points in 38 games played with Philadelphia. Last year with Lehigh Valley, Brink joined the team in January following his recovery from hip surgery and played in 41 games scoring 12-16-28.
He also played 10 games with Philadelphia in 2021-22 for a combined total of 48 games in the NHL.
Brink won an NCAA title in the Frozen Four with the University of Denver in 2022 and led the nation in scoring with 14-43-57 in just 41 games with the Pioneers. The 5-foot-8 forward with a right-handed shot was a Round 2 selection (#34 overall) of the Flyers in 2019.


  • Samu Tuomaala (12-21-33) rates second among AHL rookies in points and third in assists. The talented second-rounder in 2021 leads all Eastern Conference rookies in scoring and trails only Texas Stars prospect Logan Stankoven who has 20-30-50 and paces all players in the AHL (not just rookies).
  • Tuomaala has scored 5-10-15 on the power play to rate third among AHL rookies in power-pay points and assists
  • Tuomaala has a three-game point streak (1-3-4) and also points in five of the last six games (2-4-6)
  • Olle Lycksell (16-12-28) has already eclipsed his rookie campaign mark of 14 goals scored. The Round 6 selection of the Flyers in 2017 leads the Phantoms in goals and has been recalled to the Philadelphia Flyers where he has played in nine career games including one this season. Lycksell has scored 8 goals on the power play which is second-most in the AHL.
  • The Phantoms power play scored twice in a game for the fourth time this season and accomplished the feat for the first time since December 15 against Laval
  • The Phantoms record when:
    – Score 4 or more goals: 12-0-2
    – Allow 3 or fewer goals: 13-3-3
    – Lead After 1st period: 7-1-2
    – Lead After 2nd period: 11-1-1
    – Overtime: 4-5 / Shootout: 1-1

Sixth-place Toronto (16-14-6) has certainly had its ups and downs in the North Division. The Marlies dropped a wild 7-5 decision at the Cleveland Monsters on Wednesday after previously winning three of four. But that hot stretch was right after a 7-game losing skid.
They cruised to a road sweep of the Charlotte Checkers last weekend by 5-2 and 4-1 victories. Toronto is on Game 4 of an eight-game swing through the United States that has taken them to Charlotte and Cleveland and now Allentown with future stops in Hershey, Wilkes-Barre and Utica. Former Phantom and Flyer Kieffer Bellows (16-14-30) has thrived since joining on a PTO in November and is now with the Marlies full-time on an AHL contract. Dennis Hildeby (9-7-3, 2.42, .909) is seventh in the AHL in GAA and will represent the Marlies at the AHL All-Star Classic.
Head coach John Gruden is in his first season with the Marlies and is the father of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forward Jonathan Gruden.
Assistant coach Eric Wellwood played 164 games for the Adirondack Phantoms from 2010-13 scoring 34-32-68 and also 31 games for the Flyers scoring 5-5-10 for a combined 195 games in the Flyers organization. Wellwood’s career ended prematurely via a skate slice of his Achilles’ heel in an Adirondack Phantoms game at Bridgeport in April, 2013. Wellwood is in his first season with the Marlies after he had previously been head coach of Newfoundland in the ECHL.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Cooper Marody 9-25-34
Samu Tuomaala 12-21-33
x – Olle Lycksell 16-12-28
Tanner Laczynski 8-18-26
Ronnie Attard 8-13-21

Marlies Scoring Leaders
Alex Steeves 16-18-34
Kieffer Bellows 16-14-30
Joe Blandisi 10-20-30
Logan Shaw 13-13-26
Nick Abruzzese 6-20-26

Lehigh Valley PP, 21.1% (6th) / Lehigh Valley PK 80.1% (21st)
Toronto PP 17.8% (20th) / Toronto PK 83.8% (8th)

The homestand continues on Wednesday night against the Hershey Bears with Pregame Happy Hour and $2 Draft Beer Specials. Lehigh Valley is also at home on Friday, February 2 against Hershey and Saturday, February 3 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as the Phantoms celebrate 10 Years in the Valley.

Saturday, January 27 (7:05) – Toronto at Lehigh Valley – Racing Night and Youth Winter Hats from Reilly Children’s Hospital of Lehigh Valley

Wednesday, January 31 (7:05) – Hershey at Lehigh Valley
Friday, February 2 (7:05) – Hershey at Lehigh Valley – 10th Anniversary Celebration Weekend
Saturday, February 3 (7:05) – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Lehigh Valley – 10th Anniversary Celebration Weekend