Saturday, March 4, 2023 at 7:05 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (26-22-6) vs. Toronto Marlies (37-15-3)
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms will be “Puttin’ on the Foul” for tonight’s Slap Shot game against the Toronto Marlies at PPL Center. With hockey icon Dave Hanson in attendance, the Phantoms won’t be providing “any of that stinkin’ root beer.”
Lehigh Valley (26-22-6) dropped a 4-1 contest at the Syracuse Crunch on Friday to conclude a four-game road swing.
The Phantoms are in fifth place in the Atlantic Division for the season’s stretch run to the Calder Cup Playoffs. The top six teams in the Atlantic Division qualify. Toronto (37-15-3) lost on the road at Hershey 4-3 on Friday. The Marlies are in first place in the North Division with a 16-point cushion on second-place Syracuse.
There are 18 games remaining in the regular season including 12 at PPL Center.
Friday, March 3, 2023
Crunch 4 – Phantoms 1
The Phantoms were all over veteran goalie Max Lagace with a 36-shot barrage including 16 shots in the first period but could only break through for a single tally in a 4-1 loss at Syracuse on Friday. Artem Anisimov (15th) scored for a second consecutive game to get the Phantoms but by the time he scored in the third period, Lehigh Valley was down 4-0. Felix Robert scored twice to lead the Crunch attack. The Phantoms came out buzzing right from the jump but Lagace made some terrific denials including backdoor left pad saves on Elliot Desnoyers and Cooper Marody.
DESI AND OLLE RETURN
Elliott Desnoyers and Olle Lycksell have returned to the Phantoms following stays with the Philadelphia Flyers. Desnoyers leads the Phantoms in goals (19) and points (37) and played in his first two career games in the NHL last week. Lycksell has been a point-per-game performer with the Phantoms this season scoring 9-25-34 in 34 games played. He has also played in eight games with Philadelphia and recorded his first NHL assist and point on February 2 in Edmonton. Before yesterday at Syracuse, Lycksell’s last game with Lehigh Valley was February 10 at Hartford in which he scored a goal.
DESTROYER ON A FEBRUARY TEAR
Elliot “The Destroyer” Desnoyers has been named AHL Rookie of the Month for February. The rookie center racked up 5-9-14 in just eight games played with the Phantoms while also making his NHL debut with the Flyers. He also recorded five multi-point games including a career-high four-point game on February 19 against Hartford as well as his first career two-goal game on February 11 against Bridgeport. Desnoyers becomes the third player for Lehigh Valley and the seventh in franchise history to win AHL Rookie of the Month.
Phantoms to win AHL Rookie of the Month
February 2023 – Elliot Desnoyers
October 2017 – Mike Vecchione
January 2016 – Cole Bardreau
December 2008 – Claude Giroux
November 2004 – R.J. Umberger
November 2001 – Maxime Ouellet
November 1998 – Jean-Marc Pelletier
WELCOME BACK, ERS
Goaltender Sam Ersson has returned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms following another stretch with Philadelphia. “Ers” was especially strong for the Phantoms in February going 4-0-0, 1.50, .939 from February 4-26. Ersson is 6-1-0, 3.07, .898 with the Flyers this season after becoming just the eighth goalie in NHL history to begin 6-0-0. His stats took a hit after the team’s 7-0 loss against New Jersey on Saturday. With the Phantoms this year, the 23-year-old from Falun, Sweden has gone 16-11-1, 2.63, .907.
Ersson’s first recall in December and January included his first NHL win on December 31, 2022 at the Los Angeles Kings and also his first NHL shutout on January 9, 2023 at Buffalo. Since returning to the Phantoms from January 20 through February 13, Ersson went 6-2-0, 2.27, .915.
WILLIE GETS ROCKING
Garrett Wilson became the fifth Phantom to reach 10 goals this season with his tying tally in the third period on Sunday at Bridgeport. The 31-year-old alternate captain had a five-game point streak come to an end on Friday. During his streak, Wilson scored five goals with four assists for nine points in his torrid stretch. “Willie” notched his second career hat trick and the team’s first in almost two seasons on February 20 and has shown no signs of slowing down since then. The veteran leader brings experience and physicality to the Phantoms with 734 career pro games and 346 points, including 84 games in the NHL.
ABOUT THE MARLIES
Toronto (37-15-3) is the top team in the Eastern Conference but has a bit of a new look following some trade deadline deals. Gone are Adam Gaudette, Mikhail Abramov and Dryden Hunt…all dealt away. Toronto put together a late rally that fell short in a 4-3 loss at Hershey last night. Greg Moore’s contingent is led by 30-year-old veteran Logan Shaw (17-40-57), who has 232 games of experience in the NHL, and second-year pro Alex Steeves (17-25-42). Rookie Nick Abruzzese (15-24-39) out of Harvard has had a strong season as well. Boston College product and third-rounder Joseph Woll (14-1-0, 2.32, .931) has been phenomenal in net, when available. But Woll is again up with the Maple Leafs and unavailable. Toronto’s power play is clicking at 25.1%, tops in the AHL. The Marlies took the previous encounter in a shootout on January 6 by a 5-4 decision with Artem Anisimov scoring twice for the Lehigh Valley with Erik Kallgren making a number of strong stops to outduel Felix Sandstrom.
Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Elliot Desnoyers 19-18-37
Tyson Foerster 18-19-37
Olle Lycksell 9-25-34
Garrett Wilson 10-17-27
Artem Anisimov 15-11-26
Ronnie Attard 8-16-24
Marlies Scoring Leaders
Logan Shaw 17-40-57
Alex Steeves 17-25-42
Nick Abruzzese 15-24-39
x Adam Gaudette 20-14-34
Joe Blandisi 11-22-33
Phantoms Tickets are available HERE
Lehigh Valley Power Play – 22.0%, 8th
Lehigh Valley Penalty Kill – 73.2%, 32nd
Toronto Power Play – 25.1%, 1st
Toronto Penalty Kill – 81.5%, 14th
The Phantoms return to PPL Center on Saturday night taking on the Toronto Marlies and then will host the Providence Bruins on Sunday at 4:05 p.m.
Phantoms Tickets are available HERE
Friday, March 3 (7:00) at Syracuse Crunch
Saturday, March 4 (7:05) vs. TORONTO MARLIES
Sunday, March 5 (4:05) vs. PROVIDENCE BRUINS
Friday, March 10 (7:00) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Saturday, March 11 (7:05) vs. BELLEVILLE SENATORS
Sunday, March 12 (4:05) vs. UTICA COMETS
Saturday, March 4 (7:05) vs. Toronto Marlies – Slap Shot Night with Dave Hanson!
Sunday, March 5 (4:05) vs. Providence Bruins – Team Poster Giveaway and Postgame Autographs
Saturday, March 11 (7:05) vs. Belleville Senators – Hockey Fiesta Weekend and Saturday Night Hockey Live
Sunday, March 12 (4:05) vs. Utica Comets – meLVin Youth Jersey Day (first 2,000 kids age 14 and younger) and Hockey Fiesta Weekend
Wednesday, March 15 (7:05) vs. Hershey Bears – Truist Night. Chamber of Commerce Night. $2 Pregame Happy Hour Beers
Friday, March 17 (7:05) vs. Hershey Bears – St. Patrick’s Day! Whiteout Night. $1 Hot Dogs
Sunday, March 19 (4:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Prospect Pack Trading Card Sets for First 5,000 Fans
Broadcast coverage of all Phantoms games with Bob Rotruck is available on the Phantoms 365 app and on Real Oldies 1470-AM in Allentown. Also available on the Listen Live button at phantomshockey.com
Fans can also watch the games on AHLTV.com or can listen on their Smart Speakers at: “Play Phantoms Radio 24/7.”
Service Electric Network again provides exclusive television coverage of all Phantoms home games with veteran announcer Steve Degler and Phantoms’ alum Steven Swavely on the call from the booth. Kristi Fulkerson reports from ice level and also from the Chickie’s and Pete’s studio with Dan Fremuth for pregame, intermission and postgame show analysis.