Sunday, October 15 at 1:05 p.m – PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Lehigh Valley (0-1-0) vs. Belleville (1-0-0)
TODAY – It’s Opening Weekend at PPL Center as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms get right back at it and hit the ice for a 1:05 p.m. matinee against the Belleville Senators, AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators.
LAST TIME – A packed-house, sellout crowd rocked PPL Center to open the 10th season of “Phantoms in the Valley.” But the Cleveland Monsters were able to overcome Rally Towel Mania inside the Hamilton House of Bedlam to pick up a 5-2 win in downtown Allentown.
Cooper Marody scored Lehigh Valley’s first goal of the season on a second-period steal and snipe. And 20-year-old rookie Samu Tuomaala scored his first career goal in North America on a late power-play marker.
Cleveland was led by speedy talent Trey Fix-Wolansky who racked up a four-point night on two goals and two assists.
BRING ON BELLEVILLE – The B-Sens are looking to bounce back from a 31-31-10 campaign last year in which they finished dead last in the North Division. New head coach David Bell is in his first full season at the helm after taking over on an interim basis midway through last year. Mads Sogaard had a 30-save shutout on Saturday in a 3-0 win at the Hershey Bears to put Ottawa’s farm club into the W column to open the campaign.
DEBUTS – Saturday night marked the pro hockey debuts for forward Matt Brown out of Boston University and 20-year-old defenseman Ethan Samson of the Prince George Cougars in the WHL. It was also the AHL debut for Jacob Gaucher who scored 22 goals for the Reading Royals in the ECHL last season.
Samu Tuomaala played in North America for the first time in two years and scored his first pro goal on this side of the Atlantic. The Flyers second-round selection in 2021 played in two games with the Phantoms in October 2021 before returning to Finland to play professionally in his home country. Last night was just his third pro game in the AHL.
Saturday also marked the first game with the Phantoms for hulking defenseman Helge Grans. The former Round 2 selection of the Los Angeles Kings is entering his third season in the American Hocke League after playing two years for the Ontario (Cal.) Reign.
Alexis Gendron has yet to join the lineup but when he does it will be the first professional game for the 19-year-old forward who was a seventh-round selection of the Flyers in 021. Gendron cranked out 55 goals in the QMJHL last season.
ROSTER – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have 25 players on the roster to open the season. This includes 16 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders.
Last week, it was announced that high-energy winger Wade Allison was returned to the Phantoms. Other additions from Philadelphia Training Camp last week included defensemen Ronnie Attard and Adam Ginning who are both entering their second season with Lehigh Valley. Also back is center Tanner Laczysnki. Defenseman Victor Mete has almost 250 games of NHL experience with Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto and goaltender Cal Petersen is a two-time AHL All-Star with the Ontario (Cal.) Reign of the AHL and has played in 101 NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings.
BACK IN ORANGE AND BLACK – Some of the solid mainstays and leaders of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms who are returning this season include Garrett Wilson, Louie Belpedio, Adam Brooks and Cooper Marody. Two of the guys will be a smidge more difficult to identify at first as Belpedio has changed his jersey number to 7 (from 47) and Marody has changed his number to 20 (from 25).
#17 Garrett Wilson is the most experienced of the group and was named Captain of the Phantoms earlier this week.
The rugged 32-year-old winger is back for his fourth season with Lehigh Valley after racking up 18 goals and 195 penalty minutes last year.
#7 Louie Belpedio re-signed for a two-year deal with the Flyers. The Miami (Ohio) product was an alternate captain last season and scored 8-19-27 in 70 games last year.
#24 Adam Brooks began the season with an injury but upon his return and getting his game back to top speed the former Calder Cup winner with Toronto racked up 35 points in 54 games including 10 goals.
#20 Cooper Marody followed a similar timeline with injury issues holding back at the beginning of the season before he took off in the second half. Marody had a hat trick among his 15 goals and 40 points in 47 games.
UP NEXT – The Phantoms play their first road game of the season when they travel to western Massachusettes for a Friday showdown with the Springfield Thunderbirds, AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.
Sunday, October 15 (1:05) – Belleville Senators at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (OPENING WEEKEND!!)
Friday, October 20 (7:05) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Springfield Thunderbirds
Saturday, October 21 (7:05) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Hartford Wolf Pack
Sunday, October 22 (5:05) – Springfield Thunderbirds at Lehigh Valley Phantoms