PREVIEW: Phantoms vs. T-Birds, Game #59

Wednesday, March 20, 7:05 p.m.
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Lehigh Valley (26-24-8) at Springfield Thunderbirds (27-27-5)

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (26-24-8) open a three-game homestand taking on the Springfield Thunderbirds in a critical contest with playoff implications.
The Phantoms have taken sole possession of the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division but hold a slim one-point margin over Springfield with 14 games to play.
Lehigh Valley went 3-1-1 on its recent five-game road trip and has points in five of the last seven games going 4-2-1.
The AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues snapped out of a recent losing slide with a 6-4 win at Charlotte on Sunday to stay within striking distance of the Phantoms. Lehigh Valley is 2-2-1 against Springfield entering the last game of the season series.
Tonight is the 59th game of the season. There are just 14 games remaining.

It was a day for the record books in a 5-2 win at the Providence Bruins on Saturday night. Olle Lycksell tied a franchise record with four assists in a game and Adam Brooks tied a Lehigh Valley record with his five-point performance on two goals and three assists. Tanner Laczynski became the first-ever Lehigh Valley player to record two hat tricks on the road as Lehigh Valley rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to post an impressive 5-2 win. The Lycksell-Laczynski-Brooks line dominated throughout the night and accounted for all five Lehigh Valley goals.

– Forward Olle Lycksell and defenseman Adam Ginning have been recalled to the Philadelphia Flyers.
– Defensemen Darren Brady and Mason Millman have joined the Phantoms from the Reading Royals.
– Lehigh Valley has added new players on PTO’s who have also signed one-year AHL deals with the Phantoms for the 2024-25 season: Jacques Bouquot played this season at Penn State and Tyler Gratton of Pottstown previously played four years at Penn State before joining Arizona State in his fifth-year transfer season

Olle Lycksell became just the second Lehigh Valley player to record four assists in a game. Phil Varone also had a four-helper night on November 4, 2017 against the Binghamton Devils. He also tied a Phantoms franchise record on his big night.
Adam Brooks wrapped up a seven-point weekend with a monster five-point game at Providence, just the second five-point performance in Lehigh Valley history and one off the franchise record set by Mike Maneluk in 2000 with the Philadelphia Phantoms. The only other five-point game with Lehigh Valley was Colin McDonald’s performance on January 27, 2016 for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms against the Binghamton Senators that included a hat trick with two assists.
Tanner Laczynski secured his second career hat trick in Saturday’s win at Providence, His first hattie was on March 24, 2021 at the Binghamton Devils (in Newark, NJ). Laczynski is the fourth player in Lehigh Valley history with a pair of hat tricks and the first to record two hat tricks on the road. Others with two career hat tricks for Lehigh Valley include Nick Cousins, Danick Martel (3) and Garrett Wilson.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have pushed ahead of the Springfield Thunderbirds for the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division with just 14 games remaining. Lehigh Valley has points in five of its last seven games (4-2-1) and currently stands one point ahead of the Thunderbirds. The Phantoms host Springfield in a pivotal showdown on Wednesday night.
The top six teams in the Atlantic qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs. The first round is a Best of 3 series and right now would see the Phantoms take on the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 6 vs. 3 matchup in late April.
Lehigh Valley’s second-round matchup would be against first-place Hershey in a Best of 5 series.

The Phantoms record when:
– Score 4 or more goals: 18-0-2
– Allow 3 or fewer goals: 18-6-3
– Lead After 1st period: 7-1-2
– Lead After 2nd period: 13-2-1
– One-Goal Games: 18-6-8
– Overtime: 6-5 / Shootout: 4-3

Springfield (27-27-5) had fallen off the pace dropping seven out of nine before a bounce-back 6-4 win at the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday to stay within striking distance of the Phantoms for the last playoff spot. Lehigh Valley is 2-2-1 against the T-Birds but Springfield won the last meeting 4-2 on December 16 at PPL Center.
Adam Gaudette is tied for the AHL lead with 36 goals for a T-Birds team that rates ninth in the AHL at 3.17 goals per game. The loss of captain Matthew Peca (12-29-41) to injury has been especially impactful. Former Hershey Bears standout and Washington first-rounder Jakub Vrana (10-13-23) has done well in his 29 games since arriving from St. Louis in December. Veteran goaltender Malcolm Subban exited for Cleveland after he was traded at the deadline. Head coach Drew Bannister left on December 12 to take over as interim head coach of St. Louis and Daniel Tkaczuk has been in the interim head coach role with the AHL team since then. Vadim Zherenko (11-9-2, 3.12, .912) has taken the reigns as the team’s #1.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Cooper Marody 15-32-47
Samu Tuomaala 14-26-40
x – Olle Lycksell 19-19-38
Tanner Laczynski 12-19-31
Emil Andrae 4-26-30
x – Ronnie Attard 10-15-25

Adam Gaudette 36-20-56
Matthew Peca 12-29-41
Dylan Coghlan 16-24-40
Joseph Duszak 7-23-30
Nathan Walker 13-16-29

Lehigh Valley PP, 20.1% (9th)  – Lehigh Valley PK 81.1% (20th) – Series PP vs. SPR 4/20 (20.0%)
Springfield PP 17.0% (25th) – Springfield PK 81.0% (22nd) – Series PP vs. LV 4/28 (14.3%)

Oct 20 – Win – Lehigh Valley 5 at Springfield 2
Oct 22 – Win – Springfield 2 at Lehigh Valley 3
Nov 4 – OTL – Lehigh Valley 2 at Springfield 3 (OT)
Nov 8 – Loss – Lehigh Valley 2 at Springfield 4
Dec 16 – Loss – Springfield 4 at Lehigh Valley 2
Mar 20 – Springfield at Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley
x – Olle Lycksell 4-1-5
Cooper Marody 2-3-5
Samu Tuomaala 0-5-5
Cal Petersen 1-0-0, 2.01, .939

Adam Gaudette 6-2-8
Dylan Coghlan 4-2-6
Matthew Peca 0-5-5
Vadim Zherenko 1-0-0, 2.00, .944

The Phantoms homestand continues Saturday night against the Bridgeport Islanders and Sunday afternoon at 3:05 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE


Wednesday, March 20 (7:05) vs. Springfield Thunderbirds – Joe Watson Book Signing / $1 Pretzels

Saturday, March 23 (7:05) vs. Bridgeport Islanders – Margaritaville Night

Sunday, March 24 (3:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Kids Takeover Day / Postgame Autographs Presented by NJM Insurance

Friday, March 29 (7:00) at Syracuse Crunch
Saturday, March 30 (6:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Tuesday, April 2 (7:00) at Hershey Bears