Rocket Rally to Stun Phantoms

Allison, Andrae, Tuomaala Strike for Lehigh Valley

December 15, 2023

Allentown, PA – Sometimes being the better team and playing the better game is not enough. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms outshot the visiting Laval Rocket 45-24, including 16-4 in the third period, but Laval struck twice in the final frame for a 4-3 decision at PPL Center on Friday night. Riley Kidney (6th) scored the game-winner on the power play with just 1:07 left in a period that featured several dazzlers from Rocket goaltender Jakub Dobes among his 42 total saves.

Emil Andrae (3rd) and Samu Tuomaala (7th) both scored for a second consecutive game while Wade Allison (5th) found the back of the net for a second time in the last three games.  Cooper Marody had two more assists and now has five helpers in the last two games having registered an assist on five of the six total goals the Phantoms have scored on Wednesday and Friday.

Allison came extremely close to having more than just the single goal. He also blasted a shot off the post in the third period and had several other strong chances at Dobes in a performance that could have been hat-trick caliber against a different goaltender or on a different night.

It was the third time this season for the Phantoms to break the 40-shot mark. The game also marked the first time for Lehigh Valley to lose a contest after holding the lead at the second intermission. The Phantoms previously boasted a 9-0-0 mark when leading after 40 minutes.

Lehigh Valley (11-10-4) opened the scoring just 3:06 into the contest with Tuomaala’s blast from the top of the left circle from almost the exact same location where he scored the tying tally with 4:09 left in the third period in the previous game against Charlotte on Wednesday. The 20-year-old rookie is heating up now and is tied with Cooper Marody for the team lead with 21 points which also places him third among AHL rookies. Tuomaala’s goal was assisted by Andrae and Marody.

The Phantoms largely dominated play in the first period but only had the 1-0 advantage to show for it. However, they wasted no time doubling their advantage to open the second frame. Allison zipped up the right wing and picked a corner past Dobes just 13 seconds in for the fastest goal in a period for the Phantoms this season. His goal, assisted by Garrett Wilson and Ronnie Attard, put the Phantoms ahead at 2-0.

Lehigh Valley appeared to be on the verge of extending its lead to 3-0. The Phantoms were buzzing and generating all kinds of strong chances. But Dobes made one highlight-reel stop after another. After Laval took a penalty it felt like the Phantoms, and their best-in-the-league power play (24.5%), were as ready as ever to push away the Rocket. But a turnover at exactly the wrong time gave a down-and-out Laval team some life as Brandon Gignac (8th) picked off a puck and raced in for a breakaway goal to get Laval on the board at 10:05 into the second period. It was only the third shorthanded goal surrendered by the Phantoms all season.

Just 66 seconds later, another mistake. Joshua Roy connected with Lucas Condotta on another breakaway conversion and suddenly the game was back to even at 2-2.

The Phantoms re-took the lead at 16:35 into the second period on a drive from the high slot by Andrae who took two series up from center-point and found the opening to beat Dobes on a goal assisted by Marody and Tuomaala who dug the puck away along the right boards.

Laval (7-12-5) was down 3-2 at the second intermission but showed they were not out. Despite one phenomenal chance after another, it was Dobes who was the attention grabber with even more incredible stops. Tuomaala on the rush from Adam Brooks, Wade Allison off the post, and others were all close calls but somehow not good enough.

Jan Mysak (4th) scored out in front after the Rocket retrieved the puck in deep to set up the tying strike at 3-3 at 7:14 into the third period.

The Phantoms still carried the play even after that and were flat-out dominating the third but just one push from Laval was enough to draw a penalty in the neutral zone with 2:14 left and get a pivotal power play in the closing minutes.

Garrett Wilson came out to block a shot but the rebound was quickly thrown back on net by Riley Kidney through a screened Cal Petersen with just 1:07 remaining for the game-winner.

The Phantoms had more strong chances in the final minute at 6-on-5 but Dobes and the Laval defense did it again.

All the numbers appeared to favor the Phantoms in this game that they largely dominated. Lehigh Valley led after two periods, scored the first goal, and outshot the opponent.

Lehigh Valley is now 9-1-0 when leading after two periods having taken its first loss of the year when holding the advantage after 40 minutes. The Phantoms also lost a rare game in which they scored the first goal with their record moving to 7-2-3 when providing the initial strike. Lehigh Valley is now also 8-3-2 when out-shooting the opponent.

The Phantoms conclude their five-game homestand on Saturday night against the Springfield Thunderbirds, AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. Saturday features the return of “Los Fantasmas” on Hockey Fiesta Night featuring specialty jerseys and combined English and Spanish presentation through the game.


1st 3:08 – LV, S. Tuomaala (7) (E. Andrae, C. Marody) (PP) (1-0)

2nd 0:13 – LV, W. Allison (5) (G. Wilson, R. Attard) (2-0)
2nd 10:05 – LAV, B. Gignac (8) (Unassisted) (SH) (2-1)
2nd 11:11 – LAV, L. Condotta (4) (J. Roy) (2-2)
2nd 16:35 – LV, E. Andrae (3) (C. Marody, S. Tuomaala) (PP) (3-2)

3rd 7:14 – LAV, J. Mysak (4) (A. Voyer, N. Yaremko) (3-3)
3rd 18:53 – LAV, R. Kidney (6) (A. Xhekaj, G. Bourque) (PP) (3-4)

LV 45 – LAV 24

LV 2/6, LAV 1/4

LV, C. Petersen (L) (4-6-1) (20/24)
LAV, J. Dobes (W) (5-5-3) (42/45)

Lehigh Valley (11-10-4)
Laval (7-12-5)



Saturday, December 16 (7:05) – Springfield Thunderbirds at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Hockey Fiesta – Los Fantasmas!!

Thursday, December 21 (7:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Charlotte Checkers
Friday, December 22 (6:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Charlotte Checkers

Wednesday, December 27 (7:05) – Utica Comets at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Pregame $2 Beers
Saturday, December 30 (7:05) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Phantoms Knit Caps
Sunday, December 31 (7:05) – Charlotte Checkers at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – World’s Largest Puck Drop!