Slam Dunk! Attard Knocks Home OT Winner

Tuomaala Ties Game in 3rd for Comeback Win

December 13, 2023

Allentown, PA – Cooper Marody’s third assist of the game was his best of the night. He came off the bench to steal the puck in overtime, rushed into the Charlotte zone and drove deep behind the net, then held off the defense to maintain possession before rotating back up high and eventually connecting with a rushing Ronnie Attard who knocked in the game-winner on Wednesday night for the Phantoms to defeat the Charlotte Checkers 3-2 at PPL Center.

“Coop’s a special player,” Attard said. “Very good at making plays and baiting defensemen like that. Just being on the ice with him all summer and playing a bunch of small-area games I kind of had an idea when I looked at him what he was doing. He made it easy on me. Just go to the net, put your stick down, and he put it right there for me.”

Lehigh Valley (11-9-4) was in position to pick up its second straight victory against the Checkers thanks to Samu Tuomaala’s (6th) blast from the left circle on the power play that tied the game with just 4:09 remaining.

It was the second overtime win of the season for the Phantoms and the second career overtime goal for Attard who beat the Belleville Senators last season on March 12, 2023. Tuomaala had the team’s other overtime goal this year on November 3 against Hartford.

The Phantoms got the scoring started early with Emil Andrae (2nd) launching a rocket from the left point just 58 seconds into the game that beat Spencer Knight past his shoulder thanks in part to a net-front screen by Garrett Wilson.

Lehigh Valley’s early advantage wouldn’t last long. Just nine seconds later, Charlotte (12-10-1) answered with first-rounder Mackie Samoskeivch pouncing on a turnover in the Phantoms end to bury his sixth of the year.

Charlotte took its first lead of the night at 1:03 into the second period when Justin Sourdif (3rd) scored on the rush up the wing to beat Sandstrom past his shoulder on a 2-on-1.

The power play has been clicking all season long. And the third-best man-advantage unit in the league came through in the clutch with some snappy passing on the set up for the tying tally. Laczynski connected with Marody on the right boards who found Andrae at the right point who quickly offered a pass into Tuomaala’s wheelhouse for the big blast. His shot might have gone off a Charlotte stick before finding the upper-right corner.

Tuomaala’s goal combined with Marody’s three-assist performance moved both players into a tie for the team-lead in scoring with 20 points each. Tuomaala is also tied for third among AHL rookies in scoring and the 20-year-old rookie has scored 4-5-9 on the power play.

Lehigh Valley had to kill a Charlotte power play in the closing minutes shortly after the Phantoms had tied the game. The Phantoms held the Checkers to 0-for-5 on the power play while going 1-for-3 on their own man-advantage.

“Special teams are huge,” head coach Ian Laperriere said. “We won the game tonight because of special teams. The losing streak, we lost because of our special teams. There’s no secret. You have to have a good power play and you have to have a good P.K. Our PP has been great all year.:

Adam Brooks returned to the lineup for just his second game of the season. The 27-year-old forward missed almost two months due to injury since his only previous game on October 15.

The Phantoms return to action on Friday and Saturday with two more games on the homestand. Friday night it’s the Laval Rocket, AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. Saturday is Hockey Fiesta Night featuring the return of “Los Fantasmas” with the Springfield Thunderbirds providing the opposition.

1st 0:58 – LV, E. Andrae (2) (A. Karashik, C. Marody) (1-0)
1st 1:07 – CLT, M. Samoskevich (6) (Unassisted) (1-1)

2nd 1:03 – CLT, J.  Sourdif (3) (M. Benning) (1-2)

3rd 15:51 – LV, S. Tuomaala (6) (E. Andrae, C. Marody) (PP) (2-2)

OT 2:23 – LV, R. Attard (5) (C. Marody) (3-2)

LV 27 – CLT 25

LV 1/3, CLT 0/5

LV – F. Sandstrom (W) (23/25) (2-1-2)
CLT – S. Knight (OTL) (24/27) (7-4-1)

Lehigh Valley (11-9-4)
Charlotte (12-10-1)

Friday, December 15 (7:05) – Laval Rocket at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
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