Valiant Comeback Attempt Falls Short in Hartford

Garrett Wilson finishes an assist shy of the “Gordie Howe Hat-Trick”

December 7, 2022

Hartford, CT – Garrett Wilson (5th) and Tyson Foerster (7th) both tallied in the third period to nearly erase a 3-0 deficit, but the Hartford Wolf Pack denied the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ valiant comeback attempt in a 3-2 final on Wednesday night at XL Center. Netminder Samuel Ersson turned aside 20 of 23 Hartford shots, and the Phantoms outshot the Wolf Pack in the third period by a 9-3 margin. 

Lehigh Valley (9-9-2) and Hartford (6-9-5) both went 1-for-4 on the power play. Keiffer Bellows earned a secondary assist in the third period for his second point in as many games with the Orange and Black. Garrett Wilson finished with two-thirds of the infamous “Gordie Howe Hat-Trick” with a fight in the first period, followed by his fifth goal of the season in the final stanza. 

Samuel Ersson stood tall in net for the Phantoms and made several key stops in the first period, despite Hartford scoring thrice in the opening 12 minutes. Ty Emberson opened the Wolf Pack offense only 2:58 into the contest with his second goal of the campaign on a drive from center point. Former Lehigh Valley defenseman Andy Welinski soon doubled his team’s lead to 2-0 after finishing a tic-tac-toe passing play on the game’s first power-play at 5:51. Will Cuylle potted his fifth goal of the season at 11:19 after breaking through the Phantoms defense and roofing a back-hander over Ersson poker-check attempt. Only 23 seconds after falling behind 2-0, Phantoms veteran Garrett Wilson had sparked his bench with a successful tilt and fighting major against Matt Rempe.

Ersson made 10 stops in the first period and an additional seven saves on seven Hartford shots in the middle stanza. Ersson kept the Phantoms within three goals at the second intermission thanks to an incredible, point-blank save on Wolf Pack forward Karl Henriksson in the period’s final second. Shots after 40 minutes were 20-8 Hartford.

Wilson wasted little time in the third period to begin the Phantoms’ comeback attempt. Only 16 seconds into the final stanza, Louie Belpedio set up Wilson in the high slot for a blast past Hartford goaltender Louis Domingue. Zayde Wisdom earned the secondary assist following the offensive zone faceoff win. It was the fastest goal the Phantoms have scored in any period this season.

At 11:29, Lehigh Valley converted a 4-on-3 power-play chance to suddenly cut the deficit to 3-2. Tyson Foerster unleashed a one-time shot from the left-wing circle after a perfect feed from Cam York for his seventh goal of the regular season. Foerster has tickled the twine in four of his last six games.

Kieffer Bellows almost equalized with five minutes left when he split the day and raced into the zone but his blast went off the left iron. Domingue shut the door on the Phantoms’ cage for the remainder of regulation to stymie Lehigh Valley’s strong play in the third period. That included a spectacular stop with the left pad on the backdoor with 1:15 left to deny Elliot Desnoyers on a cross-ice shot-pass effort from Tyson Foerster

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms return to action on Friday, December 9th for a 7:05 p.m. showdown against the Charlotte Checkers. It’s Berks $1 Hot Dog Night at PPL Center! Saturday against Charlotte is Phantoms Hat Night presented by Service Electric.


1st 2:58 – HFD T. Emberson (2) (K. Henriksson) 0-1
1st 5:51 – HFD A. Welinski (4) (T. Fritz, W. Cuylle) (PP) 0-2
1st 11:19 – HFD W. Cuylee (5) 0-3

3rd 0:16 – LV G. Wilson (5) (L. Belpedio, Z. Wisdom) 1-3
3rd 11:29 – LV T. Foerster (7) (C. York, K. Bellows) (PP) 2-3

LV 17 – HFD 23

LV 1/4, HFD 1/4

LV – S. Ersson (L) (6-7-1) (20/23)
HFD – L. Domingue (W) (5-4-3) (15/17)

Lehigh Valley (9-9-2)
Hartford (6-9-5)


Wednesday, December 7 (7:00) at Hartford Wolf Pack
Friday, December 9 (7:05) vs. CHARLOTTE CHECKERS
Saturday, December 10 (7:05) vs. CHARLOTTE CHECKERS

Friday, December 16 (7:05) at Providence Bruins
Saturday, December 17 (7:05) vs. PROVIDENCE BRUINS
Sunday, December 18 (5:00) at Hershey Bears

Friday, December 9 (7:05) vs. Charlotte Checkers – Berks $1 Hot Dogs!

Saturday, December 10 (7:05) vs. Charlotte Checkers – Phantoms Hat Giveaway Presented by Service Electric

Saturday, December 17 (7:05) vs. Providence Bruins – Teddy Bear Toss Presented by Big Woody’s

Saturday, December 31 (7:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – New Year’s Eve Celebration presented by Penn Community Bank. Including festivities after the game right outside the arena to ring in 2023!