Wild Win Over Rochester

Gendron and Laczynski Two Goals Each

November 25, 2023

Allentown, PA – Perhaps it was fitting that the youngest player on the team would lead the comeback in an old-school style shootout of a game at PPL Center. 19-year-old Alexis Gendron (4th, 5th) scored twice, including the winner with just 8:08 left, and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms raced past the Rochester Americans 5-4 on Saturday night. Flyers Night at PPL Center felt a bit like a 1980s style Philadelphia game with the high-paced style. And the addition of Flyers’ P.A. Voice Lou Nolan at the mic certainly didn’t hurt the vibe.

Reigning AHL Player of the Week Tanner Laczynski (5th, 6th) also struck twice while 20-year-old rookie Samu Tuomaala (4th) recorded his third three-point effort of the season with one goal and two assists.

Gendron racked up 55 goals in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season as he had a career year in the circuit known for some high-scoring affairs. The Flyers seventh-round selection in 2022 may have also felt a little bit like he was back in “The Q” in this one. And fellow young talent, Samu Tuomaala, racked up two more assists to move to take the AHL lead for most helpers by a rookie. The sensational prospect now boasts 13 assists which is tied with Brandt Clarke of the Ontario (Cal.) Reign.

The youngster Gendron had been out of the lineup the last two games. One of the youngest players in the entire league has been acclimating to the pace and also heaviness of the American Hockey League style in his first weeks as a pro. His return to the lineup was a confidence-builder.

“Yeah, this game felt really good,” Gendron said. “To be honest, I’m just trying to prove that I can play at this level. For myself, I know I can play at this level, so I’m just trying to prove myself to everyone.”

The Phantoms also celebrated its 2-millionth fan at PPL Center since the team arrived in Allentown in 2014. The father-son duo of Brian and Jacob Martel were showered with confetti and then were showered with presents including a custom jersey as well as tickets and a Phantoms Premier membership for the rest of the season.

The see-saw result also had Lehigh Valley (9-6-3) extend its point-streak to six games (5-0-1) as they outshot the Amerks by a massive 49-15 margin. While the offensive totals were nice, and fun to watch, it might have been the clamp-down D that was more impressive and also just as important if not moreso. Hanging on to a one-goal lead in the final minutes, Lehigh Valley mostly had Rochester pinned in its own zone unable to dig the puck away or win a board battle. The Phantoms kept the Amerks hemmed in while precious time ticked away for Rochester to get their desperately needed equalizer.

But even with the huge shot disparity, the Phantoms found themselves down 4-3 early in the third period when Tyson Kozak scored on the power play with 17:08 remaining. But the Phantoms kept coming and got a power-play goal from Laczynski on a back-door slam from the left circle to tie the game at 4-4 with 12:56 left before Gendron would rifle one home from just inside the right dot for his second of the night with 8:08 to go for the eventual game-winner.

Lehigh Valley dominated from the outset but former Phantom and AHL veteran goalie Dustin Tokarski was on top of his game with 19 mostly sensational and sometimes acrobatic saves in the Rochester crease. It felt a bit like deja vu for the Phantoms who poured on 42 shots against Providence netminder Brandon Bussi the night before only to drop a 2-1 overtime decision.

Lukas Rousek scored on the power play from the left circle for Rochester with 4:22 left in the first for the lone tally of the opening period. His drive from the left circle came after Penn State product blasted a drive off the crossbar.

Cue a wild second period that saw five combined goals in a see-saw frame.

The now highest-scoring second-period team in the AHL (with 24 goals) got it going less than two minutes into the frame with Elliot Desnoyers faking a wrap-around from behind the goal and instead connecting with Gendron on the other side of the crease for a 1-1 tie.

The Phantoms took the lead with 10:47 left in the second period on the team’s first of three power-play goals in the game. Samu Tuomaala rifled a one-timer from the high slot to the upper left corner on a set up from Cooper Marody and Olle Lycksell to make the score 2-1.

But the lead was shortlived as the Amerks would equalize just 29 seconds later with Damien Giroux (2nd) scoring on the rush up the left wing sneaking through a shot on the short-side past the stick of Felix Sandstrom.

The Phantoms surged back bare more than two minutes later when a pass would turn into a deflected bouncing puck just outside the left side of the crease with Laczynski right there to bury his first of the night with 8:11 left in the second period for a 3-2 lead.

Rochester (10-5-2) would equalize again on another power-play tally, this time from Brandon Biro in the left circle who forged a 3-3 tie.

Kozak’s goal early in the third period made it 4-3 but the Phantoms continued to show the patience, perseverance and determination that have been hallmarks of Ian Laperriere’s crew this season.

Lycksell’s effort to connect with Tuomaala in the slot was blocked away but fortuitously bounced to a wide-open Laczynski in the left circle who was dead-center on his drive into the open net with 12:56 left for his second of teh game and a 4-4 tie.

Lehigh Valley dug a puck away in the corner with Wade Allison and Garrett Wilson going to work and then Ronnie Attard quickly connecting from the left corner all the way across to an open Gendron inside the right dot with a perfect blast into the goal.

Rochester was hoping for another push into the Phantoms’ end but had a hard time achieving it. They were stuck on their own side thanks to the tenacious work along the boards of the Lehigh Valley skaters. Rochester just couldn’t get the puck away and the team was stuck. The Americans were limited to just three shots in the third period as well as 15 shots in the game.

The Phantoms had a season-high 49 shots and also had a season-high three power-play goals. Lehigh Valey also set a new season standard by limiting the opponent to just 15 shots.

The Phantoms have a streak of six consecutive games with a power-play goal over their six-game point streak. Lehigh Valley is 9-for-18 (50.0%) in the hot stretch and has moved all the way up to second in the AHL in power-play success for the entire season at 25.8% barely trailing the Texas Stars who are at 26.2%.

Lehigh Valley is now off for almost a week before returning to action next Friday at the Hartford Wolf Pack to kick off a three-game swing through New England.

The Phantoms return to PPL Center on Friday, December 8 against the Providence Bruins in the kick-off of a five-game homestand which also includes the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss Night on Saturday, December 9 when Lehigh Valley hosts the Charlotte Checkers.


1st 15:38 – ROC, L. Rousek (3) (B. Biro, K. Clague) (PP) (0-1)

2nd 1:43 – LV, A. Gendron (3) (E. Desnoyers) (1-1)
2nd 9:13 – LV, S. Tuomaala (4) (C. Marody, O. Lycksell) (PP) (2-1)
2nd 9:42 – ROC, D. Giroux (2) (V. Neuchev, N. Noviokov) (2-2)
2nd 11:49 – LV, T. Laczynski (5) (S. Tuomaala, E. Andrae) (3-2)
2nd 15:56 – ROC, B. Biro (6) (M. Jobst, L. Weissbach) (PP) (3-3)

3rd 2:52 – ROC, T. Kozak (1) (J. Davies, J. Richards) (3-4)
3rd 7:04 – LV, T. Laczynski (6) (S. Tuomaala, O. Lycksell) (PP) (4-4)
3rd 11:52 – LV, A. Gendron (4) (R. Attard, W. Allison) (PP) (5-4)

LV 49 – ROC 15

LV 3/5, ROC 2/4

LV, F. Sandstrom (W) (11/15) (1-0-1)
ROC, D. Tokarski (L) (44/49) (4-2-1)

Lehigh Valley (9-6-3)
Rochester (10-5-2)


Friday, December 1 (7:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Hartford Wolf Pack
Saturday, December 2 (7:00 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Hartford Wolf Pack
Sunday, December 3 (3:05 p.m.) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Providence Bruins

Friday, December 8 (7:05 p.m.) – Providence Bruins at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, December 9 (7:05 p.m.) – Charlotte Checkers at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Teddy Bear Toss presented by Big Woody’s!