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GAME DAY!!

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It’s a Phantoms Game Day presented by MassMutual.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms continue the opening weekend of the regular season with a 3:00 game at rival Hershey against the Bears.

Satruday in Wilkes-Barre, Tyson Foerster scored the first goal of the season for the Phantoms but the Penguins broke a 1-1 tie early in the third period on a goal by Niklas Almari for a 2-1 win. Filip Lindberg was tremendous in his pro debut stopping 30 of 31 Phantoms’ shots. Felix Sandstrom was solid for Lehigh Valley with 21 denials on 23 shots face. The Phantoms went 1-for-5 on the power but generated several grade-A chances. The Penguins penalty kill and goalie Lindberg were able to hang on.

Hershey won its season opener on Saturday pulling away in the third period for a 5-2 decision over the Charlotte Checkers at Giant Center. Mike Sgarbossa (1-2-3) and Garrett Pilon (1-2-3) both posted three-point nights. Hershey out shot the Checkers 34-15 including a dominating 26-4 margin in the last two periods. Pheonix Copley was as good as he needed to be for the Bears with 13 saves on 15 shots.

 

— Ian Laperriere is the 11th head coach in Phantoms franchise history following eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers. Laperriere played in 1,083 career NHL games mostly with Colorado and Los Angeles before eventually ending his career with a single season playing for the Flyers.

Cal O’Reilly is back as the captain of the Phantoms. The 35-year-old center is the active leading scoring in the American Hockey League and last season became just the 10th player to reach 500 assists in the American Hockey League.

Felix Sandstrom and Sam Ersson will share goaltending duties to open the season. Sandstrom is back for his second year with the Phantoms. While fellow Swede Ersson is a 21-year-rookie to hockey in North America following stellar work in the SHL last year.

The Phantoms feature several high-end prospects and exciting young players on the roster. First rounders Morgan Frost, Tyson Foerster and Cam York are among that group while 18-year-old Samu Tuomaala has dazzled with his speed in the preseason.

And congratulations to Max Willman on his first NHL game yesterday! He becomes the 32nd prospect in Lehigh Valley history to receive a recall for an NHL debut with the Flyers. Last year’s group of Phantoms players who made their NHL debut included Maksim Sushko, Tanner Laczynski, Wade Allison, Egor Zamula and Cam York.

— The Bears had the top record in the AHL last season at 24-7-2. They were 14-1-2 on their home ice but all three of those losses were dealt by the Phantoms who went 6-5-0 against Hershey overall.

Hershey is led by new head coach Scott Allen who had been an assistant with the Bears for two seasons. Former Hershey head coach Spencer Carbery accepted a position as assistant coach in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Popular Phantoms alum Mike Vecchione is in his debut season as a member of the Bears. 37-year-old captain Matt Moulson has 650 NHL games under his belt including three consecutive 30+ goal seasons with the New York Islanders a decade ago.

— Welcome to the beginning of the 25th Anniversary of Phantoms hockey in the American Hockey League! The team began as the Philadelphia Phantoms in 1996.

The 2021-2022 regular season at PPL Center will kick off with “Opening Weekend” October 22-24 beginning with the U.S. Women’s National Team taking on Canada on Friday, October 22 in the “My Why” tour followed by the first Phantoms’ home games of the season against the Hartford Wolf Pack on October 23 featuring a Rally Towel Giveaway following but a Sunday afternoon clash at 3:05 p.m. against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on October 24.

Opening Weekend Tickets Click HERE!

The post GAME DAY!! appeared first on Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

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