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PREVIEW: Phantoms at Penguins, Game #64

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Saturday, March 30, 7:05 p.m.
Mohegan Sun Arena, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Lehigh Valley (28-26-8) at W-B/Scranton (32-22-9)

TONIGHT
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (28-26-8) continue their road trip with a Saturday evening rivalry clash at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Phantoms occupy the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division and hold a one-point lead over the Springfield Thunderbirds with just 10 games remaining while Lehigh Valley also has one game-in-hand.
The Penguins have slipped to fourth place in the Atlantic but have a Magic Number of just eight points to clinch a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
This is Game out of 12 between the Phantoms and Penguins this season. Lehigh Valley is 4-5-0 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton including 3-1-0 in northeast Pennsylvania.
Tonight is the 63rd game of the season. There are just 10 games remaining in the regular season
Lehigh Valley’s Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot is at 18 points which is determined by the points acquired by the Phantoms as well as points missed or not acquired by Springfield.

LAST TIME
Cooper Marody struck for his second hat trick as a Phantom and Adam Brooks extended his goal streak to five straight as the Phantoms raced out to an early 3-0 lead before holding on at the end for a 6-4 victory at the North Division first-place Syracuse Crunch on Friday night.
Jacob Gaucher and Adam Brooks got the scoring started with consecutive shorthanded goals in the first. Brendan Furry also registered a goal amidst the trifecta for Marody who sealed the win with an empty-netter in the closing seconds.

PLAYOFF FEVER
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have pushed ahead of the Springfield Thunderbirds for the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division with just 10 games remaining.
Lehigh Valley’s Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot is at 18 points.
The top six teams in the Atlantic qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs. The first round is a Best of 3 series and right now would see the Phantoms take on the Charlotte Checkers in a 6 vs. 3 matchup in late April. Lehigh Valley’s second-round matchup would be against first-place Hershey in a Best of 5 series.
Springfield stayed within one point of the Phantoms last night via a 6-2 trouncing of the Hartford Wolf Pack but that game also helped the Phantoms in a different way as Lehigh Valley pulled to within five points of fifth-place Hartford and with one game-in-hand. The Thunderbirds play at the Utica Comets today at 5:05.

WELCOME BACK, FELIX
Goaltender Felix Sandström has returned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms from the Philadelphia Flyers and goaltender Parker Gahagen has been loaned to the Reading Royals of the ECHL.
Sandström has played in 20 games with the Phantoms this season going 11-6-2, 3.23, .882. He has also appeared in five games with Philadelphia this year going 1-2-0, 3.87, .823.
Gahagen has played in 18 games with the Phantoms this season going 7-8-3, 2.59, .914 while also appearing in 10 games with Reading where he is 7-3-0, 2.20, .905.

SUPER COOPER
Cooper Marody became just the fifth Lehigh Valley player to record multiple hat tricks with the team joining Tanner Laczynski, Garrett Wilson, Danick Martel and Nick Cousins. Marody is also only the second player in Lehigh Valley history to notch a trifecta in consecutive seasons joining Danick Martel.
Marody also had a hat trick barely over a year ago on March 11, 2023 against the Belleville Senators.
The Phantoms have three hat tricks this season and all three have come on the road:
Olle Lycksell on October 20 at Springfield, Tanner Laczynski on March 16 at Providence, Cooper Marody on March 29 at Syracuse.

BROOKS IS COOKING
Adam Brooks is on a five-game goal streak and six-game point streak having scored 6-6-12 in his stretch since March 15. Both streaks are the longest of his career and his goal streak is the longest for any Phantoms player this season. The 27-year-old from Winnipeg is now just one away from the Lehigh Valley record six-game goal streak set by Danick Martel in the 2017-18 season. The franchise record is a seven-game goal streak by Mike Maneluk of the Philadelphia Phantoms in 1999-2000.

PRO DEBUTS
Newly signed forwards Jacques Bouquot and Tyler Gratton have re-joined the Phantoms after making their pro debuts with the Reading Royals in the ECHL last week.
Bouquot, 24, began his pro career with a two-assist performance and had three assists in three games. The lefty-shooting center from South Windsor, CT completed his NCAA career at Penn State following four seasons with the University of Vermont.
Gratton, 24, is a Pottstown native out of Owen J. Roberts High School who scored a goal in his pro debut and recorded one goal and one assist in his three games with the Royals. Gratton played his graduate-year season at Arizona State following four years with Penn State.

TOPS IN THE LEAGUE
AHL Scoring Leaders from March 15 through March 26
Cole Guttman, RFD, 6-7-13
Adam Brooks, LV, 6-6-12
Chase De Leo, SD, 2-10-12
Tanner Laczynski, LV, 5-6-11

AHL Power Play Assists
2nd (Tied) – Cooper Marody, 19

AHL Power Play Points
5th (Tied) – Cooper Marody, 24

AHL Rookie Scoring
11th (Tied) Samu Tuomaala, 14-27-41

AHL Rookie Power-Play Points
2nd (Tied) Samu Tuomaala, 7-13-20

AHL Rookie Power-Play Assists
2nd Emil Andrae, 15 (also 1st among defensemen)

PHANTASTIC!
The Phantoms record when:
– Score 4 or more goals: 19-0-2
– Allow 3 or fewer goals: 18-6-3
– Lead After 1st period: 8-1-2
– Lead After 2nd period: 15-2-1
– One-Goal Games: 18-7-8
– Overtime: 6-5 / Shootout: 4-3

YOU AGAIN?
W-B/Scranton (32-22-9) and the Phantoms are meeting for a tenth time in 2024 and bitter rivals still have three matchups left in the final 10 games of the season. The Penguins have slipped to fourth place in the Atlantic Division but still has a Magic Number of just eight points to clinch a playoff spot. The crew from Wilkes has had plenty of roster movement lately. Forwards Jonathan Gruden and Sam Poulin as well as defenseman Jack St. Ivany were all recalled to Pittsburgh but Gruden has since returned to the AHL.  Defenseman Ty Smith (9-28-37) leads the Baby Pens in scoring and stayed with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton even after he was traded by Pittsburgh to Carolina (who loaned him back to the team he was already playing for). Vasily Ponomarev is a former Carolina second-rounder who also arrived to W-B/Scranton in the Jake Guentzel deal at the deadline but has recently missed games due to injury. Second-rounder Joel Blomqvist (21-10-6, 2.13, .920) continues to thrive in his rookie season and is third in the AHL in GAA. Against the Phantoms, Blomqvist has gone 4-1-2, 2.14, .926 including his first career shutout the last time the Phantoms visited on March 13. The Penguins also took the most recent encounter on Sunday, March 24 at PPL Center in a 3-1 triumph with defenseman Xavier Ouellet scoring the tie-breaking tally less than one minute into the third period.
The Phantoms are 4-5-0 against the Penguins this season entering Game 10 out of 12 in the season series. The away team has won in seven of the nine matchups so far. Lehigh Valley is 3-1-0 at Wilkes-Barre while the Penguins have one 4-0-1 in Allentown.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Cooper Marody 18-32-50
Samu Tuomaala 14-27-41
x – Olle Lycksell 19-19-38
Tanner Laczynski 13-24-37
Emil Andrae 4-27-31
x – Ronnie Attard 10-15-25

Penguins Scoring Leaders
Ty Smith 9-28-37
x – Alex Nylander 17-15-32
Vinnie Hinostroza 13-14-27
x – Sam Poulin 13-14-27
Peter Abbandonato 7-16-23
Corey Andonovski 5-20-25

SPECIAL TEAMS
Lehigh Valley PP, 19.7% (10th)  – Lehigh Valley PK 80.3% (22nd) – LV vs. WBS PP 5/26 (19.2%)
W-B/Scranton PP 16.7% (27th) – W-B/Scranton PK 84.5% (3rd) – WBS vs. LV PP 5/28 (17.9%)

SEASON SERIES
Jan. 6 – WIN – Lehigh Valley 4 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3 (OT)
Jan. 26 – LOSS – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4 at Lehigh Valley 3
Feb. 3 – LOSS – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3 at Lehigh Valley 1
Feb. 9 – WIN – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4 at Lehigh Valley 5 (SO)
Feb. 21 – WIN – Lehigh Valley 3 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2 (OT)
Mar. 8 – LOSS – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3 at Lehigh Valley 2
Mar 9 – WIN – Lehigh Valley 4 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2
Mar. 13 – LOSS – Lehigh Valley 0 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3
Mar. 24 – LOSS – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3 at Lehigh Valley 1

Mar. 30 (6:05) Lehigh Valley at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Apr. 7 (3:05) Lehigh Valley at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Apr. 20 (7:05) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Lehigh Valley

Series Leaders
Lehigh Valley
Rhett Gardner 3-4-7
Cooper Marody 3-4-7
Samu Tuomaala 3-3-6
Adam Brooks 3-2-5
Felix Sandstrom 3-1-0, 3.18, .870

W-B/Scranton
Vinnie Hinostroza 2-6-8
x – Sam Poulin 3-4-7
Corey Andonovski 1-5-6
x – Alex Nylander 3-2-5
Ty Smith 2-3-5
Joel Blomqvist 4-1-2, 2.14, .926

UP NEXT
The Phantoms head over to Chocolatetown on Tuesday to take on the first-place Hershey Bears.

Lehigh Valley’s next home games are Friday, April 5 against the Providence Bruins on Berks $1 Hot Dog Night and Saturday, April 6 against the Cleveland Monsters on Star Wars Night.

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Saturday, March 30 (6:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Tuesday, April 2 (7:00) at Hershey Bears

Friday, April 5 (7:05) vs. Providence Bruins – Berks $1 Hot Dog Night
Saturday, April 6 (7:05) vs. Cleveland Monsters – Star Wars Night
Sunday, April 7 (3:05) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post PREVIEW: Phantoms at Penguins, Game #64 appeared first on Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

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