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 Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Lycksell and Brink Drive Crazy Comeback

February 24, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms News Release

Lehigh Valley Phantoms defenseman Ronnie Attard vs. the Charlotte Checkers
Lehigh Valley Phantoms defenseman Ronnie Attard vs. the Charlotte Checkers
(Lehigh Valley Phantoms)

Charlotte, NC - The message was made loud and clear. Again. NEVER count out the Phantoms.

For the second game in a row, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms rallied from a two-goal deficit to post an unlikely overtime win as they raced past the Charlotte Checkers 6-5 on Saturday evening.

This one was on another level though. Bobby Brink (5th, 6th) finished the team's sixth overtime win of the season after Olle Lycksell tied the game twice in the third period including a 6-on-5 equalizer with 42 seconds left. Lycksell (17th, 18th) and Brink led the Phantoms attack with a pair of goals apiece.

It was Lycksell's first game back with the Phantoms since January 20. The second-year pro had spent the last month up with the Philadelphia Flyers. Suffice it to say, the Phantoms were happy to have Olle back in the lineup!

On the way to the incredible and stunning win, the Phantoms had to storm back from deficits in the third period of 3-1 and 4-2 as well as 5-4. Charlotte briefly thought the game wouldn't go to overtime at all but Wilmer Skoog's potential game-winning goal came just a fraction of a second after regulation had officially ended. Then it was a Charlotte power play in overtime and it was there for the taking for the Checkers again. But Felix Sandstrom and the Phantoms' penalty killers stood in their way and kept Lehigh Valley alive.

In short, it was quite a game. And quite a rally. In the process, the Phantoms closed to within three points of Charlotte in the Atlantic Division race with two games in hand as both teams compete for a Calder Cup Playoff Spot in the final two months of the season.

Lehigh Valley (22-19-7) has gone 4-1-0 in its last five games with all four of those wins coming via either overtime or shootout. The Phantoms have won six games in overtime this season with half of those wins coming against Charlotte. Lehigh Valley is 4-1-1 against the Checkers ahead of Sunday's 1:00 p.m. rematch.

The Phantoms are tied for second in the AHL with 17 total overtime games among 47 games played. Lehigh Valley is 6-5 in overtime and 3-2 in shootouts for a combined record of 9-7 in games decided after regulation.

And it was Lehigh Valley's sixth win of the season when trailing after two periods. The Comeback Kids are tied with Grand Rapids at the league lead for the most third-period rally victories.

Bobby Brink scored the first and last goals of the 11 total goals that filled the evening. His blast from the right circle with 8:30 left in the first period deflected off the stick of goaltender Evan Cormier and into the net after a nice set-up by Lycksell who whipped the puck across for a carom off the right corner boards perfectly for his line-mate.

Charlotte equalized on a goal for Patrick Giles with under two minutes remaining in the frame. But the Phantoms were on their heels for much of the period and gave up far too many strong chances for the Checkers who out-shot Lehigh Valley 13-6 in the opening 20 minutes. The Phantoms were perhaps fortunate that it was tied 1-1 at the first intermission and that they weren't trailing.

Charlotte (24-20-6) took its first lead of the day at 4:50 into the second period on a backdoor slam for Mackie Samoskevich (13th) who scored for a fifth time against Lehigh Valley. His 4-on-4 strike put the Checkers ahead 2-1.

Later in the period, Charlotte's Justin Sourdif emerged from the penalty box to join Lucas Carlsson on a 2-on-0. They razzle-dazzled their passes back-and-forth as they cruised in at Sandstrom but Carlsson's shot was denied on a sparkling right pad save for Sandstrom to keep the score at 2-1. But the Phantoms were finding their game and by the end of the period were carrying the play after having out shot the Checkers 10-5.

Then the third period. And it was wild. Seven total goals including four in the first six-and-a-half minutes as part of a wild and breathless culminating 20 minutes that rated as the highest-scoring period of the season.

First, it was Skoog scoring early to put Charlotte ahead 3-1 at 1:16 into the third.

But the Phantoms were quick to respond. After Emil Andrae had the puck jabbed away and Charlotte almost emerged with a shorthanded breakaway, Cooper Marody swooped in to save the day and steal the puck back for the Phantoms. After another quick stride to the high slot, Super Cooper blasted his 13th of the season to the upper-right corner for the power-play goal to cut the margin to 3-2 at 3:19 into the third.

Barely over a minute later, it was Charlotte again. This time Justin Sourdif cranked home his 11th at 4:24. Charlotte 4 - Lehigh Valley 2.

Things weren't looking any better when the Checkers went on another power play right after that goal with an opportunity to boost its lead to three. Enter Rhett Gardner. The experienced center dug the puck away from Ryan McAllister along the boards in the Phantoms zone and raced away with Jacob Gaucher shorthanded. But Garnder and Gaucher were denied but Ronnie Attard (10th) was there as the trailer to knock in the team's fifth shorthanded goal of the season at 6:30 into the third period and suddenly the Phantoms were back to within a goal at 4-3.

Gardner was vital on the next goal as well. He stationed himself in front of Cormier and prevented the Charlotte goaltender from ever seeing Olle Lycksell's blast from the left dot to the upper-right corner.

But Wilmer Skoog would strike again. He buried an opportunity in the slot with 6:08 left as the Checkers were banging pucks in down low. After Mackie Samoskevich was slammed off of his shot between the circles, the opportunity presented itself for Skoog to pounce on a puck that drifted out to him for a 5-4 Charlotte lead.

The Phantoms kept on the attack and Olle Lycksell buried a try at the net-front on a set up by Bobby Brink from behind the goal with 42 seconds left. Tie game again. 5-5.

Charlotte celebrated an apparent win when Skoog connected from the right-dot as time expired. But the referees checked the video and ruled that the goal came a fraction of a second too late. We would play on.

Charlotte controlled possession for most of the overtime and was also mostly content to hang back and wait for opportunities. Finally pushing forward, Cooper Marody was called for a hooking infraction when he broke up a Checkers' play thus providing Charlotte with a 4-on-3 power play for two minutes. But the Phantoms' penalty kill came through when it needed to the most. With a pair of big denials from Sandstrom and various blocks and tips from Attard, Gardner, Gaucher and Ginning among others.

The Phantoms were still alive.

Finally getting the puck back with time running out, Lycksell moved in one-on-one but recognized he wasn't going to push past his defender. His nifty drop was perfectly in the wheelhouse for Brink joining the play who slammed through a big one-timer with just 15 seconds left in overtime. The winning goal was also Lehigh Valley's only shot of the extra period.

It was another improbable result after the Phantoms had been down by two goals in the third period. This time they were down by two goals TWICE in the final period. And they get to try to do it again in a few hours! The Phantoms and Checkers will rematch at 1:00 p.m. at Bojangles' Coliseum.

The Phantoms return to PPL Center on Saturday, March 2 against the Bridgeport Islanders on Hockey is for Everyone Night and then host the Hershey Bears on Sunday, March 3 at 3:05 p.m. on meLVin's Birthday!


1st 11:30 - LV, B. Brink (5) (O. Lycksell, R. Gardner) (1-0)

1st 18:18 - CLT, P. Giles (9) (P. Khodorenko) (1-1)

2nd 4:51 - CLT, M. Samoskevich (13) (C. Fitzgerald, J. Sourdif) (1-2)

3rd 1:16 - CLT, W. Skoog (9) (U. Balinskis) (1-3)

3rd 3:19 - LV, C. Marody (13) (E. Andrae) (PP) (2-3)

3rd 4:24 - CLT, J. Sourdif (11) (A. True, R. McAllister) (2-4)

3rd 6:30 - LV, R. Attard (10) (J. Gaucher, R. Gardner) (SH) (3-4)

3rd 12:46 - LV, O. Lycksell (17) (E. Andrae, C. Marody ) (PP) (4-4)

3rd 13:52 - CLT, W. Skoog (10) (M. Samoskevich, L. Carlsson) (4-5)

3rd 19:18 - LV, O. Lycksell (18) (B. Brink) (6x5) (5-5)

OT 4:45 - LV, B. Brink (6) (O. Lycksell) (6-5)


LV 28 - CLT 33


LV 2/6, CLT 1/6


LV - F. Sandstrom (W) (28/33) (11-6-2)

CLT - E. Cormier (OTL) (22/28) (1-1-2)


Lehigh Valley (22-19-7)

Charlotte (24-20-6)


Sunday, February 25 (1:00) - Phantoms at Charlotte Checkers

Friday, March 1 (7:05) - Phantoms at Utica Comets

Saturday, March 2 (7:05) vs. Bridgeport Islanders-Hockey is for Everyone, SNHL ft. DJ Brad Scott

Sunday, March 3 (3:05) vs. Hershey Bears-meLVin's Birthday, Post-game skate with players presented by NJM Insurance, Faith Night

Images from this story

Lehigh Valley Phantoms goaltender Felix Sandström smothers a shot by the Charlotte Checkers
Lehigh Valley Phantoms goaltender Felix Sandström smothers a shot by the Charlotte Checkers

Lehigh Valley Phantoms defenseman Ronnie Attard vs. the Charlotte Checkers
Lehigh Valley Phantoms defenseman Ronnie Attard vs. the Charlotte Checkers


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