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 Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Overtime Win Trims Magic Number to 1

April 13, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms News Release

Allentown, PA - Louie Belpedio (4th) struck for his third career overtime winner with Lehigh Valley and Tanner Laczynski had a pair of go-ahead goals in Lehigh Valley's exciting 5-4 win over the Bridgeport Islanders on Hockey Fiesta Night at PPL Center.

"Los Fantasmas" (30-30-9) trimmed their Magic Number to just one point to officially clinch a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Springfield Thunderbirds lost their sixth straight in a 6-3 setback to the Charlotte Checkers to help put the Phantoms on the verge of an official clinch. If Springfield loses its Sunday afternoon game against the Providence Bruins then the Phantoms will officially be IN..even though they are not playing.

Goaltender Alexei Kolosov worked out the kinks in his pro debut and made a number of challenging saves in backstopping the Phantoms to a win in his first pro game in North America. Philadelphia's Round 3 selection in the 2021 NHL Draft was needed early to deny a shorthanded breakaway from former Phantom Cole Bardreau. Kolosov did not yield an even-strength goal in the contest. Bridgeport's four goals, two each from Karson Kuhlman and Brian Pinho, came on two power plays and a penalty shot plus a 6-on-5 strike with the goalie pulled in the last minute.

Lehigh Valley peppered Jakub Skarek in the opening six-and-a-half minutes with a 13-shot barrage to begin the game but Bridgeport's netminder was equal to the task.

The Islanders ended up striking first in the see-saw affair on a power-play goal for Kuhlman at 9:09.

But Lehigh Valley quickly responded with a pair of conversions to enjoy the lead at the first intermission. Ethan Samson (3rd) cut to the net front on a give-and-go with Cooper Marody and put his stick down for the tap-in and his first-career goal at PPL Center at 13:04 into the game.

Adam Brooks weaved to the right of the cage and banked his 12th of the season off a Bridgeport player with 1:45 left in the first for a 2-1 advantage. Laczynski and Belpedio assisted on the play. For Laczynski, it was the first of a three-point performance in the thrilling win.

Brian Pinho for Bridgeport was awarded a penalty shot on a breakaway in the second period and the right-handed shooter beat Kolosov to the glove side at 5:10 into the second period to even the score at 2-2.

Laczynski got a piece of a Victor Mete point-shot to put the Phantoms ahead again at 3-2 with 9:01 remaining in the second period.

The Islanders answered early in the third on Kuhlman's second power-play goal of the game on a scramble at the net-front.

Lehigh Valley again took the lead on a Laczynski goal. This time, the rugged center got a piece of a blocked shot that was still available between the circle and was able to push a shot through Skarek five-hole with just 5:28 remaining to give the Phantoms a 4-3 advantage.

Bridgeport (24-37-9) wasn't done and still had another trick up its sleeve as displayed by Pinho's equalizing goal at 6-on-5 with just 35 seconds left to force overtime.

Brendan Furry pushed into the Bridgeport zone in overtime and fired a shot from the left circle that Skarek kicked away with the left pad. But Belpedio was ready on the other side to bury the rebound for the dramatic winner.

The Phantoms will play their last away game of the regular season in a rematch with the Islanders, this time in Bridgeport.

The Phantoms return to PPL Center next Saturday night against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and next Sunday afternoon against the Charlotte Checkers in the regular season finale.


1st 9:09 - BRI, K. Kuhlman (11) (R. Salo, A. Jeffries) (PP) (0-1)

1st 13:04 - LV, E. Samson (3) (C. Marody) (1-1)

1st 18:15 - LV, A. Brooks (12) (L. Belpedio, T. Laczynski) (2-1)

2nd 5:10 - BRI, B. Pinho (8) (PS) (2-2)

2nd 10:59 - LV, T. Laczynski (15) (V. Mete, B. Furry) (3-2)

3rd 5:29 - BRI, K. Kuhlman (12) (M. Maggio, R. Ishakov) (PP) (3-3)

3rd 14:32 - LV, T. Laczynski (16) (H. McDonald, H. Grans) (4-3)

3rd 19:25 - BRI, B. Pinho (9) (K. Kuhlman, M. Maggio) (6x5) (4-4)

OT 1:18 - LV, L. Belpedio (4) (B. Furry, C. Marody) (5-4)


LV 40 - BRI 28


LV 0/2, BRI 2/2


LV - A. Kolosov (W) (24/28) (1-0-0)

BRI - J. Skarek (OTL) (35/40) (7-22-6)


Lehigh Valley (30-30-9)

Bridgeport (24-37-9)


Friday, April 19 (7:00) at Bridgeport Islanders

Saturday, April 20 (7:05) vs. W-B/Scranton Penguins

Sunday, April 21 (3:05) vs. Charlotte Checkers - Our Valley, Our Home Day - End of Regular Season!

Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

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