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 Lehigh Valley Phantoms

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February 21, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms News Release

Lehigh Valley Phantoms' Zech Cooper and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' Radim Zohorna
Lehigh Valley Phantoms' Zech Cooper and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' Radim Zohorna
(Lehigh Valley Phantoms)

Wilkes-Barre, PA - The Lehigh Valley Phantoms did it again. For the second time this season, the Phantoms rallied from a two-goal deficit in Wilkes-Barre to post an overtime win at the rival Penguins. Lehigh Valley leading scorer Cooper Marody (11th, 12th) drove the exciting comeback with the tying goal with just 8:36 remaining in the third before he blasted home the winning strike in overtime for a 3-2 victory. Bobby Brink (4th) also scored for the Phantoms to get the comeback started.

Lehigh Valley (21-19-7) played its 15th overtime game of the season which is second-most in the AHL behind only Rochester (16). It was also the third time the Phantoms have defeated the Penguins after regulation including two overtime wins in Wilkes-Barre as well as a shootout win in Allentown two days ago.

For a little while, it appeared as though the Phantoms might not be able to break through. Joel Blomqvist had an incredible night between the pipes for the Baby Pens. Despite carrying the play and developing several amazing chances, the Phantoms found themselves behind 1-0 and later 2-0.

But they stayed with it and battled their way back to equalize and force extra hockey. Not unlike how they did it in their only other appearance in northeast Pennsylvania on January 6 when Lehigh Valley rallied from a 3-1 deficit on goals by Samu Tuomaala and Ronnie Attard leading to Tuomaala's second goal of the night in overtime.

The Phantoms generated a bevy of opportunities pretty much throughout the night beginning in the early minutes of the game when Adam Brooks and Bobby Brink were denied back-to-back right on top of the cage.

Jagger Joshua (5th) ended up opening the scoring after the early Blomqvist denials. Jonathan Gruden took advantage of an opening in the middle and cranked a shot off the crossbar that was quickly put behind Felix Sandstrom by Joshua down low at 6:13 into the contest. The Penguins led 1-0 at the first intermission but the Phantoms were clearly carrying the play.

Lehigh Valley continued to press in the second period. But Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (27-17-8) again took advantage of an opportunity when they stole the puck on the blue line and Alex Nylander (17th) raced up ice for a breakaway goal slipped through the legs of Sandstrom at 14:43 of the second for a 2-0 lead.

But just 73 seconds later, the Phantoms finally broke through. Brink showed his terrific abilities and smooth hands as he accepted a pass on the rush from Rhett Garnder on the left boards who somehow connected with his teammate through a maze of sticks. Without much time or space, Brink was still able to successfully navigate the puck over the backhand to nudge the puck past the right skate of Blomqvist at 15:56 to cut the Penguins' advantage to 2-1 at the second intermission.

Jacob Gaucher chased down a faceoff behind the Penguins' goal and won the puck along the endboards to set up the tying goal out in front. Samu Tuomaala had a piece of the puck as he slipped the puck across the crease to the covered Marody who was still able to find the pass and push the tying tally past the left pad of Blomqvist at 11:24 to forge a 2-2 tie.

The Phantoms aggressively pursued the puck in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton end to open overtime. After an initial shot was turned aside, the Phantoms came up with another quick pick-off and Andrae neatly held the puck in front of the blue line eventually setting up a cutting Marody who was initially denied by Blomqvist but he got to the free puck and powered a point-blank winner through the Penguins' backstop for the exciting finish.

Lehigh Valley has gone 3-1-0 in its last four games and all three wins have gone to overtime. The game marked the fifth time this season for the Phantoms to rally to win the game after trailing at the second intermission, including the second time they've done it in Wilkes-Barre.

The Phantoms are 3-2-0 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with seven games remaining in the season series including a Friday, March 9 matchup at PPL Center in the next encounter between the rivals.

Defenseman Louie Belpedio returned to the lineup for his first game since January 7. Lehigh Valley's alternate captain missed 13 games to injury over the last six weeks.

Marody recorded his third multi-goal game with the Phantoms and his first this season. The leading point-producer for Lehigh Valley has scored 12-27-39 this season.

Emil Andrae's assist in overtime is his 21st of the season in 38 games played. Andrae rates fourth among AHL rookie defensemen in assists and points (25).

Samu Tuomaala recorded an assist in the third period which was his 24th of the season. The 21-year-old rookie and AHL All-Star moves into a tie for second in AHL Rookie Assists and also rates fourth in points (37) among first-year skaters.

The Phantoms continue their road trip this weekend with a pair of games at the Charlotte Checkers including a Saturday 4:00 p.m. clash followed by a Sunday 1:00 p.m. rematch.


1st 6:13 - WBS, J. Joshua (5) (J. Gruden, C. Andonovski) (0-1)

2nd 14:43 - WBS, A. Nylander (17) (V. Hinostroza (0-2)

2nd 15:56 - LV, B. Brink (4) (R. Gardner, B. Furry) (1-2)

3rd 11:24 - LV, C. Marody (11) (J. Gaucher, S. Tuomaala) (2-2)

OT 1:03 - LV, C. Marody (12) (E. Andrae, A. Brooks) (3-2)


LV 36 - WBS 24


LV 0/1, WBS 0/1


LV - F. Sandstrom (22/24) (W) (10-6-2)

WBS - J. Blomqvist (33/36) (OTL) (16-7-5)


Lehigh Valley (21-19-7)

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (26-17-8)


Saturday, February 24 (4:00) - Phantoms at Charlotte Checkers

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

Stay current with the latest Phantoms news with the Phantoms 365 app available for Apple and Android devices and at

Follow the team on Facebook (, Twitter (@lvphantoms), and Instagram (@lehighvalleyphantoms).

Images from this story

Lehigh Valley Phantoms' Zech Cooper and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' Radim Zohorna
Lehigh Valley Phantoms' Zech Cooper and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' Radim Zohorna


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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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