Lehigh Valley Phantoms to Face Charlotte Checkers in First Round of AHL Playoffs

Samuel Ersson will try to help lead the Phantoms past the Checkers. (Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
Samuel Ersson will try to help lead the Phantoms past the Checkers. (Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2018. They will be taking on the Charlotte Checkers in a best-of-three series.

Lehigh Valley will not have a home game in this first-round series, though. Charlotte will host all three games. It’s a little quirk in the AHL that has to do with the geographical location of the two teams. If the Phantoms had secured the third seed, they would’ve been the ones to host this series. They lost their final three games, however.

So in order to give the fans their first taste of playoff hockey since 2018, Lehigh Valley will need to take two out of three from Charlotte. The three games are scheduled for April 18, 20, and an if necessary final game on the 21st. All games will start at 7:00 p.m.

The two teams have been evenly matched during their season series. Each team won four of the eight total games played between the two sides.

Season Series

12/2/22: 3-2 LV

  • Teams traded the first four goals before Phantoms scored what would be the game-winner with under six and a half minutes remaining
  • Elliot Desnoyers, Adam Brooks, and Jordy Bellerive (GWG) scored for Phantoms

12/3/22: 6-4 CLT

  • Phantoms came back from a 2-0 deficit (Tyson Foerster & Adam Brooks), and got it to 5-4 before Charlotte scored the empty netter

12/9/22: 2-1 LV

  • All scoring came in the second period. Charlotte scored first followed by Phantoms’ two goals (Artem Anisimov & Kieffer Bellows)
  • Sam Ersson saved 29 of 30 shots

12/10/22: 6-1 LV

  • Phantoms scored six goals in a row (Anisimov x2, Bellows, Foerster, Hogberg, Lycksell)
  • Ersson saved 21 of 22 shots

2/14/23:  3-2 CLT

  • Couldn’t complete a comeback after being down 2-0
  • Ronnie Attard & Adam Brooks scored for LV

2/15/23: 4-1 CLT

  • Zayde Wisdom scored the lone goal in the first period

4/7/23: 5-2 LV

  • Phantoms scored five of the final six goals (Belpedio, Desnoyers, Lycksell, Marody x2)
  • Ersson saved 29 of 31 shots

4/15/23: 5-2 CLT

  • Checkers scored three straight after Phantoms made it 1-1 and 2-2.
  • Garrett Wilson & Bobby Brink scored for LV

Playoff Results

These two teams last faced off during the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs. Lehigh Valley took that series 4-1. It also included the AHL’s longest playoff game. The two sides needed five overtimes to determine the winner of Game 4.

Then Phantoms goaltender Alex Lyon recorded 94 saves in the victory while Alex Krushelnyski scored the game-winning goal at 6:48 of the fifth overtime. The game lasted a total of six hours and six minutes. The winning goal was scored at 1:09 a.m.

Let’s hope none of these games head into the wee hours of the morning.

If the Phantoms are able to take two of three from Charlotte, they would take on the Providence Bruins. Lehigh Valley had the edge in the five-game series, three games to two.