Lehigh Valley Phantoms clinch second straight playoff berth

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins
Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins / Pamela Smith/GettyImages

Rally the Valley as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have clinched a postseason berth for the second straight year. They needed almost every game of their season to do so, clinching with a victory against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. They have two games remaining before the playoffs begin.

The Phantoms were in a fight with the Springfield Thunderbirds for one of the final spots. Their magic number to clinch was at one point. So either a win, overtime point, or a loss by Springfield would get them in. Why not make it easy and win your own game? It’s always more fun to do it yourself anyway.

The Phantoms did that via a Cal Petersen shutout. It was his second shutout of the season. His numbers have been decent in the AHL this season. Petersen has a 2.71 GAA and a .902 SV% in 28 games. His other shutout came against the Hershey Bears back on Mar. 3. Petersen has been to the Calder Cup playoffs twice, both with the Ontario Reign. He’s played six games, only coming out victorious in one of them which was back in 2018. His most recent appearance came in 2023 where he gave up eight goals in two games.

Elliot Desnoyers, Adam Brooks, and Bobby Brink scored in the 3-0 victory. For Desnoyers, it was his first goal in 41 games. After posting 23 goals and 44 points in his rookie season, he has struggled this season. Desnoyers has five goals and 21 points in 61 games. There were long stretches of time where he went without a point this season. The sophomore slump was real for Desnoyers. The veteran in Brooks has come alive a bit this season, posting his most goals in a season (13) since his second year in the AHL in 2018-19 when he had 21. He has scored in back to back games for the Phantoms.

Brink was loaned to the Phantoms after the Flyers disappointing end to the season. He picked up right where he left off, scoring his seventh of the season in his 12th game in the AHL. He has a five game point streak dating back to his previous stint with the Phantoms in February in which he has totaled seven points. 

The Phantoms opponent in the Calder Cup Playoffs is unknown at this time. Coming into Friday evening, the Phantoms were lined up to play the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a Best of 3 series. Things can change before the weekend is over. Regardless, a win in the first series would set up a five game series against the Hershey Bears. 

Lehigh Valley would like to have a better showing in the playoffs after being eliminated by the Charlotte Checkers last year. They won the first game before losing the next two. As the lower seed, they did not have a home game in the series. Again coming in as a low seed, the Phantoms will need to take care of business in order to give their fans a long awaited look at a playoff team.