Author Archives: kramskorner

About kramskorner

Columnist and PodCast Host for the Award Winning Horn and Bell Blog from the NoiseNation. Follow @Kram209 for news about the IronPigs, Phantoms, and SteelHawks. Also news about the Velodrome and RollerGirls.

Injury Woes Deplete Phantoms Defense

More roster movement today, as another injury to a defenseman in Philadelphia leads to a call-up.

Brandon Manning heads to Philadelphia to join the Flyers as they head to Tampa for a game tomorrow.  With Gostisbehere already in Philadelphia and Alt out indefinitely with a shoulder the Phantoms pull Maxim LaMarche from the Reading Royals for tonight’s game versus the Baby Penguins.  LaMarche will wear #44.

Here are the revised defensive pairings:

Hagg – Pettersson

Lauridsen – Delisle

Flemming – LaMarche

It has been confirmed that Rob Zepp will start in goal; let’s hope the retooled blue liners can protect him a bit.  Look for the top two pairings to get double shifts.  No word yet on where Straka will land with the attacking skaters.


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Hockey Night in Allentown: 10/29/2014 “Pens-Ultimate Edition”

We love the Miller Lite Loft! Photo: @Kram209

We love the Miller Lite Loft!
Photo: @Kram209

News and notes to get you ready for tonight’s game at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA, as the visiting Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins face off against YOUR Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

It’s not really the second-to-last of anything:  Tonight is the first-ever visit for our rival, and closest neighbor, as the Baby Pens come to town.  They sport a 4-4 record versus the Phantoms’ 4-2–tied in points for second place in the division behind Hershey.  The Phantoms won the opener in Wilkes Barre on October 11, leading the 12-game season series 1-0.

Roster in Flux:

Just prior to the game last Friday night, we learned that Shayne Gostisbehere had been called to Philadelphia to help solidify their ailing blue line.  Here’s more on Gostisbehere with the Flyers.  Last night he received very little ice time during critical periods of the Flyers game as some reports had him gambling too much early on.  And, remember, there were reports out of the Flyers’ locker room that Mark Alt already had a locker set up for a call after Friday’s Phantoms game.  Sheesh.  Personally, I’m just hoping they make a decision on where the Ghost is going to be, so that I know whether to purchase a ’14’ sweater or a ’53.’  Meanwhile, poor Alt.  See below.

Also prior to Friday’s game, we learned of an unknown upper-body injury to F Brett Hextall.  He missed the whole weekend, and is expected to be an injury scratch tonight as well.  F Petr Straka missed Saturday and Sunday with  a knee injury, but is expected to return tonight.  Defensman Mark Alt has a pretty significant shoulder injury, we hear, and is out indefinitely.  Finally, Jay Rosehill began a three-game suspension on Sunday (for an un-penalized check to the head, presumably).  Defenseman (#3) Brett Flemming and Forwards (#18) Matt Hatch and (#29) Derek Mathers were all recalled from the Reading Royals for Sunday’s game in Hershey.

Here are the lines and pairings from last Sunday–we’ll update as information flows forth concerning lines for tonight’s game.   With Straka’s imminent return, you can probably push either Hatch or Mathers into healthy scratch territory.  Straka is often listed as a RW, but I seem to recall seeing him on the left the other night–we’ll have to wait and see, I guess.  We’ll update as more information becomes available:

23 Leier – 21 Laughton – 10 Gordon

36 Powe – 25 Cousins – 19 Alderson

11 Fyten – 12 Johnston – 45 Stortini

18 Hatch – 17 Goumas – 29 Mathers

28 Manning – 8 Pettersson

7 Lauridsen – 3 Flemming

4 Hagg – 5 Delisle



Rob Zepp still has a “Presence” about him, having gone 4-0 on this young season.  “Stoly the Goalie” has played well too, despite the 0-2 record.  That’s the Way: the young Stolarz leads Zepp in GAA (2.54 to 2.67) as well as save percentage (.922 to .913)  It’s a small sample, and Stolarz has been relegated to road starts Over the Hills and Far Away.   Zepp should be in the goal tonight, giving No Quarter.  But, Hey Hey What Can I Do?  I’m looking forward to seeing Stolarz play at home in the future.

First Three-in-Three in the Books:

An exciting game last Friday at the “PeoPLe” center had the Hamilton Street Bullies come from behind to defeat the first-place Hershey Bears.  On Saturday, the Phantoms were in Binghamton, NY, where they defeated the Senators 5-4 in OT (pay no mind to the 15-second collapse at the end of regulation…).  Sunday late afternoon in Hershey, the long weekend and personnel changes seemed to catch up with them in the 3-0 shutout loss to the first-place Bears.  The next 3/3 looks to be December 5-7.  Still, 2-1 on the weekend with all division games is a fine outcome at this juncture.

Broadcast Info:

As per usual:  TV on Service Electric 2 (and HD version: 502?), Radio via 1470AM and IHeartRadio version.  In the arena:  FM 89.9.  Technical difficulties on the recent road trip lead them to use AM 790 WAEB and  That was supposed to be a one-time thing, but if you’re having trouble finding the game, check those stations out.

Bring Me Crabs:

I just couldn’t write, “Give me…”

However, sources from within Chickie’s and Pete’s have told us the steamer hood has been installed and should be inspected in time for pre-game seafood Wednesday night.  I might not be early enough to check on it personally, but just wanted to get the word out.

What happened to Dax?

They built a whole back-story for meLVin, but never quite explained what happened to Dax–that lovable beaver.  Turns out he’s inside meLVin.  No, meLVin didn’t eat him.  Same dude plays both.  He’s been doing great so far–mostly positive reviews for meLVin.

meLVin ice bowling Photo: @Kram209

meLVin ice bowling
Photo: @Kram209

Blog Coverage:

The Baby Pens have a fan blog, and it’s really good coverage.  Find it here.  It’s run by a guy named Jason, and he should be in town tonight for the game.  Follow him on twitter here.

Hump Day:

This will be the first regular-season home game for our Phantoms on a Wednesday night.  It will be interesting to see what kind of attendance we get for this mid-week game.   This is also the last game in October, as the Phantoms will have played 3 home and 4 away in their first regular-season month.  November will be the busiest month for hockey at the PeoPLe Center, with 7 home games.  They’ll also have 5 games on the road in the 12-game month.

PPL Power Play:

The Phantoms are 1st in the conference and 2nd overall (OKC) in power play percentage.  They’re 8/27 or 29.6%.  They’re also 3rd in the conference and 6th overall in scoring in the AHL.

“Hamilton Street Bullies”

I used the phrase a couple paragraphs above, but it’s not mine.  I’ve seen it several places on Twitter and Facebook.  Here’s the thing, though.  I don’t think we’ve lost a fight yet.  I don’t presume to know if that really means anything for hockey, at the end of the day, but I do know this:  It fires up the crowd and it fires up the team.  After Diesel (Delisle) dropped ‘em in the third period last Friday night, down 2-1 and the team having played a pretty uninspired second period, the crowd and the team came alive.  The Phantoms won going away.  With Stortini and Rosey (I mean, when they’re not suspended or in the box…) around we’re not going to lose many of those fights. Here’s hoping it translates into wins and Power Plays for the good guys.


I picked up a program at the last game (for $2…) and it’s quite nicely done.  Our friends at Nacci Printing, of course.  Of note is that like at the IronPigs the program won’t change with every game.  Check the date before you pay for another one!

Arena News:

There are a couple college basketball games coming up, and I’d encourage you to check them out.  Kram III and I had a great time at the 76ers exhibition; they do a nice job with it.  Neil Diamond has already sold-out one show, and has added another for March 1.  Finally, Disney on Ice will be coming for a bunch of shows in January–including matinees.  My kiddos are a little old for that, but the reviews of the show still make me want to check it out:  It sounds like it’s really good.

The Cheap Seats:

Pocket schedules are about–we picked up a couple at the arena on Friday, and I imagine they may be available at area businesses as well.  Perhaps they were out before–but it is the first I’d seen them.  Really handy, despite the fact that I have the entire schedule loaded into my daily calendar on my phone.  Plus, there’s a nice coupon from our friends at Philly Pretzel in there, too.  Anyway, I also noticed this:

10 dollar tix

$10 tickets!  That sounds great!  But where?!? And, how?!?

It’s the group rate for section 201. Still, not horrible seats, and with but an “order charge” it does allow you to bypass a bit of the single-game ticket fees.  How about we get a “Noise Nation” section going for a game?  Who’s in?  (Just throwing it out there…)  You need at least 15 to make a “group.”  Bells are allowed.  Nay, encouraged.

Parking and Tailgating:

Really nothing to add on the parking front.  Everything’s been running pretty smoothly as far as I’ve heard.  I did hear that they’re routing folks out and back in through the Air Products gate (7th Street) rather than directly to the concourse via elevator from the Linden Street/arena parking garage.  I’m not sure how that impacts accessible parking in that facility–it sure doesn’t sound easier, but perhaps they’ve made allowances for that?

As you probably know, they really want us visiting the downtown establishments for our para-event food and beverage.  Hence, tailgating is verboten in the city-owned lots and garages.  However, that didn’t stop these two bozos:

photo source unknown

photo source unknown

See you at the arena,






Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Phantoms Hockey, PPL Center Arena

Hockey Night in Allentown

photo and effects: @Kram209

photo and effects:

The Phantoms kick off a “Three-in-Three” tonight at the PPL Center in Allentown.  The puck drops at 7:05PM for a divisional match-up with the Hershey Bears.  News and Notes to get you ready:

The sun is out.  It’s not too cold.  And, it’s a GAME DAY!  Let’s get ready for some hockey, folks:


Good seats are still available.  In fact, just punching in 2 for “best available” just gave me better seats than my season tickets! Another strategy might be to purchase the tickets at the box office.  Research this week–with help from DiPro–tells me that it DOES save you some fees!  Example:  Upper level seat is list price $18.50, $19.50 day of game.  DiPro paid $20 on Wednesday.  Online order, with fees, for the same ticket today (game day):  $26.50.  That pays for your parking, my friend!  Disclaimer:  Tickets seem to be priced differently on the day of the event.  Also, they could have fouled up DiPro’s order and he got a special deal.  Just letting you know what we know.  The best way to use this information if you’re buying single-game tickets occasionally?  Buy the tickets for your next game while you’re downtown for your current game.  That seems to be an efficient way to do it if you know your schedule in advance.

TV and Radio:

The usual sources:  Service Electric TV-2 and corresponding HD; AM-1470 and corresponding IHeartRadio App; FM 89.9 in the arena.  Pre- and Post-game shows live from Chickie’s and Pete’s for the TV version; on the radio with Bob Rotruck starting at 6:20, then again following the game.  Once they get the audio figured out, we’ll be able to enjoy the TV version ‘live’ on site.

Hershey Bears:

The cross-state and divisional rivals come in 3-1 having won three in a row.  Going back to the Philadelphia days, the Phantoms are 86-88-10 all-time versus the Bears.  Including some interesting meetings:

  • 10/5/1996:  Bears 2 Phantoms 1; First Meeting (Bears had been Flyers previous affiliate!)
  • 5/3/1997: Phantoms 7  Bears 4;  Playoffs:  350 PIM, 14 game misconducts.
  • 4/11/2004:  Phantoms 3 Bears 2; OT win was on an EN-goal because Hershey needed a win to make playoffs; Phantoms swept Bears 12-0 that year!
  • 11/27/2004: Phantoms 3 Bears 1;  It was the 17th straight win for Phantoms establishing new AHL record (since broken)
  • 1/6/2012:  Phantoms 4 Bears 3;  OT win set an attendance record–the outdoor game drew 45,653

(Credit: Bob Rotruck’s Twitter feed.  Follow him @BobRotruck .)

Phantoms receive major Propps:

Well, just one Propp.  Brian Propp.  The Flyers legend will be in attendance this evening and signing autographs prior to the game and during the first intermission.  Find him at the Phantoms Youth table behind section 113.

Parking Update:

Regular meters seem to max-out at 2-hrs.  So, probably not a good strategy if you’re arriving downtown prior to 4PM (remember, meters are enforced Monday-Saturday 8AM-6PM).  Meter rate is $1/hour, according to the web site, but mine seemed to be more than that–closer to $1.25 as I paid by quarters.  I haven’t used the credit card method yet.

Chickie’s and Pete’s:

We’re big fans, and becoming bigger (literally…) as it goes.  Check out the “Crabby Ale” by Victory, exclusive draft for C+P.  Also, word is the “steamer hood” has been installed and just needs inspection so that we can start ordering up bushels of clams and muscles.  Also, we’ve learned that the audio system is close to being ready so that they’ll be able to play the pre- and post-game show over the PA for those getting ready for the game (as mentioned above).  Also, recall that you can take your drink right into the arena from C+P so long as there’s no glass container.

Name Stickers:

ICYMI:  I noticed the other day that they had begun placing stickers on the bottoms of the seats.  It looked like STH names.  Check it out before you sit down!


As the Flyers start to get a guy or two back, it has been rumored that we might receive RW Jason Akeson in lieu of F Chris VandeVelde if the Flyers like what they’ve seen of him (VandeVelde).  Akeson, the veteran Phantom, has been a healthy scratch a few times in this young season.  Reports are that Zepp will be “Wearing and Tearing” in the net tonight and tomorrow, with Anthony Stolarz getting the start for the matinee on Sunday in Hershey.  Late reports have D Mark Alt going to the Flyers prior to tonight’s game.  The Phantoms may receive a Defenseman from Reading in return, perhaps Flemming.  Stay tuned!


This is the first of about 8 times this season that the Phantoms will play three games in three days.  It’s a tough row to hoe for the players, but part of the deal in the AHL.  Luckily, the travel’s not too difficult this weekend (Binghamton and Hershey).  We’ll see how they respond.  Only tonight’s game is in Allentown.  However, these are important divisional games, so….Go Phantoms!

Up Next:

The team boards the bus for Binghamton, NY following the game tonight.  They’ll play an afternoon game in Hershey on Sunday (5PM if you’re going).  Then, they’ll return to Allentown for a Wednesday night tilt versus the Baby Penguins.  That will be the first week-night game at the PPL Center, and the first visit by the Pens.  Then home again next Saturday (11/1) versus Hartford before going on the road the following week and returning 11/15.

What Do I Want?

Still hoping to get a promotional schedule from the Phantoms soon.  It would be great for the kiddos to be able to choose their games (we only have two seats) ahead of time.

Will update later today if news presents; otherwise, I’ll see you at the arena,





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Keystone Cup and NoiseNation-TV @SteelHawksPIFL Interviews


One of the other things to come out of the SteelHawks News Conference yesterday, other than the 2015 schedule and the re-signing of QB Shane McSweeny, is more on the addition to the PIFL–the Erie Explosion.  This sets up a football rivalry similar to the Phantoms/Hershey/Wilkes-Barre rivalry in hockey and the IronPigs/Scranton Rivalry in baseball.  It’s being termed the “Keystone Cup” and will certainly add some interest to this season.  Erie is an established team.  They come in having dominated in their old league.  However, sources close to the SteelHawks have privately told me that the Erie franchise might be in for a big surprise given the high quality of play throughout the PIFL.  And, from the interviews above, there WILL indeed be an actual cup.  The design specifics have not been revealed yet.

keystone cup steelhawks image


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Membership Has Its Privileges

But how much privilege is there, really?

For Phantoms Season Ticket Holders, perhaps not that much.  Let me explain:

Phantoms Season Ticket Holders have pre-sale privileges for other events at the PPL Center Arena in Allentown.  Generally, we have the ability to purchase tickets online or sometimes via telephone 24-48 hours prior to the tickets going on sale to the general public.  But I’m not sure which group of people constitutes the “general public.”  You see, anyone who would like, can join the “Cyber Club” of the PPL Center and get the exact same privileges that a Phantoms Season Ticket Holder is entitled to vis-a-vis event pre-sales.  How do you join the Cyber Club?  Just sign up for free.  Or, FAIL to UN-check the box when ordering single-event tickets for ANYTHING.  Because I have Phantoms season tickets, AND have “joined” the Cyber Club, I get two separate emails with special codes for “pre-sale.”  The codes are different, but the timing’s the same, and the price is certainly no lower for either.  So who does this leave in the “general public?”

  • People who have never been to the PPL Center
  • People who refuse to give out ANY of their information, like email address
  • People without computers

Perhaps the seats set aside for the pre-sale are different for the groups, because they have different passwords to access the “pre-sale?”  Could be, but we’ll never know, because the PPL Center doesn’t let you pick your seats.  You cannot see which seats are available or what your choices are for seating beyond simply the price category.  And then, it seems the seats are randomly assigned:  I couldn’t find a rhyme or reason for which seats it was assigning me upon multiple attempts to purchase, recently.  And there’s the next problem:  because of the random seat function, EVERYBODY does what I did.  You keep punching through the system until it gives you an acceptable seat.  That confuses the system and clogs the bandwidth.  I’m not sure calling is any better:  The phone lines will get clogged up, and the ticket staff, while helpful, is no quicker.  It took DiPro almost 20 minutes to purchase ONE hockey ticket yesterday.  IN PERSON!  I’ve gathered while speaking with them on the phone that they cannot easily see which seats are available, either.  They can, but not easily enough to provide more than a modicum of help.   It’s not their fault.  The system is clunky, slow, and poor.  (And the fees are high.)  Just let us see the available seats and we can pick!

Then, we’ll see who really has the privileges!



Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Phantoms Hockey, PPL Center Arena

SteelHawks Schedule Release Now Official

We’ll have interviews and commentary from the PPL Center coming up on NoiseNation TV.  But, until then, a couple quick things.  First, the official schedule–note the 4PM start time for the opening game; it’ll fit better with IronPigs!


In other news announced today, QB Shane McSweeny will be back to lead the offensive attack.

Here’s the Bambuser stream from today’s event:

Stay tuned!


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Finding a Rhythm

My view from 106  Photo: DiPro

My view from 106
Photo: DiPro

As a fan, do you ever get that “gameday” feeling?  Can you feel the energy as you make your way to the stadium?  I can.  I first felt it many years ago, at one of my first NFL games.  Everybody’s walking in the same direction approaching the stadium.  Almost everybody’s cheering for the same team.  Who knows what will happen on this day?  There’s a palpable excitement in the air as you approach the gates, find your seat, and wait for the action to begin.

Once you become a season ticket holder for something, you begin to anticipate that electricity a bit.  At least, I know I do. If it’s a game day, I wake up a little easier.  Fix coffee a little quicker, and find my way to work a little better.  My day moves along a little smoother because it’s GAME DAY!  Perhaps it’s just me, but I get that way even for the minor league sports we enjoy so much here in the Lehigh Valley.

Over the years, as a full season ticket holder for IronPigs Baseball, I get in a rhythm of “home stand” and “road trip.”  When the ‘Pigs are at home, I’m accustomed to scheduling,and anticipating each and every game.  Yes, things get put off and neglected (sorry, kids) but that’s what road trips are for.  When the team’s away, there’s a chance to catch up on the housework, the lawn mowing and talking to the family.  There’s an ebb and flow to it, and the season moves along quite nicely.

The SteelHawks are football.  And football means once per week.  Once the game is over, you know there will be another next week and it will be either “home” or “away.”  Anyone who’s been an NFL fan knows how to fall into the rhythm of a football season quite easily.

But now there’s hockey.  I admit I’m not the biggest hockey fan in the world, and tend to start paying attention around the time the NHL playoffs start.  I know, I know.  But now I’m excited for Phantoms hockey, and I’m ready for more of that hockey action!  But hockey isn’t “every day” like baseball.  And, it’s not “next weekend” like football.  It’s fits and spurts, and I’m having trouble finding a rhythm in this young season.  I need more “game days.”  I know the players need a break. I know they have to play ‘away’ games.  But now I’ve got to wait all the way until Friday for another game.  Then, there will be two road games and another at home on Wednesday, then Saturday, then TWO WEEKS without a home game.  There will be a point in November-December where we’ll go 19 days without a home game.  There’s another two-week stretch in March.  I’ve got to learn to adapt, I guess.

Or, the arena’s gonna need another tenant.  Not this season, but perhaps next we’ll be able to add D-League Basketball or MASL-Soccer.  I think that would help me.

News and Notes:

  • From the previous post:  SteelHawks Schedule Release news conference and party, starting Wednesday at 2:30PM at the arena.  Food and Drink specials in Chickie’s and Pete’s following.  A NosieNation contingent is planning to attend.  Join us, won’t you?  Can’t get out of work?  Stop by after for the social event.
  • Forward Scott Laughton (@Laughts21) was named CCM/AHL Player of the Week!  His four goals in two games earned him the recognition.  Good job, Scotty!  We’re looking for more!
  • Monday is “Phantoms – Breaking the Ice” show on SECTV-2, which films live at 7PM (I believe) at Chickie’s and Pete’s.  Tonight’s guests are expected to be:  Forwards Brett Hextall and the aforementioned Scott Laughton!  Stop by C+P or watch on SECTV-2.

Waiting for ‘Game Day,’


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Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Phantoms Hockey, PPL Center Arena, Steel Hawks