“Oh, Baby, it’s cryin’ time…”
–Led Zeppelin, Four Sticks
I wish I could say our guy Rob Zepp was the one with the four sticks. He did well, though. Unfortunately for the Phantoms, the Penguins net-minder (rookie Matt Murray) was the one with the tremendous saves and the Baby Pens left the PPL Center with the 2-1 overtime win in their first visit to Hamilton and Seventh. The Phantoms will settle for the 1-point loss.
And it turns out, you can’t play with a broken stick. I mean, not just that it’s difficult and ill-advised: It’s against the rules! Even, as I learned, if you hold your hand over the broken part like some kind of bending-spoon illusion. Also, I learned that there’s a limit to the number of guys you can have on the ice at any given time. Also a penalty. Who knew? ;)
Thin Blue Line
The story coming into the game was the turnover on defense. With Gostisbehere and Manning in Philadelphia and Alt out indefinitely with a busted-up shoulder, the concern was that Zepp would need to do “Walter’s Walk” to keep the Phantoms in the game. That wasn’t the case. While Zepp played well, the defense protected him well enough. Perhaps on the power plays we could have benefited from some of the steady play of the veterans and the dynamic goal-scoring of the youngster we were missing. The AHL second-best power play came up empty on the evening (0/9). Meanwhile, the Baby Pens were able to score both of their goals with manpower advantage. Perhaps as the Flyers return home from Florida for a Tuesday home game, we can snag a guy back for our trip to Worcester on Wednesday. But even if not, the players played well.
Despite the low-scoring game, it was good action and was reasonably well-played and exciting. Several times I was on my feet ready to celebrate a Phantoms goal when that Murray dude would make a save. Sometimes you can just see the goal setting up, you know? Didn’t work that way last night. Nevertheless, our new friend from the north country, Penguins blogger Jason, enjoyed the game and the arena as well. Read his report here. The rest of the games in this series should be fun to watch. And don’t hate on Jason–turns out we all share a similar dislike for the Hershey team…
Clams in da ‘Hood
Sources from within Chickie’s and Pete’s have told us that the newly installed steamer-hood necessary for the production of clams, mussels and crabs has failed it’s inspection–twice. Should be good-to-go today (Thursday) they tell us. We’ll check it out (again) before Saturday’s game.
Bullies Still Undefeated
“Boxing is like a more sophisticated version of hockey” — George Carlin
I believe we’re still undefeated in fights. I had the Flemming (LHV)-Wilson (WBS) match in the second period 10-8 on my card, in favor of Flemming.
First Month in the Books
That brings to a close the first month of Phantoms Hockey in the Lehigh Valley. The Phantoms have 9 points, good for third in the division behind co-leaders Hershey and Wilkes Barre with 10 each. Still anybody’s division. The Phantoms are 4-2-1 overall; 2-0-1 at home and 2-2 on the road. November will bring us 12 games: 7 at home and 5 on the road.
The Hartford Wolf Pack–Rangers by any other name–will be in town for a Saturday night tilt to open November. Should be alright for Fyten. (I just can’t stop myself…) Look for a “Hockey Night” post sometime Saturday afternoon. The Wolf Pack will arrive with an identical record to that of the Phantoms.
See you at the arena,
PS: Young folks from the Delaware Valley Jazz Band playing some Big Band standards in the “rotunda” area of the arena prior to the game. They sounded really good, and it was a nice touch. One piece of advice from an old Sax player, though: If you’re gonna play a solo, play it LOUD–nobody knows if the notes are right; just get it out there. :-)