STEELHAWKS JR. FOOTBALL LEAGUE RETURNS @PPLCenter

Opportunity for Youth Teams to Play Inside the New PPL Center
Bethlehem, PA:

The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Jr. Football League (SJFL) returns for its second season with games being played inside the brand new PPL Center this year. Domino’s Pizza returns as a proud founding sponsor of the league. This season St. Luke’s Sports & Human Performance Center will also host some outside arena combines for the participants and Bishop Photography will be on hand at each game to give the kids and parents professional photos of the participants in play. The league aims to give local youth football teams the opportunity to learn more about the indoor arena football game by providing a league that follows that same style of play. All games will take place during the Steelhawks’ spring 2015 PIFL season that begins at the end of March.

The league is sanctioned by the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks professional indoor football team whose mission will be helping to bring the indoor arena football experience to the Valley’s youth by offering a full contact, tackle football league using an arena rules format. The league will feature one division, of 4th- 6th grades; of tackle football teams that can now enjoy the excitement of indoor arena football inside the Steelhawks new home, the PPL Center.

The 2014 inaugural season was a huge success and it saw four teams and more than 60 kids take part. This season, there could be more than 100 players participating and a few teams have already pre-registered for it. Games will take place morning and early afternoons of selected 2015 Steelhawks home games. Players must register as part of a team with a designated coach (individuals may contact the league directors to register as an individual). There is a $140 fee per player that includes a customized youth team jersey, Steelhawks End Zone Level season ticket pass for all Steelhawks home games inside PPL Center, a scheduled team session with St. Luke’s Strength and Conditioning Coaches, a spot at the SJFL Skills Camp with Steelhawks players and coaches, and each team will play a minimum of 4 games inside the new PPL Center arena on our brand new field.

For all registered team coaches, there will be a pre-season information seminar that will go through all the relevant league information and schedules. Teams only need to consist of 12 or more members and can only practice up to 4 hours a week when the season starts. Steelhawks coaches and staff will also be conducting a short SJFL 101 crash course on the rules and procedures of the league.

Each player will be receiving one (1) Steelhawk End Zone Level Season Ticket. There is a Special Offer for SJFL families to purchase additional season tickets at a discounted price (price to be announced at a later date).

Co-League Director and Founder, Head Coach Chris Thompson, has big plans for the 2015 SJFL, “We have achieved so much in the last four years as a Professional Indoor arena football team and the upcoming 2015 season and move into the new arena allows us to grow our style of football and brand, to an even wider array of families and kids in and around the Lehigh Valley. We can’t wait for the start of our 2015 season to get here, play in the new PPL Center, and watch all of the kids, parents, coaches, and youth programs associated with our SJFL enjoy it as much as we will. There is not an opportunity out there like this for our kids.”

Similarly, Co-League Director and Game Day Coordinator Lauren Petri is just as excited for the second season of the SJFL, “This is a great opportunity for kids around the Valley to experience the game of arena indoor football. Being able to play inside the new PPL Center on a professional field is a unique experience that you can’t find anywhere else.”

To learn more about the SJFL visit http://www.lvsteelhawks.com/sjfl. If you have any questions please contact league directors Lauren Petri, lpetri@lvsteelhawks.com, or Head Coach Chris Thompson, cthompson@lvsteelhawks.com.

Steelhawks’ season tickets are available now. We hope to everyone inside the PPL Center this season for the Steelhawks 5th season! Keep checking for the latest news and events from the Steelhawks! For further information please call Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Clark at (610) 282-3100, or visit our website at http://www.LVSteelhawks.com for the latest Steelhawks news! 2015 Season Ticket packages are now on sale! Reserve your seat now by calling the Steelhawks office at 610-282-3100.

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Hockey Night in Allentown: 11/29/2014 “Sick Again”

“Hours, hours, and the moments in between…”

–Led Zeppelin, “Sick Again”

——

Andrew Gordon and Rob Zepp Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Andrew Gordon and Rob Zepp
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Team Update:  

Maybe not a fair title, but rock solid veteran goalie Rob “Zepper” Zepp sustained a “lower body” injury during warm-ups Wednesday night and became a late injury scratch with rookie prospect Anthony Stolarz taking over netminding duties.  Zepp remained dressed for the game, but afterwards we learned that he was not available to back up Stolarz.  It would have been a player taking over in the case of a “Stolie” injury.  Manning?  Hextall?!?  One can only speculate.

In any case, Stolarz will be the “every night” goalie for now, and first-year pro Martin Ouellette was called up from Reading for support.  Zepp’s injury is said to be about a “7 day” term–or much shorter than Ten Years Gone.

Defenceman Mark Alt returned to action in Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to Springfield.  I thought he looked a bit rusty, but his continued presence should aid the Phantoms defense as well as special teams units.

24-year old winger Jason Akeson  is back with the Phantoms after passing through waivers from the Flyers on Friday.  His presence should help in the offensive end.  He scored 24 goals to go along with 40 assists last year in 70 games with the Phantoms.  He was in the lineup last night in Atlantic City.   In turn, Brandon Alderson was reassigned to Reading.  Alderson’s been a decent AHL player over the past season and a half, but I felt he was one of the players guilty of taking too many “sloppy” penalties of late.  Perhaps a couple of games in Reading getting “back to basics” and he’ll return to form for the Phantoms.

Brett Hextall instigated some end-of-game extracurriculars last night in the down-the-shore game, which may result in his suspension for tonight.  That will obviously impact the lines.  Alderson could return, I suppose, if they want an extra.  Things in a bit of flux with players coming and going, so it will be interesting to see what tonight holds.  I’d love to post the lines each “Hockey Night” post, but it seems they don’t usually announce them until I’m in the arena.  Another note from last night:  Jesper Pettersson had the night off.  The young Swede hadn’t had his name mentioned much lately, but for a defenceman, sometimes that’s a good thing.  At any rate, here’s what the lines and pairings looked like last night:

Leier  –  Jones  –  Stortini

Straka  –  Cousins  –  Gordon

Akeson  –  Powe  –  Hextall

Rosehill  –  Goumas  –  Fyten

Manning  –  Delisle

Alt  –  Hagg

Lauridsen  –  Flemming

Stolarz

 

Looking Back / Standings:

The Phantoms played some uninspired hockey in front of Stolie Wednesday night and dug themselves into a 3-0 hole against one of the top teams in the AHL, Springfield.  Junior and I bailed at the second intermission, only to have the team come back without us.  Goals by “Diesel” Delisle and Taylor Leier brought the Phantoms to within 3-2, but ultimately they fell short.  Both goals were Power Play goals, which is nice to see.  That unit had been struggling of late.  The late surge seemed to be fueled at least partially by Manning’s two tussles.

Friday night in Atlantic City, a pro-Phantoms crowd, for an Albany Devils “home” game saw the Phantoms again dig a 3-0 hole.  This time all in the first period as they were also losing on shots 14-6.  Stolie was lifted for newcomer Martin Ouellette after the first, and the Phantoms rallied.  Alas, it was too little too late as the wraiths succumbed to the lucifers 4-2.  They led on shots over the last two periods, combined 23-12, but only a power-play goal by 20 year-old Taylor Leier–the new team leader–and a tally by Petr Straka found the back of the net in the 4-2 loss.

The Phantoms drop to fourth place in the East with a record of 8-8-2 and 18 points.  The Baby Pens still lead the division with 24 points, but have played three more games.

 

Tonight’s Game:

The Norfolk Admirals are in town for an East Division battle.  The Admirals are in last place in the East Division.

Game Time:  7:05PM,  Doors: 6:00PM

Broadcast:  TV2, FMZ69, 1470AM, IHearRadio.com

PreGame:   6:20PM Radio, 6:30PM TV2, 5:00PM NoiseNation Pre-Game dinner/discussion at Chickie’s and Pete’s with Kram209, DiPro, and Kram III.

Program:  I think we’re on a new program recently.  Perhaps check out a new copy if you haven’t in the past few games.  They are $2.

Promotion:   Poster giveaway (all fans) and post-game autograph session.  Players will be available on the concourse following the game for 30-45 minutes of autographs.  (I believe league rules state that the team cannot keep the players for more than 45 minutes following the game.  It’s unclear if this includes time for them to shower and report to the concourse.  One report said “30 minutes” for the autograph session.  We’ll see.  Leave it for the kiddos, please.  I mean, unless Nick Cousins wants to sign my jersey.)

Tickets:    As of Friday lunch, good seats still available.  However, I do expect it to be near a sellout for seats.  Thus far, it appears that they put “SRO” tickets on sale only after all the seats have sold, and you may have to contact the ticket office directly (by phone or in person) to acquire them until the web site gets updated.  Ultimately, I’m not sure if they’ve they’ve really had to turn folks away yet, so a trip downtown reasonably early to purchase tickets at the window seems to be a safe option–without real fear of being turned away.  At least that’s my perception at this juncture.

 

What to Watch For:

Watch for lines that combine youth and experience, strength and speed.  Watch for the team to come out HOT, as continued uninspired play early in games won’t be tolerated.  Watch for continued development of the Power Play units.  Watch for sloppy-type penalties, or lack thereof.  Watch to see how Stolarz responds to becoming the regular goalie, and how he responds to getting yanked last night.  Watch for Pettersson to return to the lineup.  Watch to see if Hexy gets suspended.  Watch to see if Akeson can get us a goal tonight.

 

Coming Up:

The ghost-ish ones have their second “3-in-3″ next weekend.  They’ll start in Wilkes-Barre Friday night, home/away for Bridgeport on Saturday at PPL and Sunday afternoon in Connecticut.  Any crazy fans out there?  The Friday night game is only an hour or so away and the Bridgeport 3PM game is only 2hrs and 45mins away–and you don’t even have to worry about getting lost in the woods of Rhode Island!

 

See you at the arena,

@Kram209

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Hockey Night in Allentown: 11/26/2014 “Giving Thanks”

“Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the [hockey] is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go”


     –Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

—–

In the United States, this is the weekend we pause to give thanks.  And, to go shopping.  So I thought I’d depart from my usual Game Day post format to list some of the things I’m thankful for, as it applies to the Phantoms in particular, on this coming day of giving thanks.

  1. I’m thankful for snow removal.  Once upon a time, long ago and far away, I lived in Erie, PA.  That winter it snowed every darn day.  I know, because I didn’t have a garage and I had to brush off my car.  But you wouldn’t know from the roads:  Those folks out there know how to clear snow, and they have the equipment and budget to do it.  I didn’t miss a day of work.  So here’s to the plow guys!  Get that snow off the roads so that I can make it to the game tonight.  And, make it home, optimally.
  2. I’m thankful for weather.com.  Even before Erie, there was a time before the internet.  A time when I couldn’t get cable TV and lived too far from anywhere to even get a newspaper delivered. The weather was available on broadcast TV during the 6PM news and the 11PM news.  That’s it.  Maybe the radio if you’re desperate.  Now I’m refreshing my weather.com app constantly to prepare for the game tonight.  I thought this would only happen during IronPigs season…
  3. I’m thankful for Jim and Rob Brooks.   There were a lot of moving parts and a lot of planets that aligned to bring hockey to Allentown.  It didn’t all happen perfectly–and some of it was a bit shady.  But, it happened.  It took the Brooks brothers to have the vision to purchase the team long before there was an arena or financing or anything guaranteed.  You did it fellas. Thank you.
  4. I’m thankful for the Miller Lite Loft.   It’s really cool up there.  Wait.  On second thought.  Never mind.  Don’t ever go up there; I don’t want it to get too crowded.
  5. I’m thankful for the downtown Police presence.  There was an article in the newspaper last weekend about all the overtime the City of Allentown is paying for the Police coverage for the arena events.  I hope they’re not tempted to cut back.  I haven’t talked to anyone who has felt unsafe attending these events.  Security in the arena zone needs to remain a top priority.  Hey, they’ve got all those parking fees, right?  Hire a couple extra guys and keep up the good work.
  6. I’m thankful for Service Electric.   I don’t have the exact algebra on the deal, but I have a feeling that having every IronPigs home game and every Phantoms home game and every SteelHawks home game on Cable TV is a factor in the success of these teams.  I think it’s great for generating awareness and support in the community.  And this is coming from a DirecTV guy.
  7. I’m thankful for fighting in hockey.   I’m not a hockey purist.  Far from it.  But I’ve seen it in person now:  Fighting helps the players police themselves. A fight can fire up a crowd or fire up a team or a little of both.  Far worse injuries could happen if the players didn’t have the opportunity to settle differences via legal fisticuffs.  It’s a deterrent to cheap hits and dirty play, too.
  8. I’m thankful for authentic jerseys.   I’m less and less willing to wear replica jerseys these days.  They’re cheaply made, and overpriced.  I’ll pay  a little extra and get the real McCoy.  I guess I’m thankful for EBay too, in this department, as a source of authentic Phantoms gear (C’mon team store.  You can do it!)
  9. I’m thankful for season ticket holder discounts.   We should pay less for our tickets, and we do.  That’s the way it’ meant to be.  It’s like a magazine subscription, you know…  Anyway, thankful for the “love” from the teams, Phantoms here as well as SteelHawks and the now annual loaded ticket credit from the IronPigs.
  10. I’m thankful for friends and family.   I love going to the games and I love the competition on the field (ice).  But having folks to visit with and share it with makes it just that much better.  It’s great seeing some familiar faces from the IronPigs about the arena, but we’re making new friends as well.  The arena is young, but we’re making it our own, Allentown, slowly (?) but surely.  I’m thankful for all  the folks involved.

See you at the arena, with boots on….

@Kram209

PS:

Oh yeah, there’s a hockey game tonight.  Snow or shine, I suppose.  Be safe.  But, $2.00 Coors Light drafts from 6PM until the end of the second intermission.  Also, you win a prize if your hot dog carton has a “lucky dog” sticker on it.  Game is same Bat Time and same Bat Channel.  Springfield is in town.  They’re supposed to be good.

“We come from the land of the ice and snow…”–Rob Zepp in goal tonight.  Also, Mark Alt might be back; he’s been cleared for contact and practicing all week.  Look for the Phantoms to try and get their power play back on track.  If it’s a small crowd, let’s all get loud just the same, OK?  Go Phantoms!  “Valhalla, I am coming!”  –Led Zeppelin

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Phantoms + Snow

We’ve had plenty of experience around here with “IronPigs + Rain.”  By now, we know the rain policy, the rain date rules, and the strategies to use on days where the weather may play a role, and so on.

But what about snow, huh?  How about if it’s snowing like crazy, will the Phantoms cancel the game tonight?

The truth is, I don’t really know.  But, I can take a really good guess (and, I can update this post once we get something “official” as to policy.)  Worcester at Portland has already been canceled for tonight…

  1. The game will be on.  Right up until it’s not.  If you ask or call or look online, everything will say that the game is ON 100%.  Then, they’ll cancel it if they decide to, later.  And they probably won’t.  Just like the IronPigs, canceling doesn’t really help anybody:  rescheduling is extremely difficult and they’ll avoid it at all  costs.  They’ll also want to avoid:  costs.  Hotel rooms and travel for another trip will be considered.
  2. “But, how am I gonna know?”  The internet is your friend.  Especially social media.  Follow the Phantoms on Twitter and Facebook, and refresh the web page before you leave.  That will be quicker than trying to get through to the staff on the phone.
  3. “What will be the factors in the decision?”  One of the biggest factors is the opposing team:  if they’re in town already–along with the officials–then the game will likely be played, fans or not.  It may also will have to do with the roads and the government.  If the State or the City declares a “State of Emergency” or imposes travel restrictions, that could be a factor.  Springfield is in town for tonight’s game, already, so I’m assuming that they’ll play.
  4. “When will they make it up if it’s canceled?  Will they play a double-header?”  Trying to play two hockey games in one day would be insane–but a web search will reveal that individuals have done it.  I believe this is Springfield’s only visit to Allentown this season.  I suppose they could possibly tack on a game when they’re near by playing Hershey or Wilkes-Barre or something.  The truth is, though, they don’t usually cancel if they can help it, so there’s no clear precedent.

Hope this helps.  I’ll update this post at some point in the future.  I imagine IronPigs employees who now work for the Phantoms are either smiling knowingly, or resigned to a day of answering phones with, “Hi, thank you for calling the Phantoms.  The game tonight is still on.”

Be careful driving–leave a little extra time, and I’ll

See you at the arena,

@Kram209

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Hockey Night in Allentown 11/22/2014: “Stoli Shots”

Thursday night I was at Black Forest Deli (official Deli of the Noise Nation) in Bethlehem for one of their “Kiev Night” dinners.  Five courses of Russian cuisine served family style to celebrate NoiseNation Dan’s birthday.  It was an awesome time with family and friends, and the food was outstanding; I highly recommend that you try it some time.  And, there was vodka.  It’s not my drink, but when in Kiev…. Let’s just say I had a couple Stoli shots and you didn’t have to twist my arm too hard.

Last Night

The Worcester Sharks took some shots at “Stolie The Goalie” last night in Allentown.  They didn’t have as good a time.  Rookie Goaltender prospect Anthony Stolarz, in his first game starting at home, got his first pro win and his first pro shutout.  He earned it, too, at the end.  I caught the last few minutes of the game on TV, and the 5-on-3 saves he was making were tremendous.  The Phantoms won the game 4-0 as Blair Jones continues to put up points–this time via assists.

Standings

The Phantoms are now 8-6-1, remain in third place and gain a game on idle Hershey (8-6-1-1) in the standings, but remain behind first-place Wilkes Barre who also won (in Albany).

Team

Andrew Johnston was returned to Reading prior to the game.  He hadn’t been receiving much ice time of late, and with Brett Hextall’s return, he needs to play.  Mark Alt is skating but not practicing yet with his upper body (shoulder) injury.  He’s probably a week or more away.  The lines and pairings have remained relatively stable.

There was speculation on the post-game show last night if Murray might keep Stolie in there and ride the hot hand for tonight’s game with St. Johns.  However, it’s more likely it will be the Zepper between the pipes.  You never know, though, I could be a “Fool in the Rain.”

Ten Point Must

I believe we may have lost our first fight last night.  I understand Oliver Lauridsen took it pretty hard early on, but then exacted his revenge later.  Would someone who was there confirm for me?

Tonight’s Game

The St. John’s Ice Caps are in town.  That’s a hike if you ever want to look it up on a map.  The IceCaps are the affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets, and have been playing better hockey of late.  Many of their games have been close–overtime is a common theme with them.

Game Time:   7:05PM

Doors:   6:00PM

Broadcast:    TV:  TV2, WFMZ-69     RADIO:  1470AM, IHearRadio.com, 89.9FM (arena)

Tickets:  Last night was a “sell out” (all 8420 seats sold, SRO), and tonight could be as well–research at press time reveals General Admission only–and you might have to call or visit the ticket window rather than buy online.

Promotion:    Mo-vember weekend continues.  Phantoms wives and girlfriends will be on hand on the concourse to paint mustaches for those who donate to the cause.  Free prostate exams will be available near the IceCaps’ bench.  Just Kidding!  But your ticket stub may get you the free exam at another time and place.  Details here.  If you’re an adult, and you get a mustache painted on, and you get pulled over on the way home, please let me know how you explained to the officer that you WEREN’T drinking at the game…

PreGame:    TV: 6:30PM TV2, Radio: 6:20PM 1490AM (and as above), NoiseNation: Chickie’s and Pete’s TBA

What to Watch For

Can the Phantoms stay out of the penalty box?  Can Zepp continue “Wearing and Tearing”?  Can the Phantoms play hard for the third time this week?  In other weeks they’ve come out a bit flat in game three…  Can the Phantoms continue to dominate at home?  They’re now 5-1-1 I believe!

Looking Ahead

The home stand concludes on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, versus the Springfield Falcons (Columbus).  There’s no promotion but good seats still remain.  Black Friday, the Phantoms will be in Atlantic City to face the Albany Devils, and return the following night (Thanksgiving Saturday) to face Norfolk at the PeoPLe Center for Autograph Night.

See you at the arena,

@Kram209

(Powe “feature” photo courtesy Cheryl Pursell)

 

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Hockey Night in Allentown: 11/21/2014 “Shoot to Thrill”

“I can’t get enough and I can’t get my fill
Shoot to thrill…”

–AC/DC

—–

Kevin Goumas takes the face off. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Kevin Goumas takes the face off.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Looking Back:

A thriller in Allentown on Wednesday night saw the Phantoms defeat the Hershey Bears 3-2 in an overtime with shoot-out.  It was our first experience with the shoot-out in Allentown, and even the officials weren’t sure how many rounds it was going to go (three, it turns out).  Ultimately, Blair Jones, on loan from the Flyers, provided the sparks.  He sent a superb pass across the net in the first period which was easily buried from the back door by Andrew Gordon.  He also scored the winning goal in the shoot-out.  But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give “All My Love” to Rob Zepp.  The Zepper just continues to stone in the goal, allowing his defenders to support the charge and take chances.  Despite super play this season from Laughton (in Philly right now), Gostisbehere (injured right now), and Cousins, it would be “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” if I didn’t list Zepp as our MVP at this early season juncture.

Home (Ice), Sweet Home (Ice):

I’ve heard and read quotes from the Phantoms’ coaches and players ad nauseam about what a beautiful building the PPL Center is, and how great the fans are and all of that.  And it’s not that I don’t believe them or appreciate the sentiment (or the gorgeous building..).  However, at some point it does feel a bit like lip service.  It’s the cliche thing to say:  “We love it here.  The fans are great.  It really gives us a lift.”  OK.  Fine.  Go out and win us some hockey games fellas…

And, they have.  Let’s take a quick look back at the home season thus far:

10/17:  4-3 OT Win

10/24: 4-2 Win (Come from behind)

10/29: 2-1 OT Loss

11/1: 4-2 Loss

11/15: 3-2 Win

11/19: 3-2 OT Win (ShootOut)

So that’s a 4-2 record, with 9 of a possible 12 standings points.  There have been 3 overtime games with 1 loss, 1 win, and 1 shoot-out win.  Of the 6 games, 4 have been decided by 1 point, while the other two have been by 2 points each.

That’s some exciting hockey, my friends (he says foreshadowing to a future post due out next week…).  I’m gonna just keep drinking that Crabby Ale because it’s obviously good luck!

Standings:

Stacking wins together will go a long way towards climbing in the standings.  With another two points Wednesday night, the Phantoms remain in third place in the East Division of the Eastern Conference of the AHL, with 15 points.  They trail Wilkes Barre (21) and Hershey (18), but have still played only 14 games to 16 for Hershey and 18 for WBS.

Team Report:

The lineup appears stable from Wednesday night.  We’ll see if Blair Jones remains on the top line, but he certainly played well enough.  It was confirmed yesterday that Anthony Stolarz will start in goal in one of these two games Friday and Saturday, but we’ll have to wait to find out which one.

I won’t be at the game tonight, but I will try to tweet or re-tweet the lines prior to the start of the game.

Tonight’s Game:

Welcome the Worcester Sharks for one of their two visits to Allentown this season–They’ll be back in February.  The Sharks had been one of the highest-scoring teams in the AHL for a while, but have recently lost three straight games.  They’re in second place in the Atlantic Division with a 8-6-1 record.

Broadcast:  TV2/AM1470/FM89.9(arena only)

PreGame:   6:00PM Gates; 6:20PM Radio PreGame; 6:30PM TV2 PreGame Live from Chickie’s and Pete’s

Promotion:   Orange “Mo-vember” T-Shirts for all.  They will be on the seats.

Tickets:    Seats are going fast today.  Order them up if you need them.  It’s not clear how they’ll handle the shirts for GA folks if it comes to that.  Ticket software still promoting Wednesday’s Thanksgiving Eve game with “add-on” promotion.

Phantoms Mo-vember T-Shirts for all fans Friday November 21 versus the Worcester Sharks!

Phantoms Mo-vember T-Shirts for all fans Friday November 21 versus the Worcester Sharks!

Looking Ahead:

Phantoms back in action TOMORROW night at the PPL Center!  It’s our first Home-Ice back-to-back!  Mo-vember weekend continues with face-painting moustaches done by the Phantoms’ Wives and Girlfriends!

See you at the arena (tomorrow, anyway)

@Kram209

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Hockey Night in Allentown: 11/19/2014: “Back in the High Life”

“But when you’re born to run
It’s so hard to just slow down
So don’t be surprised to see me
Back in that bright part of town

I’ll be back in the high life again”

–Steve Winwood

——–

Oliver Lauridsen Looks On Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Oliver Lauridsen Looks On
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Looking Back:

The Phantoms are coming off a much-needed win on Saturday night, when they defeated the Toronto Marlies 3-2.  It was a hard-fought contest, and although there was only one official fight, tempers boiled over after horns blew several times–including at the end of the game.  And, speaking of the end of the game:  The Marlies had a 5-on-3 for the last minute or so, and pulled the goalie to have 6-on-3.  It was the first time I’d ever seen that.  The Phantoms triangle–chiefly Hagg, Manning, and Powe I believe–were diving in front of pucks like it was the Stanley Cup finals.  Rob Zepp with another good game in the goal, and the good guys came away with the two points for the much-needed win.

Here’s a video review of the past game, if you can get it to load–look for the Hagg block near the end:  perhaps a game-saving play, it happened right in front of us:

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/embed?playlist=674779&site=flyers

Standings:

The Phantoms are back to third place in the AHL East Division of the Eastern Conference with a 6-6-1 record and 13 points.  They trail first-place Wilkes-Barre by six points, but having played four fewer games.  A couple times now, I’ve heard players from the team state that they expect to be a winning team and a playoff team.  I’m happy to hear them talk like that so early in the season.  Certainly, there’s a ton of hockey left to play, but that’s a nice goal to set for the new franchise. (I certainly don’t remember any IronPigs players talking about the International League playoffs in May…)

Hershey comes in 8-6-1 and in second place having played two more games.  The Phantoms are 1-1 on the season versus the Bears having won an overtime contest at the PeoPLe Center and got shutout by the Bears at the Giant Center.

Team:

Could tonight be the night we get to see “Stoly the Goalie” in the net, at home, for the first time?  I’d think so.

Gostisbehere‘s surgery went well, according to all reports.  It was ACL only, as no other ligaments were damaged.  The senior Hextall related that Ghost should be back on the ice in 3 to 3 1/2 months.  That seems a little optimistic to me, and remember just because he’s on the ice doesn’t mean he’s playing in hockey games.  However, if this team remains competitive, there’s at least the possibility that we have him in games for the stretch run and the playoffs.  Above all, good luck to Shayne in his recovery and rehabilitation.

Mark Alt was back in practice on Monday.  He’ll still need doctor’s clearance for full contact and hockey games, but it sounds like he’s at least progressing.  Brett Hextall has been close for some time, I’ve heard.  Perhaps tonight will be the night we get him back on the ice.

Scott Laughton was recalled last night, to the Flyers.  The former first-round pick has appeared with the Flyers before, at the start of the strike-shortened 2012-2013 season.  In return, the Flyers have loaned center Blair Jones to the Phantoms.  Jones had not been getting much playing time in Philly, and had already cleared waivers.

It will be interesting to see how the lines shake out with Laughton going up and with Jones–maybe rusty, but–needing playing time.  Follow along on Twitter for lines and pairings closer to game time.

Ten-Point Must System

I had the Mathers fight at 10-10 Saturday night.  I still don’t think we’ve lost a fight, but I’m not sure we won that one, either.

Tonight’s Game:

Broadcast:   1470AM, IHeartRadio.com, TV-2, 89.9FM (in the arena)

Tickets:      Decent seats are still available at press time.  As an aside, a pop-up will allow you to purchase tickets to a designated future game (next Wednesday) at a “discounted rate.”  As far as I can tell, the rate was the normal advance rate, saving the “day of game” premium.

Parking:  No problems to report.  Follow @AtownParking on Twitter for excellent updates and advice.  They’ll respond quickly, too, if you’ve a question or problem.  Some continued confusion over the “Linden Street Garage:”  If you look at the map below, they are referring to the arena garage as “Linden Street.”  Meanwhile, the parking authority has a garage in the Sixth Street block labeled as “Linden Street.”  This becomes important if you are purchasing advanced parking pass.  We’ll investigate.

Pre-Game:  Pregame on the radio at 6:20PM with Bob Rotruck.  The TV-2 folks host a pregame from Chickie’s and Pete’s at 6:30PM.  DiPro and I should be enjoying a pre-game “Crabby Ale” at Chickie’s early on, then move to the Miller Lite Loft to hang with Jorge until game time.

Promotion:  None.  But there is a hockey game!  That’s enough, right?

What to look for:

After several straight games yielding over 40 shots, the Phantoms’ D has solidified allowing just 23 last Friday and 30 to the Marlies. Look for the Phantoms to continue to try to limit scoring chances (obviously..).  And penalties.  It still feels like a combination of a tough team being targeted by officials and a sloppy team getting penalized a bit too much.  Add in the feisty Bears, and we could see some fisticuffs tonight–along with the corresponding power plays.  The coaching staff is making silly penalties a talking point this week, so perhaps more disciplined tonight.  We’ll see.

Watch for C Blair Jones to get all the playing time he can handle–but we’ll wait and see if he gets the top-line spot.  We’ll watch to see if the Phantoms can generate quality shots and goals without their best goal scorer, Laughton.  Look for Manning to continue to take shots coming forward from the defensive zone, as he seems to be the chief defender to get involved in the offense at this point.  Look for updates on the injured players:  Hextall and Alt, and perhaps Goumas, who took a puck to the grill late in Saturday night’s game.

Looking Ahead:

Friday will kick off “Mo-vember” weekend with a T-Shirt night versus the Worcester Sharks.  The weekend will continue with the first back-to-back home dates of the season on Saturday.  Phantoms’ wives and girlfriends will be helping out with face-painting (ostensibly for the kiddos, but hey, I’ve been called a “face painter” before so…–might be the only way for me to acquire a decent mustache, you know?) as the awareness weekend continues.  St. Johns will be in town for that game.

Arena Stuff:

Noticed this new, improved, concourse map.  Click to see it bigger, I think.  It’s much better than the one I had to draw on before…. ;)

better arena map

See you at the arena,

@Kram209

 

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