With an overtime win last night, the Phantoms remain perfect on the season at 2-0. They’ll head back to their old stomping ice in Glens Falls tonight, to cap the home-and-home series with the Flames.
Here are my observations from last night:
- We arrived super-early to take in all the sites and sounds of the opening night. Because of our early arrival, we were able to park without the $6 fee. However, I would caution anyone using that as an every-game strategy: Depending on the type of parking you select (surface lot, garage, or meter) you’ll be subject to the same downtown parking rates and policies of the residents and employees who live and work downtown. That is, you’ll have to feed the meter or perhaps have a permit or daytime parking fee. Use caution, is all I’m saying: one ticket–or tow job–will more than cancel out any savings you might achieve. Best strategy that time of day (3:00-4:00) is probably to park at a meter and pay enough to last until 6:00PM.
- Chickie’s and Pete’s was not crowded at all when we arrived. We got a table and started ordering food and drinks from the menu. They didn’t have any crabs, clams or muscles, so we settled on lobster tails. We later learned that it wasn’t for lack of seafood delivery, but some kitchen equipment is yet to be installed due to a back-order or other delivery/installation delay. No matter. The food was good, the service was good, and the price was fair. Give the “Crabby Ale” (Victory) a try–it was very good!
- We didn’t stick around for the pregame show. We wanted to get to our seats to get the T-Shirts. Plus, you can’t always hear the show over the pop music, anyway. The other thing is, there aren’t a lot of tables or spots where you can sit to watch the show live–most of the seating is behind the stage or down on the other side of the entrance. No matter. We’ll be sure to explore that better in the future. You can enter the Arena straight from the restaurant with your game ticket once the gates open. You can even take your drink in, they told us, but no glass.
- I believe there were nice programs available at the entrance, but I didn’t see them or get one. I’ll have to make a point of that in the future. The guy next to me had one; it looked nicely done.
- As far as I could tell, there was no problem with the T-Shirt giveaway at the seats. They were all XL as far as I could determine–and I heard no complaints. Another nice side effect of having them on the seats was that it created the “orange out” even before everyone got to his/her seat! The shirts were nice Gildan heavy cotton, which are the standard theses days, and pretty ubiquitous.
- Here’s some video I shot with my phone. First, the scene at Chickie’s and Pete’s: http://embed.bambuser.com/broadcast/5006333
- Warm-ups from up in the Miller Lite Loft: http://embed.bambuser.com/broadcast/5006493
- meLVin’s intro: http://embed.bambuser.com/broadcast/5006525
- Player intros: http://embed.bambuser.com/broadcast/5006538
- It’s just low quality phone video and not the type of thing you would get from prohibited video equipment….but in case you weren’t there and you’re curious. Stuff looked WAY better in person, and they really did a good job with it.
- The game was a lot of fun, and the Phantoms game-day staff has made strides since the preseason with their presentation and between-action entertainment. Those video boards are really gorgeous and certainly add to the game-day experience.
- The Phantoms hired a professional “super-fan” to rev up the crowd. I’m not really certain how I feel about this–and I could tell he was a plant during the game. It’s a bit fake, but he did a reasonable job and people seemed to like him. Dude’s name is Cameron Hughes. Read more about him here.
- All-in-all a good time and a good win for the team. We saw many friends from the IronPigs and SteelHawks in the house. Some of them only because they were on the big screen (JimmyT!).
- Tonight’s game will be available on the radio, radio app, or via the AHL video package. Personally, I’ll be checking out the Sixers down at the arena. I’m not a fan, but I really want to see how they do basketball there. Should be fun. I was able to get internet access at the arena, so I’ll try to post as I can. If you’re listening, I’d be interested to hear what kind of reception the Phantoms get as they return to their previous home. Also of note, Anthony “StolieTheGoalie” Stolarz will make his professional debut in goal tonight, for the Phantoms.
- Here’s the call of the winning goal from last night, by radio voice Bob Rotruck: here
- Here’s last night’s official game story from Dan Fremuth and the Phantoms Media Dept:
Sold-Out PPL Center Crowd Treated to Instant Classic in Home Opener
October 17, 2014
Lehigh Valley, PA – “Today is such a great day for hockey,” Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ co-owner Jim Brooks said in a pre-game video in advance of Friday’s home opener at PPL Center. “And it’s a great day for the Lehigh Valley and Allentown.”
Little did Brooks know those words would foreshadow one of the most magical wins in franchise history as the Phantoms outlasted the Adirondack Flames 4-3 in overtime in front of a sold-out, standing-room-only crowd of 8,647 raucous fans in the regular season opener of the Inaugural Season of Phantoms hockey at PPL Center. Scott Laughton scored a pair of goals and Petr Straka also tallied while Shayne Gostisbehere contributed three assists.
The victory was the milestone 700th triumph in Phantoms history and the second in as many games in the Lehigh Valley era. With the win, the Phantoms (2-0-0, 4 pts.) are tied for first place in both the Eastern Conference and East Division.
“WE CAME HERE TO BUILD AN ARENA THAT WOULD BRING HIGH-QUALITY ENTERTAINMENT TO THE LEHIGH VALLEY,” BROOKS’ BROTHER AND FELLOW CO-OWNER ROB SAID. “AND TONIGHT WE’RE DELIVERING THAT.”
Fans were greeted by a bright orange spectacle upon their arrival to PPL Center. Commemorative Opening Night T-Shirts were arranged on every seat in the building as part of the team’s fun Orange Out promotion.
Then came the Opening Night ceremonies complete with swirling spotlights and smoke-machine as the Phantoms players were introduced one by one. After that came Allie Santos whose performance of the Star Spangled Banner was nothing short of spectacular. After a ceremonial puck-drop with Andrew Gordon of the Phantoms and Nolan Yonkman of the Flames we were ready to get started on an exciting, back-and-forth contest that was the perfect way to introduce the Lehigh Valley to the American Hockey League.
Partway into the game, SuperFan Cameron Hughes was featured on the video-board and pushed the enthusiasm of the crowd even further with T-Shirt tosses, screaming, funny dances, slow-claps and even a wave. It would be safe to say that the crazed cheerleader was a popular hit with the Phantoms fans.
Scott Laughton opened the scoring just past the midway point of the first period with the Phantoms first-ever regular season goal at PPL Center. Andrew Gordon and Taylor Leier assisted on the 20-year-old rookie’s power play tally that brought the sold-out PPL Center crowd, which was clad in orange, to its feet in unison. Laughton was a first-round selection of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012.
Adirondack evened the contest and claimed its first and only lead of the night with a pair of second period goals from Sena Acolatse and David Wolf but Lehigh Valley answered back with a flourish when Laughton pounded in his second goal of the game with just 45 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Gordon and Shayne Gostisbehere assisted on the game-tying tally, which once again brought the orange-clad Phantoms into a frenzy.
Both sides traded goals in the final period as Petr Straka netted his first goal of the season 2:26 into the third frame with assists from Nick Cousins and Zack Stortini before Dustin Stevenson launched in a controversial game-tying tally 4:44 into the period which was upheld upon official review.
But the Phantoms and their fans would have the final say in this one as Brandon Manning slapped in his third career overtime game-winner just 1:24 into sudden death overtime. Gostisbehere and Cousins assisted on the conversion, which capped an historic and magical night in downtown Allentown and brought the sold-out PPL Center crowd to its loudest and most energetic pitch of the evening.
Phantoms goaltender Rob Zepp earned his second victory of the season after 29 saves on 32 Adirondack shots. The 33-year-old netminder, who displayed incredible agility and resiliency Friday evening, is now 2-0 on the young season.
While the game was a wildly entertaining affair for the historic Opening Night game, the spectacular PPL Center facility itself was also featured. On hand to enjoy the big debut was the President and CEO of the American Hockey League, David Andrews.
“IT’S A SPECTACULAR BUILDING,” ANDREWS SAID. “IT’S REALLY BEEN WELL THOUGHT OUT. I’M VERY HAPPY FOR THE BROOKS GROUP WHO HAVE HAD THIS DREAM FOR ABOUT 10 YEARS NOW AND TO SEE IT TO COME TO FRUITION TONIGHT WITH OPENING NIGHT FOR THE PHANTOMS IS REALLY SPECIAL. THIS IS REALLY KIND OF A DREAM COME TRUE TO HAVE A FANTASTIC FACILITY LIKE THIS. TODAY’S A SPECIAL DAY FOR FANS HERE IN ALLENTOWN AND THE LEHIGH VALLEY AND I’M VERY HAPPY FOR THEM.”
Lehigh Valley is back in action tomorrow when the team heads up to Glens Falls, NY to complete its home-and-home series with the Flames. The team played in Glens Falls, NY for five seasons from 2009 to 2014 as the Adirondack Phantoms. A large crowd is expected at the Glens Falls Civic Center for the area’s only look at the team they had hosted and supported so well.
The Phantoms return to PPL Center next Friday evening when they renew their heated rivalry with the Hershey Bears. It will be the 185th all-time meeting between the Phantoms and Bears dating back to the beginning of the Philadelphia Phantoms in 1996.
Tickets for next Friday’s game and all regular season home games are on sale now at the Mealey’s Furniture Box Office at PPL Center (701 Hamilton Street), by calling 610-347-TIXX (8499) or logging on pplcenter.com.
Check it out! Don’t miss the action and fun of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey at PPL Center in downtown Allentown! Contact the Phantoms Front Office for information on season tickets and affordable partial-season plans by calling 610-224-GOAL (4625).
Adirondack Flames 3 at Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4 (OT)
Friday, October 17, 2014 – PPL Center
Adirondack 0 2 1 0 – 3
Lehigh Valley 1 1 1 1 – 4
1st Period-1, Lehigh Valley, Laughton 1 (Gordon, Leier), 11:59 (PP). Penalties-Stevenson Adk (interference), 2:59; Hathaway Adk (tripping), 7:09; Van Brabant Adk (tripping), 11:37; Hextall Lv (interference), 12:49; Stevenson Adk (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:53; Stortini Lv (checking to the head), 15:53.
2nd Period-2, Adirondack, Acolatse 1 (Granlund), 6:07 (PP). 3, Adirondack, Wolf 1 (Tousignant, Ramage), 10:44 (PP). 4, Lehigh Valley, Laughton 2 (Gordon, Gostisbehere), 19:15 (PP). Penalties-Rosehill Lv (roughing, roughing, misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 2:42; Lauridsen Lv (boarding), 4:12; Manning Lv (double minor – high-sticking), 7:36; Granlund Adk (cross-checking), 12:21; Stortini Lv (goaltender interference), 13:22; Van Brabant Adk (goaltender interference), 17:16; Stevenson Adk (hooking), 18:56.
3rd Period-5, Lehigh Valley, Straka 1 (Cousins, Stortini), 2:26. 6, Adirondack, Stevenson 1 (Granlund), 4:44. Penalties-Ramage Adk (hooking), 13:33.
OT Period-7, Lehigh Valley, Manning 1 (Gostisbehere, Cousins), 1:24. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Adirondack 6-14-11-1-32. Lehigh Valley 8-12-9-2-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 2 / 8; Lehigh Valley 2 / 7.
Goalies-Adirondack, Ortio 0-2-0 (31 shots-27 saves). Lehigh Valley, Zepp 2-0-0 (32 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Darcy Burchell (42), Jonathan Alarie (38).
Linesmen-Bob Fyrer (72), Bob Goodman (90).
Saturday, October 18 (7:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Adirondack Flames
Friday, October 24 (7:05) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms. A renewal of one of the great rivalries in the American Hockey League!