“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”
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…. 😉
See you at the arena,