It’s another Saturday Night, and another Hockey Night in Allentown–this time with a football twist. Here’s what you need to know to get ready for the Penguins and Phantoms at the PPL Center tonight.
Stolarz. Photo: Cheryl Pursell
In last weekend’s “three-in-three” the Phantoms came out soft up in Wilkes Barre against a Penguins team who had their roster ravaged by injuries and call-ups. Some credited a hard-charging Pens team, but quotes from a befuddled Terry Murray told another story: Poor play by the Phantoms. The Spirits came out last Saturday in Allentown with increased intensity. A chippy start to the game with the Sound Tigers demonstrated a renewed intensity. Unfortunately the team squandered a one-goal lead in the third period and finished by losing the shootout. A rematch the next afternoon in Connecticut brought victory as Jason Akeson erupted for four points on the day–2 goals and 2 assists–in the 5-3 win.
Last Saturday was the inaugural “Teddy Toss” at the PeoPLe Center. The Phantoms collected some 1,700 stuffed toys for the Valley Youth House. Contrast it with the 17 THOUSAND they got in Hershey on the same night, and we have some work to do, folks! Nevertheless, a neat idea and a good cause. Here’s Cheryl’s video from our game:
Last night in Binghamton (“Bimington” is how they say it where I grew up…) the Phantoms began this weekend’s three-game marathon with a tilt versus the number one scoring offense in the AHL. The B-Sens’ scoring prowess showed as they took 40-shots on our veteran net-minder, Zepp. Many of the shots must have looked like “Tangerines” though as he was able to stop 37 of them. The wraiths were able to take 35 themselves, though. Unfortunately only an early Stortini put-back made it in, and the game result was a 3-1 loss. There were a couple fights last night, and the game was a bit “chippy” at times. Stortini put the beat down on one Sens player who was then ejected (his second fight of the game) to add insult to his injury. It will be interesting to see if there are any “rematches” when the Sens come to town on Wednesday.
The Phantoms now go from facing the league’s best scoring offense to the league’s best scoring defense as the rival Penguins arrive at the PPL Center. The Baby Pens pummeled the Sound Tigers 4-1 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, last night.
The roster has been relatively stable of late with Jesper Pettersson receiving a couple of healthy scratches on the defensive side, and Jay Rosehill getting a couple breaks on the offensive side. However, both were back in the lineup last night. Jason Akeson was moved to the second line with Cousins and Straka. Akeson had that big afternoon last Sunday, but was quiet last night. I expect Zepp to take the Pens to the “Gallow’s Pole” in goal tonight, with Stolarz getting the start down-the-shore tomorrow. In Philly, veteran Centerman Ryan White has been cleared for contact and could be sent to Allentown for some “warm up” games. Absent that, it could be Chris VandeVelde, whom we haven’t seen since the opening game. With the arrival of a forward, we might expect Derek Mathers to return to Reading, although AHL roster rules do not require it, such as in baseball.
Lines and Pairings from Last Night:
Leier – Jones – Stortini
Akeson – Cousins – Straka
Powe – Goumas – Gordon
Rosehill – Fyten – Hextall
Manning – Alt
Hagg – Delisle
Lauridsen – Pettersson
Time: Puck drops at 7:05PM; Gates open at 6:00PM
Broadcast: TV2 and FMZ69 for local TV; AHL online package for internet video; 1470AM for radio; IHeartRadio.com for internet audio; 89.9FM in the building.
Tickets: This game is expected to be a sellout. Standing Room Only tickets are already available via the PPLCenter.com web site. They don’t usually make them available until most seats have sold.
Promo: It’s FOOTBALL NIGHT as the Phantoms host a “Tailgate Party” to support the Eagles who face the much-hated Dallas Cowboys in Philadelphia tomorrow. The “Go Birds” theme will feature guest appearances by former Eagles Jeremiah Trotter and Brian Baldinger. Baldinger was born in Pittsburgh and also played for the Cowboys, so if you have a chance, check his loyalty during the game 😉 Trotter is from Texas, but after years in the NFC East, I can’t imagine he has any affinity for the Cowboys. The Eagles’ Cheerleaders will also be in attendance (memo to Jimmy T and our buddy Jared…). Although the event is promoted as an “appearance” I imagine all will be available for autographs and photos for those interested. The Phantoms will also wear special “Eagles” themed jerseys which will be auctioned off after the game.
I’ve been asked several times about the mechanism of the auction. I do not know. However, if I have to guess I’d suppose it will be the clipboard method used in IronPigs days of yore. (Watch out for blocking and pen stealing.) When the Phantoms had an auction in Philadelphia last year, this is the method they used.
There will be a “Mr Rooter Puck Toss” after the game. Toss some pucks onto the ice for a chance to win prizes! I imagine pucks will be available for purchase about the concourse.
The Hot Dog promo continues: watch for a special sticker on your carton for the chance to win a prize.
What to Watch For At the Game:
- Watch for the Phantoms to attempt to duplicate the energy they displayed last night in Binghamton.
- Watch to see if the second line of Akeson-Cousins-Straka can get anything going. They were quiet on the scoreboard last night.
- Watch to see how much those jerseys go for. I’ll be interested to find out. I bet it will be A LOT. Watch for fights to break out near the clipboard tables. Maybe fasten your fight strap…
- Watch for that Leblond dude from Scranton (Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, or PL3) to get into a fight with Stortini
- For WBS, forwards Bobby Farnham and Bryan Rust were called up to the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night, while Forward Jason Megna was send back to WBS. Megna should be in the game tonight.
- The Spirits head back to AC to face a well-rested Albany team as they complete their three-in-three tomorrow afternoon.
- Wednesday Night is another Hockey Night in Allentown as the B-Sens arrive for Hanukkah Night.
- Next Friday is another home game, and T-Shirt giveaway, on “Ugly Sweater Night” with the Hershey Bears in town.
See you at the arena,