After two weekends of “Three-in-TwoAndAHalf” the Phantoms got two days off and now welcome the Binghamton Senators. Here’s what you need to know about tonight’s game at the PPL Center in Downtown Allentown, PA:
The Phantoms gathered three of a possible six points in last weekend’s three games. They finished strong against a rested Devils Team down-the-shore, in their second straight overtime game following the shootout win versus the Pens last Saturday at home. Nick Cousins was the hero in the shootout, scoring the winning goal with an ankle-breaking move to an open net. Here’s a Vine of it, if I can get it to load:
(Credit: Broad Street Hockey’s Twitter account for the Vine)
The overtime loss to the Devils in AC on Sunday saw the Phantoms come from down 1-0 to tie it at 1-1 and take a 2-1 lead within a few minutes of the opening of the third period on goals by Leier and Stortini. While the Devils tied it at 2, the Phantoms again took the lead 3-2 on a Gordon goal. Unfortunately, the Devils were able to tie it in the final minutes on Zepp, and push through an overtime goal.
The team comes into tonight’s game remaining in fourth place in the East Division of the Eastern Conference–one point behind tonight’s guest, Binghamton, and five behind Friday’s opponent, Hershey. However, it’s the Conference standings which matter if we want to see playoff hockey in Allentown in 2015. It’s way too early, but I took a peek at those standings too. Right now the Phantoms are three points out of the playoffs.
But, there’s a lot of hockey to play, and the Phantoms have been hovering around .500 at 11-10-3-1. However, at 7-2-2-1 they’ve only lost twice outright at home. We’d sure like to see more consistency, and maybe an easy win or two, as the close games have been difficult for my pacemaker to handle. It sure is exciting, though!
If you recall, the B-Sens are the top scoring team in the AHL, but lack something on defense. The game in Binghamton 12/12 was a rather chippy affair where the Phantoms kept it close. The Sens tough guy got tossed for fighting with both Delisle and Stortini, and the Sens got the win 3-1. “They don’t like us, and we don’t like them,” Says Alternate Captain Zack Stortini. They play at a feverish pace; there should be a lot of shots tonight.
The Phantoms are now second in the league in average attendance with 7,961. Hershey leads the league with 9,225 (they have a larger arena…) and Lake Erie dropped down after drawing only 3,056 last night.
The Phantoms held their first jersey auction following the game last Saturday. As anticipated, the Eagles-like jerseys were a hit. Stolarz’ and Hextall’s went for over $1,000.00! The auction was held in the club-level seating area, auctioneer-style.
Austin Fyten may have lost some teeth in Saturday’s shootout win versus the Pens. He was no worse for wear, and returned to the game to block a crucial shot down the stretch. He played in Sunday’s game in Atlantic City.
Blair Jones was a late scratch for the Sunday afternoon game. Reports are that he’s been feeling a bit under the weather–with flu-like symptoms. Coach Terry Murray believes that Jones should be available for tonight’s game.
Robert Hagg, the 19-year-old rookie defenceman, will be loaned to the Swedish National Team for the World Junior Championships which will be held in Canada from December to January. He’ll miss about 5 Phantoms games along the way, as he’ll join his native Team Sweden for preparations starting December 21. Hagg turns 20 in February.
I’d expect Jones to return tonight, and the lines to resemble last Saturday with Akeson on the top line, but with Zepp in goal–but then, could be I’m “Dazed and Confused.” Pettersson could return to the defense, as well.
Akeson – Jones – Gordon
Leier – Cousins – Stortini
Straka – Powe – Hextall
Rosehill – Goumas – Fyten
Manning – Alt
Hagg – Delisle
Lauridsen – Flemming
Gametime: 7:05PM puck drop; 6:00PM doors open.
Tickets: Good seats are still available–some as close as the fifth row, and some in the Morning Call Club as well. Purchase through PPLCenter.com with the new “pick your seats” option!
Broadcast: TV: SECTV-2; RADIO: AM-1470 “The Fox”; Arena Radio: FM 89.9
Pregame: TV: 6:30PM live from Chickie’s and Pete’s. Radio: Bob Rotruck on AM-1470 at 6:20PM. NoiseNation: Crabby Ale Drinking Contest starting at 4PM at Chickie’s and Pete’s, exact location TBA.
Promotion: Happy Hour $2 Coors Light Drafts at the Coors Light Bar behind section 108, from 6PM until the start of the second period;
The Phantoms come right back on Friday night for another division tilt versus the Hershey Bears. It’s also another T-Shirt night, as Phantoms “ugly sweater” T-Shirts will be given away to all in attendance who have seats, and fit into a size XL. I’m kidding about that, but you get my drift. Here’s what they look like:
Following Friday’s game, the Phantoms will head to Hartford for a late-Saturday-afternoon game prior to their Christmas break. They’ll return to action on the 26th versus Hershey, in Hershey, and return to the PPL Center on Saturday, December 27 for “post-game photo night.”
See you at the arena,
PS: Just kidding about the drinking contest. Maybe.