This might be the first capacity sell-out crowd for our new PPL Center in Allentown. Can we get to 9,000? What’s the limit? We might find out tonight. Here’s what else you need to know about tonight’s game versus the Norfolk Admirals (Anaheim Ducks)
“I forgot how exciting this is…”
–Kram3, as the Phantoms clung to a 1-0 lead on 12/19.
“We are the ones who were born to rise
We are the ones with the fire inside”
–“Born to Rise” -Redlight King
Prior to their Christmas break, last week and weekend the Phantoms took 5 of 6 possible standings points by defeating Binghamton and Hershey at the PPL Center by means of an opening blitzkrieg of goals (Binghamton), and a goaltender extravaganza (Hershey) with a “shorty” and an empty netter. Last Saturday in Hartford the Phantoms lost an overtime contest.
In the Hershey game, “Stolie The Goalie” earned his second shutout of the season as the Bears out-shot the Phantoms almost 2-to-1. In the rematch last night in Hershey, Stolie again owned the Bears early on, until an unfortunate injury knocked him out of the game. Reports from Hershey had his head hitting the pipe; Martin Ouellette finished the game strong, but the Bears came from behind to win. Def Mark Alt was also injured in the game, which saw multiple fights and hard hits. The Hershey rivalry is turning into the big one–followed by the Senators and then the Pens.
The Phantoms remain in third place in the division, three points behind the Bears and six behind the Penguins. The Conference standings, which determine playoff seeding after the division winners, find the Phantoms one standings point out of a playoff spot. Today’s opponent, the Norfolk Admirals, are last in the conference.
The injury status of G Anthony Stolarz and Def Mark Alt is not known at this time. Connor Knapp and Max Lamarche could be added today as injury replacement, from Reading, respectively. As you recall, Robert Hagg is on loan to Sweden for the World Juniors.
Zack Stortini played with Norfolk last season.
G Rob Zepp should return from the Flyers shortly, which should help if Stolie has to be out for a longer amount of time.
Reports are, injured Def prospect Shayne Gostisbehere has been cleared to skate. We may still be a couple months from hockey for him, but it’s good to hear that things are progressing properly, and that he’ll have skates on again.
Game Time: 7:05PM puck drop; 6:00PM doors
Broadcast: 69FMZ-TV, SECTV-2, AM-1470, FM-89.9(arena only)
Tickets: Seats for this game have been sold out for some time. Standing Room Only tickets (interestingly labeled as 100-level, 200-level, or Miller Lite Loft; They’re not going to tell you where to stand, are they?) are still available at this juncture (Saturday AM); however, I’d secure tickets before heading downtown for this one–it may be the first capacity sell out.
Pregame: At home, tune to TV-2 at 6:30PM for the live pregame broadcast from Chickie’s and Pete’s. If you’re en route, tune to AM-1470 starting at 6:20 for Bob Rotruck’s pre-game. At the arena, be sure to get downtown early for a seat at one of the nearby restaurants–this is gonna be a crowded one!
Promotion: Post-game player photos on the ice! From what I understand, the players will be positioned around the outside of the ice and you’ll be able to go down on the ice to take photos with them. At that point, the chewed-up ice should be reasonably easy to walk on, but they may add some carpet. Hopefully, it will go as smoothly as the autograph session did.
WHAT TO WATCH:
- Watch for roster adjustments prior to the game, as it may affect the goalkeeper and defensive pairings.
- Watch to see how the Phantoms respond as a team to the rough game last night.
- Observe the arena staff and concessions, to see how they handle the big crowd tonight. They’re not rookies anymore; I imagine many fans are making their first trip to the PPL Center tonight and I hope they have a good time!
Long road trips to Norfolk and St John (Canada) are upcoming over the next two weekends. The Phantoms don’t return home until Friday, January 16 versus Albany and the following night versus Binghamton.
See you at the arena–eventually,
Bonus video (I prefer the hockey version, but…)