It might be another “Three in Three” for the Phantoms, but it’s “Two in Two” for Allentown hockey fans! Here’s what you need to know to get you ready for this weekend’s action.
It’s been a long time since we Rock n’ Rolled–but I’ve played that Zepp tune before. Here’s a look back at what’s happened since the Phantoms were last in town.
December 27, 2014: S.O. WIN! Phantoms 3 Admirals 2: With Ouellette in goal, it took new Phantoms defenceman Adam Comrie in the eighth round of the shootout to get the win for the home team.
December 31, 2014: loss at Binghamton 6-2: A listless Phantoms team gets shelled, and Stolarz has to be pulled from the game in favor of the freshly returning Zepp (from his first Flyers stint.)
January 2, 2015: OT WIN! Phantoms 3 Admirals 2 in Norfolk. Cousins with the game-winner after the Phantoms squander a late lead.
January 3, 2015: SO WIN! This time the Admirals blow the lead in the third on a Straka goal, and Akeson gets the winner in the shootout.
January 10, 2015: WIN! Gordon gets the go-ahead goal and Ryan White adds an empty-netter in a 4-2 win over St John’s.
January 11, 2015: WIN! Six different Phantoms score as they open up a “can” on the IceCaps in a 6-2 win.
As you can see, the Phantoms come into the weekend riding a 4-game road win streak having won 10 of a possible 12 standings points in the past 6 games. Coupled with struggles up in Wilkes Barre, the standings have the Phantoms two points behind Hershey and 3 behind the Pens in the division, having played two fewer (“in hand”) games than the Bears and four fewer than the Pens! It’s the highest winning percentage in the division and it puts the Phantoms in the 8th and final playoff spot in the conference if the playoffs started now. They’ve accomplished this mostly on the road as 2015 begins, and with plenty of lineup shuffle and other adversity. Things look good going forward! However, catching up in “games played” will require some “three-in-three’s” and such–and we might have to adjust to losing our top goalkeeper to the NHL for an extended period. Read on.
A lot has happened over the past five games. I’ll try to provide a bit of summary here:
Ryan White was assigned to the Phantoms on a conditioning stint for the Norfolk series, but then was recalled, waived, and re-loaned to the Phantoms. He’s wearing #39 and has been on the second or third line.
Taylor Leier and Darroll Powe have missed time with injuries. Leier has since returned. No information at this time on the nature of the injuries, impact, or time projected out. Leier has been working with the fourth line since his return.
Mark Alt has a broken hand and may be out for some time.
Robert Hagg returned from World Juniors for the St John’s series.
Rob Zepp is back with the Flyers–even got the win Monday night! Reports of his play from Philadelphia have been glowing. With the general horrible-ness of the Flyers, he may be needed there for some time. Good for him!
Oliver Lauridsen had the “Gordie Howe” Hat Trick in the final St John’s game: Fight, Assist, Goal.
Brandon Manning was the only Phantom elected to the AHL All Star game in Utica, NY. However, he may get called to the Flyers before he has a chance to play in that game. The Fly Guys are running short of defenders–especially ones who can play.
Martin Ouellette has been re-called from Reading to back up Anthony Stolarz in the Phantoms’ net. While he performed well in the last home Phantoms game, I expect to see plenty of Stolarz this weekend.
F Kevin Goumas loaned to Reading. Perhaps to get more ice time at his natural center position.
meLVin has been invited to the All Star Game in Utica! Of course, so have all the other mascots…
Lines for the last game:
38 Akeson 22 Jones 16 Hextall
45 Stortini 25 Cousins 10 Gordon
24 Straka 39 White 19 Alderson
37 Rosehill 11 Fyten 23 Leier
4 Hagg 28 Manning
27 Comrie 5 Delisle
7 Lauridsen 3 Flemming
This Weekend’s Games:
Previewing both of this weekend’s contests…
Game Time: Friday versus Albany (Devils) and Saturday versus Binghamton (Senators) both drop puck at 7:05. Doors open at 6:00PM.
Tickets: Both games this weekend are nearing sell-out status, with the Saturday game a tougher ticket. Purchase tickets at PPLCenter.com prior to going down for the games. I haven’t heard the term “capacity sell-out”–meaning they’re turning away standing room customers–yet from the Phantoms; but, I think we’ll get one of those soon.
Broadcast: TV2, of course. Saturday’s game may be available on FMZ-69. Radio AM-1470 or IHeartRadio.com. In the arena: FM 89.9.
Promotions: Friday brings the debut of the new, alternate orange sweaters. Replicas of such are available at the Phan Shop! Saturday is another “Legend’s Night” with hockey legend Bob Clarke. A souvenir poster will be given out at the entrances. He’ll be signing autographs from 6-6:45. Some will be in line at 5PM or earlier for the autograph session. I’ve heard that there may be a high school hockey game at 3PM on Saturday–if so, enter through the Air Products gate further up 7th Street, and stay for the autographs and Phantoms–may be a strategy. However, that has not been officially noted by the Phantoms that I’ve seen, so use caution and plan wisely.
What To Watch For:
- Watch to see if Leier continues on the fourth line, and how he’s skating. Watch to see if he’s on the special teams units. Note that he’s now on the Right Wing, where he had previously been a Left Winger who would switch to Right on the Power Play.
- Watch to see if Nick Cousins can continue with the goals and assists: he’s been hot on the points of late!
- Watch to see how Anthony Stolarz does in goal. He’s done better at home than on the road–although his last outing in St. John’s was a good one.
- The Phantoms have had four days off, but watch to make sure they don’t look listless after the grueling travel requirements of a minor-league trip to St John’s Canada.
- Watch to see how the Phantoms do on face-offs: Bobby Clarke gave them some tips at practice yesterday!
- Watch to see if Darroll Powe is active, especially with Goumas in Reading.
- Watch to see continued improvement from Robert Hagg. He was called out by the coach earlier for maybe not playing tough enough or with enough intensity; however, he’s come back to the Phantoms from Junior Worlds with a re-newed appreciation for the AHL games and may look like a somewhat different player.
- Wednesday 1/21 is another $2 Coors Light Night. Stand in line at the Coors Light Bar behind section 108 for half-filled dixie cups of Coors Light Foam. I kid. But it is only $2.
- Saturday 1/24 is “Inaugural Season Night” featuring a T-Shirt giveaway, a special jersey, and a jersey auction. More news on the jersey auction as it becomes available.
- Thursday 1/29 is Noise Nation’s “Bring a Friend” Night, discounted tickets available in conjunction with the LV Phan Club. See the previous post for details!
- Friday 1/30 is Youth Jersey Night. The jerseys are limited–we’ll see how long they last! My kiddo can’t wait!
- WWE Wrestling is coming to the PPL Center, I believe in March. If you’re into that kind of thing, you should check it out. There seems to be some cross-interest in baseball fans who like wrestling “entertainment,” so here you go!
See you at the arena (eventually),