“…and sometimes the Bears get you.”
It’s another Hockey Night at the PPL Center in Allentown as the Phantoms attempt to come back against the division rivals from Hersey.
LOOKING BACK: “A Devil of a Time”
The Phantoms weren’t sharp last night. It was their first game back from the All Star break, and it looked it. An Albany Devils’ team who’ve given the Phantoms fits this season did it once again in the 4-1 Devils’ victory. The home team managed a ton of shots, but most were missing their target. A cross-ice pass in the first and a lapse and a tip in the second went with an empty-netter to give the Devils four tallies. The Phantoms managed a third-period goal on a Stortini re-direct of a Manning drive.
The last time we saw the Bears in our house, they handed it to us pretty good: 7-2, and it wasn’t that close. Let’s look for a better showing tonight–sometimes you do get the bears, right?
With no other significant action in the AHL East last night, the Phantoms don’t fall any further behind, but do lose some of the “game in hand” advantage they held over the Bears and Pens. It certainly didn’t help their conference standings either. The Phantoms remain in third place in the division, and on the outside-looking-in for a conference playoff spot.
The announced attendance last night was in the 6,000s, but could have been worse if it hadn’t been for the Phan Nation support. Thanks to everyone who came out last night! For those who may have signed up at the table, you’ll be receiving email news of fan club activities as it becomes available. Thanks to the Phantoms for giving the club a sign up table on the concourse!
Darroll Powe continues to skate. His “upper body” injury is now said to be of the concussion variety; he’ll proceed through post-concussion protocols as is necessary in these cases. We hope to see him back soon.
It’s Blair Jones and his “lower body” injury which is said to be more serious. I heard 7 weeks last night, which could be the rest of the season depending on the nature of the injury. I think he was playing at a high level prior to the injury, and that this is a big loss for the team.
As I thought, the Phantoms played with wonky lines last night with only 11 healthy forwards. The three centermen cycled through the four lines, which may have been part of the problem with the offense. Reading was on a western trip which made a call-up difficult. Speculation on the post-game show was that Petr Straka –who had an assist last night in the Flyers’ victory–would return to the Phantoms for tonight’s game. He did not log a ton of minutes, so should be OK for the back-to-back assignment.
I thought Rob Zepp looked a little rusty on the first goal last night, but he toughened up and ultimately yielded a tip-in and one other goal. It will be interesting to see if he goes again tonight or if Stolarz gets the home assignment. The Phantoms are in Wilkes Barre on Saturday.
Puck Drop: 7:05PM–The doors open at 6PM for the kiddo jersey giveaway.
Tickets: Standing Room Only are available at this writing.
Parking: Just a reminder that the arena decks (8th Street and Linden Street) are for pass-holders only at this juncture. Choose one of the Parking Authority lots or decks for reliable and available parking.
Broadcast: TV-2, NHL-Live, AM-1470, FM 89.9 (arena only)
- It’s meLVin’s Birthday! He’ll have a bunch of his “mascot friends” on hand to celebrate. Who? I’m not sure. Would be cool if it was Ferrous and Fefe. Would be even cooler if it was Dax and Phlex–but I’m not holding my breath for that one. 😉
- To celebrate, meLVin is giving away Inaugural Season replica jerseys for the kiddos. The first 3,000 kids 14 and under will receive the promo. Kram3 and I will be a little late, so it will be interesting to see if they have any left. I’ll report back…
WHAT TO WATCH:
- Watch to see if the Phantoms can generate some offense. They got shots last night, but not great ones. Their record when scoring 3 or more goals is outstanding!
- Watch to see if Nick Cousins can put the biscuit in the basket. He had some nice chances last night on which he was unsuccessful. He showed some frustration near the end of the game.
- Watch to see if Petr Straka is back with the Phantoms, which would allow us to get back to normal line rotations.
- Watch to see if the Straka-Goumas-Alderson line is reunited, then. They were playing very well before the break.
- Either way, keep an eye on Kevin Goumas he was showing good speed and effort last night getting time with several different lines–including the top one. However, at other times he seemed a bit lost. Or, it could have been fatigue. Either way, keep an eye on #17 tonight.
- My new friend Jesper Pettersson got some ice time last night with the lack of forwards–all the defenders dressed. He took a penalty in the second period, which was unfortunate. Watch to see if he’s skating tonight.
- Watch to see who starts in goal. Giving Zepp back to back games might get him back into a rhythm after his second tour in Philadelphia. But then, with a road game tomorrow in Wilkes Barre, perhaps use Stolarz tonight as the young prospect has done better within the friendly confines of the PPL Center.
Tomorrow night the Phantoms will be at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza to battle the Penguins. Tickets to that game are VERY limited–if not SOLD OUT. Contact the Arena before heading up!
The Phantoms will be back at the PPL Center on Wednesday for the Worcester Sharks–a team which will move to San Jose next season to be closer to their NHL affiliate. For more news on the new AHL Pacific Division, stay tuned. It appears that Norfolk, Adirondack, Worcester, and Manchester will be leaving as regular opponents for the Phantoms. ECHL teams may be ready to fill spots in those arenas–Adirondack, Norfolk and Manchester have already been announced, but more news is to come. Expect further re-alignment with perhaps Syracuse or Hartford joining the Phantoms’ division.
Next weekend the Phantoms will be in Binghamton and Hershey Saturday and Sunday respectively.
SEASON TICKET NEWS:
I did hear that a date in February will be set for season ticket holders to attend a “seat change” session at the arena. That should be interesting: “Everybody just run to the seat you want!”
Just kidding. But, if you’d like to move, watch for notice from the team about that “event.” Personally, I’m conflicted at this point….I like my seats but could I do better? Could I save money? We’ll see.
See you at the arena,