It’s back-to-back this weekend for our Phantoms at home, and we’re still looking for our first win in orange. It’s Military Appreciation Night and it’s HOCKEY NIGHT IN ALLENTOWN!
After a much-needed win on home ice last Saturday, the Phantoms braved the weather on a short trip West to Hershey. They outplayed the first-place Bears, but still lost 2-0. It was good to hear that they were playing well; they had more and better shots, but just couldn’t find the back of the net or solve Grubauer.
Here’s some highlight video from Saturday’s win, sans play-by-play:
The Phantoms are slipping in the playoff race, with time running out. However, they are not eliminated yet, and a weekend home-sweep might go a long way if things break right. There are games-in-hand and the ability to come back, but we need wins–regulation wins if possible to prevent the opponent from salvaging a point. The Phantoms sit in 12th place in the conference, 9 points behind the P-Bruins–with two games in hand.
The Phantoms’ Power Play is ranked 21st out of 30. They are often spending too much time in their own zone and not generating enough shots. The Penalty Kill is ranked 18th, and has been playing very well, of late. However, there have been instances of “let up” immediately following the kill, which allows a goal not directly attributed to the opposing team’s power play.
Once a game goes to overtime, the Phantoms are 11-7 in 18 games. Of those, 12 have been decided in overtime, where the Phantoms are a “coin flip” 6-6. The other six games have gone to shootout, where the Phantoms hold a decided 5-1 advantage. So, if the game should go to overtime, I suppose we cheer for a shootout?
The Phantoms continue to occupy fourth place in the attendance standings, clinging to a thin lead over Providence.
Musical Goalies: Zepp came down, Stoli went up. Then Stoli came down, and Ouellette went West. Nobody got traded. Mason and Emery are healthy. Back to normal, Hey Hey, What Can I Do?
Blair Jones is skating with a regular jersey, and could be available for tonight’s game. He has been out since New Years with a serious groin injury.
It was reported last night that young phenom defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere would be shut down for the season. It was Coach Terry Murray, and then confirmed by the player himself. Later in the evening, Flyers GM Ron Hextall said that there may be some miscommunication, that he was NOT shut down, but rather, would be re-evaluated after a Philly doctor appointment in two weeks.
I’m hearing that ‘Ghost’ has been having a lot of soreness after skating and hasn’t been able to skate days in a row easily. Perhaps the “shut it down” is designed to take some pressure off and allow him to work on rehabbing and getting better without the specter of games looming. Whatever the reason and whatever the outcome, we wish him the best and want him to be healthy for the off-season and for the start of next season. There’s no reason to take any risks here or rush anything unnecessarily.
There had been some speculation that a defenceman could be called up to the Flyers considering their recent trade. Mark Alt, Brandon Manning and Ollie Lauridsen were the names mentioned. As of now, no moves to report.
The Flyers have signed 2013 third-round choice, forward Tyrell Goulbourne. He’s 21 years old and currently playing left wing for the WHL Kelowna Rockets. He has 17 goals and 21 assists over 56 games for +14. He’s not eligible to join the Phantoms until after Kelowna’s season (including playoffs) is over–which may not be this season. He should be a Phantom for 2015-2016.
Recent trades made by Flyers GM Ron Hextall have netted the Flyers a multitude of high-round draft picks in the next season or two. Many of those picks should be coming through Allentown at some point, and we look forward to cheering on the talented players!
Game Time: Puck Drop: 7:05PM; Doors Open: 6:00PM; Chickie’s and Pete’s: by 5:00PM if you want a table.
Tickets: SRO-status already. Purchase your tickets ahead, and consider the secondary markets. The VIP package is sold out for this game; however, parking passes are still available as of this writing.
Opponent: The Bridgeport Sound Tigers come to town having lost 9 straight games. They occupy last place in the conference standings, but should not be taken lightly by a suddenly questionable Phantoms home-ice team who hasn’t yet won in the Friday alternate orange.
Promotion: All fans in attendance will receive an XL orange T-Shirt as seen above, in honor of Military Appreciation Day. If your tickets are SRO, inquire at the Phantoms tent behind section 112 if you’d like to acquire an orange T-Shirt.
What To Watch
- Watch to see if Scotty Laughton can get off the schnide. He’s due for some goals and tonight would be a great night to get it going.
- After a dominant January, Nick Cousins has been quiet of late. Let’s see if he can add to his point totals tonight.
- With a potential opportunity in Philadelphia as the season winds down, watch to see if any of the D-men separate themselves: Alt, Manning, or maybe Lauridsen may be needed in Philly following the recent trades.
- Watch to see if Pettersson is skating. The diminutive D-man has been playing well of late, and he’s one of my favorites. He’s had some nice shots and some assists, as well.
- Watch to see if the Phantoms can win while wearing the alternate orange: It hasn’t happened yet.
- Watch to see if the Phantoms Power Play can generate some shots and some puck possession in the opponent’s zone.
- Watch to see if the Penalty Kill can continue its strong play.
- Appreciate Rob Zepp. I’d imagine he’ll be in goal tonight “Wearing and Tearing.”
- Watch to see if Blair Jones makes his return. If he does, I’d imagine it to be with the fourth line, to ease in kind of like what Darroll Powe did recently.
We’re back at it tomorrow with Portland in town for a 7:05 puck drop on another “Legend’s Night.” AHL Hall of Fame defenceman John Slaney is scheduled to appear. The Portland Pirates will be in town–ahead of us in the standings in 9th place. You’ll need to get to the restaurants even earlier on a Saturday, I’m telling you. Then no hockey in Allentown until Sunday, 3/22 as the Phantoms take to the road for five straight.
See you at the arena,
Categories: Phantoms Hockey