We’re back at it tonight over at the PPL Center, with a tougher opponent and a more important game. Will we be up to the task? The fans will. Rise Up Phan Nation, it’s another HOCKEY NIGHT IN ALLENTOWN.
“Always Be Closing.”
–Glengarry Genn Ross
“Always Be Winning”
–Kram from section 106
The team got another much-needed win last night at home versus the last-place Sound Tigers. It took overtime and an Akeson snipe to get it done, but they got the two points they needed, by a 2-1 final score. Brett Hextall had the other tally on a nice feed from behind the net by Rosey.
“We’re going to push it as far as we can and keep ourselves in the conversation right to the end” Head Coach Terry Murray.
With Providence’ win over Hershey last night, the Phantoms remain 9 points back of the last playoff spot, with two games in hand. Tonight’s opponent, the Portland Pirates, are in 9th place, one spot behind Providence and 7 points ahead of us. It is of utmost importance that we win–and win in regulation–tonight at home. The regulation win prevents the Pirates from salvaging a point tonight, that’s why it’s important.
The game-winner last night was a 4-on-3 PP goal, but other power plays throughout the evening again looked anemic. They at least controlled the puck, but I’m of the opinion that they need to take more shots: Even if it doesn’t go in, the rebound or the cover can “net” another opportunity.
Last night was the return of the Mighty Zepp. The only goal scored on him was from a rugby scrum in front of the net. It’s good to have him back, and I’d expect him to start again tonight, given the importance of this game.
Scott Laughton was a late scratch last night due to flu symptoms. If we’re going to make any noise in this thing, or even remain relevant, I feel like he has to be part of it. Here’s wishing for a speedy recovery and some goal-scoring.
Friend-of-the-blog Jesper Pettersson, the diminutive D-man, again had a strong game last night. I saw him crush a guy behind the net, and take a couple effective shots with the chance to assist on a tip-in. He did take a poorly-timed delay of game penalty as he was trying to clear the puck; I saw him punch the back of the penalty box before he sat down. Good fire in that kid.
Other blog-favorite Nick Cousins had a strong game, but still didn’t find the net. He had a couple quality shots though, and contributed on defense.
The Phantoms are now in lock-step with the Flyers regarding information about injured defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere. He’ll have an evaluation with the surgeon in Philly in two weeks, and they’ll go from there. It is unlikely that he’ll appear for the Phantoms, but depending on the Flyers’ season, he could be available. A source close to the player told me that Shayne just wants to shut it down and get completely better without the pressure of game-play. However, I didn’t hear that directly from him, and I’m sure as a competitor he wants to be out there with his teammates. I imagine he’s frustrated with the pace of the rehab process, and here at the Horn and Bell, we wish him only the best of health.
As described above, the importance of tonight’s game cannot be understated at this point. I hope to see a playoff atmosphere on the ice and in the stands. Hopefully not requiring a PAID fan to rev up the crowd this time.
Game Time: 7:05PM; 6:00PM Doors Open; 4:30PM if you want a table at Chickie’s or BrewWorks
Tickets: SRO tickets are available at this point. The VIP package has been sold out. Parking passes for the Linden Arena garage have been sold out.
Broadcast: SECTV-2, AHL-Live, AM-1470, FM 89.9 (arena only), IHeartRadio.com, PhantomsHockey.com
Promotion: “Legend’s Night” with John Slaney. Posters will be available at the door, and he should be available from 6:00-6:45 for autographs.
What To Watch
- Watch to see if Scott Laughton is back in the lineup, and how effective he is.
- Watch to see who starts in goal–I’m expecting Zepp given the importance of this game.
- Watch to see if my guy Pettersson continues to get skates–I believe he’s been playing very well save the penalty.
- Media members should not publicly complain about overtime. It doesn’t last that long and the internet doesn’t have a deadline. Also, you’re there for free, with free parking and free food. I don’t want to hear it.
- Fans, do not harass the diners while waiting for a table. Get there earlier. Go to another restaurant. Something.
- Stay in your seat. Really, we need to be better as fans. There’s plenty of time before the game or at the TWO intermissions to walk around. And don’t make a whole row of people move when you could enter your section from the other side without impediment.
This is it for hockey for a while–unless you want to drive. The Phantoms take to the road for five straight, and hockey will return to downtown Allentown on SUNDAY March 22 at 5:05PM. It will be our first Sunday game, and a hockey stick giveaway for the kiddos.
After that Sunday late-afternoon affair, the Phantoms will have a mid-week face-off on Wednesday the 25th. I still have some extra tickets for that game–on the cheap. Get in touch if you’d like some “half-price hockey.”
See you at the arena,
Categories: Phantoms Hockey