The earliest puck-drop of the season comes with only six more home games left. Here’s what you need to know to get ready for today’s game:
There was a Whole Laught-a Love on display at the PPL Center last night on Faith Night. Maybe not between the Penguins and Phantoms, who fought 5 seconds in courtesy Brett Hextall. But, between the fans–who set a record attendance–and a team who didn’t realize they had no chance to win. They dished out a 4-1 beating on a Penguins team headed for the playoffs, while skating with rookies and scratches due to last-minute call-ups and injuries. Scott Laughton got off the schnide with a pair of goals, and Jesper Pettersson–our guy from the dunk tank story yesterday–evidently “owns” Penguins rookie sensation goalie Matt Murray (he’s scored his only two career goals versus Murray.) Zach Stortini played a good game that didn’t show up a ton on the score sheet–pestering and screening and putting his teammates in a position to succeed. And what about Rob Zepp? Dude almost had a shutout on the day I (and others) were calling for Stolarz to get the ice time for developmental purposes. Think he wanted to hand Murray a shut-out of his own? I think he did. And without a lucky shot off a skate, he would have.
Then, there was a rock concert on the ice after the game:
With the call-ups and send-downs and injuries, it was a hectic day for team and the players yesterday. They responded admirably. Let’s see how they look this afternoon against the best team in the league…
Prior to yesterday’s game, defencemen Mark Alt and Oliver Lauridsen and forward Jason Akeson were called up to the Flyers. Akeson was a healthy scratch, but Ollie and Alt played–Alt making his NHL debut. Brandon Manning was already with the team, and logged serious minutes in yesterday’s Flyers shoot-out loss to the Sharks. Nick Cousins also played in the game.
D Maxime Lamarche was recalled from Reading for support. With the Royals at Indianapolis, travel was an issue
D Nick Luukko made his professional debut last night and looked competent.
Aaannd: They’re back. Following the 1PM game yesterday afternoon in Philadelphia, Alt, Lauridsen, and Akeson were sent back to Allentown. Jason Akeson even played in the game. Manning will remain in Philly, as will Cousins.
In the goal in last night’s game was Rob Zepp. It will be interesting to see who Coach Murray goes with today following last night’s extremely strong performance by Zepp.
I had forgotten to mention previously: D Shayne Gostisbehere was officially “shut down” for the season earlier in the week. We’ll wait and see him again in the fall, as I imagine they’ll want him to get some ice time with the Phantoms before he’s installed as a regular with the Flyers.
It looks like F Darroll Powe is out for the foreseeable future. Whispers are that he suffered another concussion, and he hasn’t been seen around the rink at all. We wish him well.
The Manchester Monarchs are in town. They are the first place team in the entire conference at this juncture. For now, they are the AHL affiliate of the LA Kings, but will move West next season. The Monarchs will then continue as an ECHL team, I’m told.
Game Time: 3:05PM Puck Drop. Doors 2:00PM. Leave some extra time for security to check skates, as it’s a post-game skate today. I’d arrive at Chickie’s by 1PM or so to assure a table, if that’s your pleasure.
Tickets: This game has had ‘SRO’ status for some time. Please plan to purchase tickets before coming downtown, to assure entry.
Broadcast: Service Electric TV-2. AM-1470. FM-89.9 arena. Internet: PhantomsHockey.com Mobile: IHeartRadio 1470.
Promotions: 1. Post-game Skate With the Players: Bring your own skates, and you’ll be allowed on the ice following the game, where players may join you. Those without skates will not be allowed on the ice. You’ll enter the ice between sections 109/110 or 110/111. 2. Legends Night: Brian Boucher. Every fan in attendance will receive a collectors-addition poster as seen above. Details about a pre-game autograph session were not available at press time, but be prepared just in case. By the way: I believe the art work for these “Legend’s Night” posters has been done by a gentleman named Keith Beale. Follow him on Twitter: @kbealeartwork
What To Watch
- Watch to see who gets skates, and who is in goal after last night’s strong performance
- Watch to see how the team responds on a short-turnaround after a big win, late in the season with the playoffs all but our of reach.
- Watch to see if there’s a fight 5 seconds into the game. Hey, get to your seat on time, huh? 😉
The Phantoms will be away for three games over the next week, and will return to the PPL Center on Wednesday, April 8 for a mid-week face off against the Pens (again). That game will be the final $2 Happy Hour game of the season and (coincidentally?) “SteelHawks Night” at the Phantoms. You know we’re big ‘Hawks fans around here, so we’ll keep you updated about that!
See you at the arena,