Hockey Night in Allentown: “Owen”


The Phantoms are back at it again later this afternoon in the final dress-rehearsal for the regular season.  Here’s what you need to know about today’s game:

Stolarz.  Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Stolarz. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

About Last Night

The Phantoms dropped their first home pre-season game–and second overall–by a 3-1 tally to the Hartford Wolfpack, the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers.  Stoli made some really nice saves, and it was good to see the defense involved in the offensive rush, but alas they need to tighten things up in their own zone.  I thought they broke out well, and the center ice attack was good, but lapses in their own end led to more quality chances for the ‘pack compared with what should have been.  On the offensive end, they did have some nice chances of their own, and used speed and fore-check on many occasions to generate such.  That was good to see.

For a more detailed review of last night’s game, see the comment section of yesterday’s post.  Some really nice observations from der Eishockeyzuschauer there.

The Phantoms are now 0-2 (“Owen Two”) on the preseason.  On to the Pens..

Team Report

Lines from last night:

23 Leier 37 Brent 22 Conner

18 Martel 25 Cousins 16 Palushaj

15 Parks 27 Padakin 38 Rosehill

43 Sundher 17 Goumas 29 Mathers

4 Hagg  14 Gostisbehere

2 Alt 5 Drewskie

3 Morin 8 Pettersson

41 Stolarz (Ouellette)


Scratches from last night:

6 Luukko, 9 Bardreau, 12 Goulbourne, 13 McDonald, 19 Alderson, 20 Lamarche, 24 Straka, 39 Pyett, 34 Knapp, LaBarbara

Roster moves:

McDonald and LaBarbera should be in town and should be in the lineup tonight; in fact, LaBarbera has been confirmed to be tonight’s starting net-minder.

Alderson and Knapp have been sent to Reading this morning.

Phan Corner

Phan Nation fan club T-Shirts are still being delivered.  Please contact the club if you are interested in joining or if you need to make arrangements to pick up your shirt.  They can be found on the web at or via Facebook and Twitter.

Season ticket books are available for pick-up at desks on the concourse.  Regular books at the rear of the “rotunda” near where the kid zone usually is–first part of the game for end of the alphabet and second part for beginning of alphabet, reversed for tonight’s game.

Rumor has it, some season ticket holders will have their tickets delivered to them on Tuesday by players.  If you are one of those folks, you have already received a phone call from the Phantoms front office–otherwise please pick up your books at today’s game!  Please note this is only a rumor–although I do have two sources.

The other rumor is that the current black with orange jerseys are a “preseason” get-up, which will be auctioned at some point, for fun and profit.  New 2015-16 sweaters will be introduced at the “Breaking the Ice” broadcast tomorrow.  That’s only a rumor, though–only one source.  Stay tuned!

Game Day

Puck Drop:




Tickets and Parking:

Good seats are still available.  Parking may be pre-purchased via the web site (arena deck, while supplies last) as well as from for Spiral or ATC decks.


The usual suspects:  SECTV-2, AM-1470, FM 89.9 (inside arena)


“Front and Center” on TV-2 at 4:30PM; Radio pre-game starring Bob Rotruck at 4:20PM; NoiseNation pre-game meal TBD.  Chickie’s and Pete’s should be crowded early-on today as folks head down to catch the football action.


None.  Pre-season hockey at a reduced price, early enough in the day to go out drinking (or get the kiddos home for bed) afterwards.

What To Watch

  • Watch to see if we’re still wearing the “preseason” sweaters, in order to predict the accuracy of the rumor above.
  • Watch to see LaBarbera in goal and McDonald in the lineup.  Watch to see how LaBarbera does in his Phantoms debut.
  • After reading the comments from the last post, watch to see the strategy and risk in the power play.  Will they give up a shorty?  Will they finish?  Or, as the folks behind me called it, will they engage in the “PPL Passing Play?”
  • Watch to see how crowded it is.  I know it’s only preseason, but will NFL football keep folks away?  Will it be more or less than last night?  I’m really curious because I was one who was calling for more Sunday games this season.
  • Watch to see if big Sam Morin can be more aggressive and forceful.  He looked tentative last night, I thought, and needs to make himself more assertive–especially if he’s going to play with the “diminutive defenceman” Jesper Pettersson.
  • Watch to see the development of a top scoring line with Cousins and Palushaj leading the way.  Watch to see if someone else joins them on that line tonight.
  • Watch to see if Rosie can stay out of the box tonight.  I’ll give him a pass if he actually fights–at the right time.
  • Watch to see if I can come up with some kind of cheer for Ghost.  I think he’s the best player on the ice, but I need to find something to yell rather than just screaming “Ghost” like a fan-girl every time he touches the puck.  😉

The Good and the Bad and…

  • Props to the Phantoms for the “Phan Wi-Phi”–it sucks that we can’t get good cell reception in the PPL Center, but the Wi Fi worked flawlessly last night.  Now that I’ve written about it, perhaps it will be more difficult to stay connected to it–but it was sorely needed.  THANK YOU!
  • Season ticket distribution looked to be proceeding flawlessly.  And I didn’t need to make a special trip (and pay to park).  Also, good stuff.  Thank You Phantoms!
  • After attending three “Major League” events this week (NHL, NFL, MLB) I sure enjoyed spending less than $10 for a large beer.  Thanks for keeping those prices in line, and unchanged from last season.
  • On the downside:  Please see what you can do about the PA system, Phantoms.  I know I’m an old guy, but I couldn’t understand a word being said–and it wasn’t just in my seats, out in the concourse and at the West end I still couldn’t understand the speech.
  • Security seemed to move quickly when I arrived this time, but the ushers were still in preseason form.  PLEASE tell them to hold traffic from the aisles until the puck is stopped.  I think some of them have never seen hockey before, so perhaps some training sessions are in order.  If it were me, I’d have an experienced usher or two come around and show them how to handle the traffic for a few minutes.  Yes, some fans are going to be angry and rude, but it’s for their own good, and for those of us in our seats we want to be able to see the game that we paid to see–from our seats.

Up Next

Planning to have some pre-season predictions and further roster information this week–maybe even a podcast??–in advance of the season opener on Saturday, versus the Syracuse Crunch-less.


See you at the arena,



Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Phantoms Hockey

3 replies

  1. I agree with that analysis of Sam Morin one hundred percent. Tentative is an excellent choice of words. Perhaps Morin is feeling the effects of having lost the puck at the offensive blue line and conceded a breakaway which Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins scored during the midweek. Alright, mistakes happen to even the best of them sometimes so, if this is the case, the 20-year-old should put that episode behind him as soon as possible.

    As for the power play, passing the puck in the hopes of getting the defense to start “running around” is always a part of any particular style of play. The umbrella style, though, takes passing the puck around to another level, no question. Patience and a lot of puck movement in searching for that very high percentage shot is what the umbrella is really all about.

    The umbrella can be susceptible to shorthanded rushes by attack-minded penalty killers, no doubt about that either.

  2. YES, YES, YES!! to the comment about fans coming/going willy-nilly. After multiple people came/went during the play, I asked the usher, “don’t fans have to WAIT till between plays to take their seats?”

    I was met with a blank stare. She didn’t start her “traffic cop” routine till the last third of the game..but she made sure that the little one below me in the seats below me were seated…no matter what. YES, I get it. I have had young fans in my family. And young-ins get impatient.

    Guess what? They were taught to WAIT until an appropriate time to leave/return to their seats. it’s called a little-known word, called “courtesy.”

    Some people should try that on for size during the games.

    Add that to the seat-kicking “person” behind me…worse than any kid at the Iron Pigs. Ugh.

  3. Note To Kram

    Re : Impressions of Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms

    # 1 – It’s pretty obvious that both Taylor Leier and Petr Straka read this blog.

    # 2 – After looking so good for forty minutes, in the end, the Phantoms were exceptionally fortunate to escape with a win against a seriously depleted Wilkes-Barre Scranton squad. No fewer than 13 of the 18 skates used by the Penguins on Sunday were either assigned to the ECHL or outright released today (Monday). In other words, the Penguins only had five skaters who will be in the AHL at the start of this season. Meanwhile, in very stark contrast, the Phantoms had at least 14 skaters who WILL be in the AHL at the start of this season so the victory definitely needs to be seen for what it was.

    # 3 – Danick Martel (goal + assist vs WBS) should have been named one of the game’s three stars but was not. It was Martel who set up the Phantoms’ third goal by being very patient to find the always critical third man coming into the play late in the high slot (Cousins). And it was Martel who, after being the beneficiary of a most lucky bounce, did take his chance very well to score the game-winner.

    # 4 – The Phantoms Fan Base, or at least the very nice people who were near me on Sunday, need just a wee bit more education with respect to what they are actually rooting for when Lehigh Valley are using the so-called Umbrella power play. “Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!,” they cry out so desperately. Again, it needs to be stressed to the Phantoms faithful that the primary objective of this particular power play system is to generate exceptionally high percentage scoring chances by passing the puck around often and not just to blast away indiscriminately at every opportunity. Let the word travel forth far and wide — Phantoms players and fans alike are both going to need patience.

    # 5 – The Phantoms’ second goal, scored by the Russian refugee Tim Brent on the power play, was an excellent example of one of the main objectives of the Umbrella system. Getting the puck “down low” to place both the defense and the goaltender under the maximum amount of stress was on full display here as Cousins pass the puck to Leier, who was stationed near the net to the left of the WBS goaltender Jarry. A quick stuff shot by Leier was unsuccessful but the puck rebounded straight over to Brent, who just so happened to be in his correct position at the right side of the net. Bingo, high quality chance, roof shot – goal.

    # 6 – Judging from what I saw over the two games on Saturday and Sunday, the Phantoms’ number one power play unit will routinely deploy four forwards plus Ghost.

    # 7 – Phantoms pugilist Jay Rosehill really did issue a severe beat down to the Penguins’ courageous but completely overmatched Patrick McGrath.

    # 8 – One could easily make the case that McGrath actually sparked his team to the furious rally that would ensue. The time-honored saying in hockey has always been, “Toughness is not measured by how many fights you win but rather by how many you show up for.” Well, McGrath certainly did show up even if he certainly did have his head handed to him. And WBS certainly did rally from 3-0 down in the third period against an experienced goaltender who certainly does have 187 NHL games to his credit … After McGrath and Rosehill were released from the penalty box, players at both benches banged their sticks against the boards quite loudly — a clear signal that both sets of players were quite pleased by the performance of their teammate.

    # 9 – I’m glad Martel ended the game in regulation time.

    # 10 – I’m ready for final roster selections and the start of the regular season at PPL Center this coming Saturday night against the Syracuse Crunch.

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