HOCKEY NIGHT IN ALLENTOWN: “O Canada”

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The Phantoms are right back at it later this afternoon, as Toronto comes to town to cap off three games in three days.

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Ben, getting us going. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Ben, getting us going–this photo pre-orange pants. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

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Looking Back

In a rematch with the P-Bruins last night–and the second half of a home-and-home–the Phantoms took care of business and got their first home win.  A nice night in goal for young Stoli and a 3-1 win following an empty-netter in front of 8,220.  The pre-season games and the opening night game seem so long gone now.  The season is really underway.

Goulebourne and Straka had the first two goals, while Palushaj added the EN.  Goully finished the night as the top star of the game as he came up an assist short of a Gordie Howe hat trick.  His fight was something to behold:  1 punch TKO!

Team Report

The Phantoms are now 1-1 at home and 1-2 on the road for a 2-5-0 overall record and 4 points.  Not nearly good enough to be near the top of the standings, but we’ve got to start stacking those wins sometime–and last night was as good a time as any.  Hopefully we can add two more points today.

Player Report

We were the first in the Lehigh Valley to tell you yesterday that wing-man Evan Rankin would be joining the Phantoms on loan from ECHL Toledo, and he’s officially a “PTO” now, and played in last night’s game.  He has 142 games of AHL time over the past three years, and 45 goals in those games.  He doesn’t qualify as a “veteran” under AHL rules, so this move allows the Phantoms to dress 12 forwards along with forward Jay Rosehill and defenseman Andrew MacDonald, while David Drewiske qualifies at the “tweener” exemption.  Rankin is a Notre Dame alum.

Jason LaBarbera was called to Philly late yesterday morning to back up Mason in the Flyers’ net for their game versus the Rangers last night.  Ouellette was added from Reading to back up Stolie in Allentown.

Points Leaders

Conner 6

Cousins 6

Straka 5

Plus/Minus and Penalty Minutes

Conner +5

Cousins +4

Straka +4

Goulebourne -3

Padakin -3

Morin 10 PIM

Straka 7 PIM

Goalie Report

LaBarbera 0-3, 4.67 GAA

Stolarz 2-0, 1.0 GAA

Ouellette —-

Lines

23 Leier – 37 Brent – 16 Palushaj

24 Straka –  25 Cousins – 22 Conner

38 Rosehill – 17 Goumas – 19 Alderson

12 Goulbourne – 27 Padakin – 10 Rankin

14 Gostisbehere – 47 MacDonald

5 Drewiske – 2 Alt

8 Pettersson – 3 Morin

41 Stolarz

**Lashoff was the “veteran scratch” as the Phantoms must abide by AHL experience rules.

 

Royal Report

Reading opened up their home slate last night at the Santander with a 7-2 loss.  It wasn’t the best showing for the Royals, and perhaps it’s catching up with them having lost the players who were added to the Phantoms.  Nevertheless, they’re 2-2 and tied for second place in their division.  They’re off today, but will be home on Wednesday for Elmira

I expect to have news this week on how you can get discounted tickets for the Royals game on Friday, November 20.  Stay tuned.

 

Game Day!

Opponent:  It’s the Toronto Marlies–AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  They’re ending a 3-in-3 as well, coming to town from Binghamton, where they got spanked by the Senators 5-1.  The “Marlies” name comes from the former Toronto Marlboro’s which was in tern named for the Toronto Marlborough Athletic Club.

They’re 4-2 and a talented group, featuring young talent Kasperi Kapanen, who scored his first ever professional goal at the PPL Center when he came up with the Pens last season.  He was involved in an off-season trade (Phil Kessel) between Pittsburgh and Toronto.  Centerman William Nylander 62 is their top point scorer, while winger Richard Clune 17 leads the team in penalty minutes.  It’s a cross-division match-up so we don’t have a full write-up, but may have some additional pre-game analysis up later today.  Check back prior to the game to learn more.

Puck Drop:  5:00PM

Doors: 4:00PM (only an hour this time, but makes sense with the late afternoon start)

Tickets:  Tickets are going fast–I would advise purchasing tickets before driving downtown for the game.

Parking:  Remember, Allentown Parking Authority does not monitor the meters or lots on Sundays–take advantage if you can find a meter or if you’re parking in a lot before they’re collecting the event parking.  As of Saturday afternoon, pre-purchase parking is still available in the arena “Linden” garage.

Broadcast:  TV-2 as per usual for video–along with AHL Live if you have the home package.  Radio will be on 790-AM today as the Steelers game will be on 1470. On the web at 790WAEB.com.  In the arena use 89.9-FM.

Promotion:  Free replica jersey to the first 2,500 kiddos 14 and under.  Last season Kram3 and I showed up after the game had started and we were still able to get one.  However, get there early if your kids really must have one.

kiddo jersey

Pre-game:  Last time we had a Sunday–during the preseason–we went up around 3PM and easily got seats in Chickie’s where we could watch the football games and take advantage of their football-day drink specials and so on.  Today, we’re planning to go out to get a bite post-game.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Last night we grabbed burgers and brews at Bell Hall before the game.  They were hoppin–and they’ll need to put in more, larger tables for some bigger groups–but it was really good.  They have more than just burgers:  there were dinners and salads and appetizers–it was a full menu.  They feature craft beers on rotating taps, but also had the standard varieties, a wine list, and a nice selection of liquors as well.  Prices were fair–and less than the higher end Hamilton, Dime or Shula’s.  All burgers come with fries–regular or sweet potato–automatically.  Service was a bit slow, but I imagine they’ll do better once they get used to the hockey night crowds.  One more thing:  They’re closed on Sunday.  It makes sense, except they might want to make exceptions for “event” nights when there are 8,000-some people downtown looking for a bite to eat.

Radio pre-game starts at 4:20PM, while the TV-pregame live from Chickie’s and Pete’s, goes on the air at 4:30PM.

 

What To Watch

  • Watch to see who gets the start in goal, with LaBarbera up with Philly and Ouellette promoted from Reading.  Stolie on the quick turnaround, or give Marty a shot?  FWIW, Ouellette did have some good games last season in the Allentown barn, but I’d absolutely like to see Stoli in there if he’s up to the quick turn-around for today’s 5PM game.
  • With Toronto in town we’ll enjoy a rendition of “O Canada” prior to the game.  Please be respectful–and remember that many, many of the players on the ice are Canadian–perhaps more than from any other country.  Wednesday and Friday will also have “O Canada” as the St Johns Ice Caps will be in town for two tilts.
  • Watch to see how the Phantoms match up against a quality opponent.  Syracuse was that, on opening night, but I’d like to see if we look a little better than that.
  • Watch to see how the Phantoms do setting up their offensive attack.  I thought they did fine breaking out of the defensive zone and through the neutral zone, but sometimes got tripped up at the opponent’s blue line.  Sometimes this is a function of what the opposing defense is doing, I  know, but something to watch.
  • Continue to observe the power play.  We were able to get a goal last night, but the high-risk, high-reward “umbrella” scheme has it’s drawbacks.  The point-guy on the blue line has to move his skates is one.  The Marlies are a team not afraid to take penalties, so there should be some opportunities.
  • Watch that penalty kill.  They did a good job last night keeping the Providence PP off the scoreboard, but have been one of the weaker units of late.
  • I still  say it’s time for Ghost to get a goal…
  • Watch out for kiddos running around on the concourse.  I was one who pushed for more Sunday afternoon games–I thought it would be good to cut down on the Wednesdays and good for attendance.  It’s also a nice option for families.  It’s really difficult to take a whole family to an NHL game–so this is the way new hockey fans will be formed.  I hope it works out.
  • Watch to see how the restaurants do after the game.  They certainly get their fair share of business prior to hockey games (and events), but this early start–I don’t think I’ll be the only one going out to dinner following the game, and several places are closed Sunday.  Check the restaurant schedules before you head out after the game.
  • Watch to see who gets the “veteran scratch” tonight.  It could be a break for AMac or perhaps Lashoff again.  Rosehill’s had it a couple times.  Maybe they’ll give one of the forwards the afternoon off.
  • Watch again to see which sweaters they sport.  Last night they wore the “home whites” for the first time this season.  Will they go orange?  Or are we saving that for Fridays like last season?  What happened to those pre-season jerseys?  Will they auction them off soon?  Just something to watch…

 

Looking Ahead

No buses in sight, as the Phantoms remain home to face the Ice Caps Wednesday and Friday at the PPL Center.  Wednesday will be “Pink in the Rink” night–but I’ve been told that the ice will NOT be colored pink for the night.  No matter, important to raise awareness, regardless.  Friday will be “Cap Night” sponsored by Service Electric and honoring John Walson Jr.  I’m told the caps will be of particularly high quality and sharp design.

What I haven’t been told yet is when the doors will open on Wednesday (perhaps not necessary to open up early on a week day?) and if the Coors Light “happy hour” will be in effect.  I’ll let you know what I find out–expect a “Hockey Night” post every single game day.

 

See you at the arena,

@Kram209



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

1 reply

  1. Takeaways From Saturday Night’s Game

    # 1 … 2nd round draft pick Anthony Stolarz has earned the right to start again on Sunday after a strong performance against the Providence Bruins. True, Stolie did not have a tremendous workload to deal with but, then again, sometimes it is extremely difficult to stay sharp when not getting a lot of action for long periods of time. I blame the nifty P-Bruins goal scored by Seth Griffith more on experienced Phantoms defenseman Andrew MacDonald, the 29-year-old veteran with the $ 4,500,000 contract, who foolishly went down to the ice and allowed himself to get beaten by the old toe-drag move.

    # 2 … The first goal allowed by Providence Bruins netminder Zack McIntyre, the touted rookie from the University of North Dakota who won the Mike Richter Award as the best goaltender in U.S. college hockey last season, was rather soft — a professional simply can’t let that happen and needs to do a much better job of moving from post to post. Nevertheless, full credit must be given to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms rookie Tyrell Goulbourne, who immediately recognized what could happen and hustled to put himself into a great position to get lucky, which is exactly what happened. Yes, indeed, what a little hustle can do.

    # 3 … Holy smokes!!! The rookie Goulbourne really did drop that P-Bruins dude with one punch flush to the face. After hitting the ice, the Providence winger Camara could have gotten back up quickly but clearly thought twice about it and decided to stay down. It should be interesting to see how many more AHL players in the Eastern Conference want some of the Phantoms’ 200-pound rookie left winger’s action the rest of this season.

    # 4 … The Phantoms did fairly well to limit the potent P-Bruins power play to just four opportunities and, perhaps, even more importantly, did very well to surrender zero goals while shorthanded; Lehigh Valley also did rather well to limit the damage inflicted by Providence’s top line of Vatrano – Khokhlachev – Griffith — the one truly effective line that the P-Bruins have at present.

    # 5 … Perhaps it is a sign that the team are ‘adjusting to new systems’, but the Phantoms were noticeably improved in terms of getting the puck out of their own zone efficiently as well as maintaining possession overall. Lehigh Valley didn’t necessarily generate a whole lot of shots offensively but they did do a good job of being organized at the back and limiting the number of quality chances for the visiting P-Bruins. Phantoms veteran free agent signing Aaron Palushaj certainly looked like he knew what he was doing when he intercepted the puck just inside his own blueline and then sent it all the way down the ice into the empty net.

    # 6 … Phantoms are still working on mastering the Umbrella power play alignment — on one particular power play chance in the second period, Lehigh Valley point man Shayne Gostisbehere made what turned out to be a no-look pass to nobody because Nick Cousins had drifted out of the right faceoff circle too high up to where a defenseman would normally be at the right point near the blueline in a more traditional PP alignment.

    # 7 … A real solid if unspectacular game from new Phantoms new signing Evan Rankin (three shots on goal, + 1 plus/minus rating); the 29-year-old winger was clearly seen to be carrying out his defensive responsibilities diligently and also was rather involved in the attack while skating on Lehigh Valley’s fourth line.

    # 8 … Ghost had a few good chances against the P-Bruins but didn’t hit the target — a Phantoms goal for the talented defenseman has to be coming soon.

    # 9 … Great to see Phantoms winger Petr Straka extend his goal-scoring streak to four games on the trot now as this blog has already challenged the Czech import to step up his game and join the ranks of the 20-goal producers at the AHL level on several different occasions and it is fabulous to see that the third-year pro not only reads this blog, but has responded favorably, as well.

    # 10 … Hopefully this quality 3-1 win over the Providence Bruins has generated a bit of momentum of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms heading into Sunday’s game at the PPL Center against the visiting Toronto Marlies. Phantoms have a wonderful opportunity to haul themselves back to .500 opposite a team which really ought to be at least a little weary from all the travel. Besides, dropping points and too deep of a hole at the the start of any season is never a good idea, right?

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