“How would you like a job where, every time you make a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?”
— Jacques Plante
The Phantoms left town last weekend on the heels of a re-match loss to the IceCaps in a well-played but questionably officiated game Friday night. The ‘Caps got the 3-2 victory on what should have been an offside call, but the quality of the hockey by both teams at the PPL Center was superb. It was a costly loss, though, as Evan Rankin and Nick Cousins were lost to injury and couldn’t play on Sunday. More on the roster below. Here’s a video recap:
With Saturday off, the Hamilton Street Heroes then headed to the Giant Center in Hershey to face a Bears team at the end of a 3/3. With reinforcements from Reading and Philadelphia, the Phantoms managed a 4-1 lead, blew it, survived a power-play during overtime, and still managed a win after 10 rounds of shoot-out. Regulation goals were scored by Straka (2), Martel and Palushaj. Shootout goals were scored by Leier, Alderson and Sundher. Jason LaBarbara got his first win of the season in goal for the Phantoms. Video highlights:
After grabbing two points on Sunday in Hershey–a place the Phantoms haven’t earned a regulation win in some time–the team has risen to 6th place in the 8-team Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.
- The Phantoms are 10th (out of 30) in the Power Play
- The Phantoms are 30th in Penalty Killing
- The Phantoms are 27th in Penalty Minutes (overall)
- The Phantoms are 5th in ‘Average Attendance’ (Hershey, San Diego, Ontario, Providence)
Since we last saw the team in Allentown, a lot has happened. Let me try to catch you up:
- G Jason LaBarbera returned from the Flyers as planned in advance of Friday’s home game with the IceCaps. G Martin Ouellette was correspondingly returned to Reading.
- F Nick Cousins was crushed against the boards assisting in the tying goal on Friday night. He made one more shift but then left for the game. He did not play in Hershey. He did return to the ice late this week, but his availability for this weekend is currently unknown. If he did, indeed, have a concussion, he’ll have to move through the protocols before playing.
- F Evan Rankin was hit in the neck or face with a friendly-fire shot Friday night and neither returned to the game nor played on Sunday. He is expected back this weekend, but has been somewhat limited in practice.
- F Danick Martel somewhat surprisingly returned to the lineup on Friday night at home, having not practiced full-contact at all in the days leading up to the game. He logged significant minutes on Sunday in Hershey, including the first goal of the game and playing on the first 3-man overtime unit with Palushaj and Gostisbehere.
- F Kevin Sundher, who had played well with the Phantoms during pre-season, was called up from Reading on a “PTO” and activated for the Hershey game. He logged significant minutes and scored the game-winning goal in the 10th round of the shootout. He is wearing #11.
- D Christian Marti has recovered from his injury that he suffered pre-season, and was returned to the Phantoms from the Flyers. He should make his season debut tonight. Learn more about the big Swiss lefty HERE. He is wearing sweater #7.
- The Sundher recall was somewhat necessitated by the call-up of F Chris Conner to the Flyers. The veteran was added for attacking depth for the Flyers’ road trip. He had scored the two goals in Friday night’s loss at the PPL Center. He didn’t get into a game with the Flyers, and is now back on the Phantoms. He’s back in town, and should be available for the weekend.
- According to the ECHL and sources covering the Royals, veteran F Geoff Walker has been “recalled” by the Phantoms. He has significant AHL experience, but not since the 2013-14 season. I believe he would count as a “tweener” for AHL veteran rules purposes. He hasn’t been seen practicing with the Phantoms yet, and hasn’t been added to the Phantoms roster yet, either. He’s in hockey “limbo” somewhere, I guess.
- D Davis Drewiske has been called up to the Flyers to replace “upper body” inured D Evgeny Medvedev who recently flew home from the Flyers road trip to the Western Provinces. The Flyers were somewhat strapped by the salary cap, and only had Drewiske or Pettersson available at the appropriate salary for a reserve defender.
- D Robert Hagg is now skating full contact. There is the expectation that he could return this weekend, but probably not for all three games.
- D Andrew MacDonald has had some time off practice for “maintenance.” Just something to watch.
- F Cole Bardreau is skating. He has not been ruled out for some weekend action, but I’m not holding my breath. Next week is more likely.
- F Colin McDonald, the captain, is skating individually. He is not expected to return this weekend.
- F Michael Parks is not yet skating. He will not return this weekend.
Morin 12 PIM
Mathers 12 PIM
Straka 9 PIM
Stolarz: 3-2, 1.82 GAA, .920 SV
LaBarbera: 1-3, 4.46 GAA, .847 SV
23 Taylor Leier – 37 Tim Brent – 16 Aaron Palushaj
24 Petr Straka – 18 Danick Martel – 22 Chris Conner
12 Tyrell Goulbourne – 17 Kevin Goumas – 19 Brandon Alderson
11 Kevin Sundher – 17 Pavel Padakin – 10 Evan Rankin
(Rosehill, Bardreau, Mathers/Pettersson)
14 Shayne Gostisbehere – 47 Andrew MacDonald
3 Sam Morin – 2 Mark Alt
26 Matt Lashoff – 7 Christian Marti
The Royals lost to Orlando on Halloween, but are still in second place in the East/Eastern/ECHL, behind Adirondack.
They have two with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits this weekend–Saturday and Sunday–and then one with Wheeling (Pittsburgh) on Wednesday–all at home. The Saturday and Wednesday games line up nicely with the Phantoms’ schedule if you’re looking for more hockey.
And if you want to put on your Phantoms gear and represent the Lehigh Valley, join us on Friday, November 20 as Phan Nation invades Reading. CLICK HERE FOR DISCOUNTED TICKETS
Opponent: The Hershey Bears, with ex-Phantom Austin Fyten, are in town for the first time this season. While the Phantoms have been off all week since the shoot-out win in Hershey on Sunday, the third-place Bears traveled to Bridgeport for a Wednesday matinee where they beat the SoundTigers 4-2.
For more information on the Bears, click here for our pre- and post-game thoughts from Sunday–with help from der Eishockeyzuschauer. Or, go here for his pre-season thoughts on the Bears. Finally, a scouting report specifically for tonight’s game.
Puck Drop: 7:05PM
Doors: 6:00PM [It was confirmed that 5:30PM doors will be for Saturday Games Only throughout the season.]
Tickets and Parking: I admit it’s been difficult to gauge this season, but it appears that seats will be available for this game up until game time. There are also MANY seats available on the secondary markets (ie StubHub). Pre-purchase parking may be available in the arena deck, depending on when you purchases your tickets.
Broadcast: TV-2 on Service Electric, or AM-1470 on the radio. Online audio at phantomshockey.com or via the IHeartRadio App on mobile. In the arena listen in at FM-89.9 for the live feed in real time.
Promotion: It’s 20 years of Phantoms hockey, and this is the first of our 4 commemorative poster giveaways. It’s only for the first 3,000 fans, so get there early if you really must have one.
I’ll likely have one or two or three to give away, and I don’t want to carry them around all night–so message me or tweet me (FB: Kram Two-Ohnine; T: @Kram209) and it’s yours if you can find me!
BTW, I think the logo below is really cool, and that they did a good job with it. It starts with the standard (Lehigh Valley version of) the Phantoms logo, the circle around the face has the three cities where the team played, with the purple of Philadelphia gradually changing into the blue of Lehigh Valley (the accent color) separated by the handles of the hockey sticks, which in turn hold the 20-years banner. Well done. You know, some day I’d like to see a blue alternate jersey using that “electric blue” accent color…
Pre-Game Meal: Friday’s going to be a busy one downtown, so I’d arrive most places 5PM or so to get a table. We did Chickie’s again last Friday–Junior’s choice. There were plenty of tables when we arrived at 4:30PM. I’ve learned to warn the server that Junior gets only one order of lobster tails, lest all my beer money be gone before the game starts! The service was very good, and they handled another special request I had with aplomb.
Tonight, we’re likely headed back to Bell Hall. They’ve got a lot of cool stuff to try, in addition to the specialty burgers and beers. Don’t keep me from getting a seat, but here’s their web site.
There was talk of a “reverse happy hour” at The Dime after the game–with food and drink specials from 9-11PM. However, I couldn’t find confirmation. Stay tuned–it sounds like a great idea, and they should open the lobby on the main concourse as well as via the Miller Lite Loft for folks to stop by more easily. I’m not big on drinking after the game, but I’d like a bite to eat sometimes. I’ll update if I find out anything more. For Sunday’s game, I’ll almost certainly be “post-gaming” it a bit–some of these downtown places need to make sure they’re open on event nights–even if it is a Sunday when they’d normally be closed.
What To Watch
- Watch for any fall-out from “Whiteboard-gate” by either of the teams–or fans thereof.
- Watch to see who gets the start in goal. Both guys will get time this weekend, for sure, but Stoli has earned the primary spot, at this point. LaBarbera may have the advantage of having just seen this team on Sunday.
- Watch to see how the lines shake out. For the first time in a while, Coach Gordon may have some flexibility.
- Watch to see if Bow-Tie Ben or meLVin have any jokes regarding “white boards.”
- Watch to see if Austin Fyten has anything to say to the “Section 105 hecklers”–if he’s active.
- Watch to see if Geoff Walker gets added to the roster–and if he does, will he play?
- With Drewiske up and Conner back, the Phantoms remain in a crunch for veteran roster spots. Expect a “veteran scratch” tonight, and while it could be Rosey again, my bet is it’s a defender, with Marti and Hagg possibly back in the lineup. Look for maybe Lashoff or MacDonald to get the scratch. We’ll see.
- But then, der Eishockeyzuschauer tells me Lashoff has experience playing with Swiss players–and sure enough has been matched with Marti. Right now, I doubt Lashoff gets scratched for Marti’s first game. Probably Rosey then.
- Look for the male staff members of the Phantoms to be a little scruffy, as they haven’t had time for their Mo-vember mustaches to come in fully. My day job prevents me from participating. Yeah, that’s the ticket. 😉
- Watch to see if they can kill a darn penalty for once.
It’s a 3/3 weekend, and that means the Phantoms play again tomorrow–in Syracuse. They’ll be right back here late Sunday afternoon for the return of the great Stortini and the Binghamton Senators. It’s “Eagles Tailgate” night featuring the Eagles’ Cheerleaders. Rise Up indeed. They then have a road game re-match in Binghamton on Wednesday, as well next week.
See you at the arena,