“I want us to win. And win big.”
–“The Great Santini” Starring Robert Duvall
The Phantoms are 0-2 on their 3/3 weekend thus far, but it’s a great day for hockey! Here’s what you need to know to get ready for today’s game versus the Binghamton Senators at the PPL Center:
The Phantoms gave a game back to the white-boarding Bears on Friday night at the PPL Center. The final was 4-2, but one goal was an empty net, and the other three were, well, somewhat soft. Jason LaBarbera was in goal. Palushaj and Goulbourne had the goals for the Phantoms. The Hamilton Street Heroes did have a heavy push at the end, but were unable to tie it up.
Last night, the Phantoms headed up I-81 to Syracuse and and got crunched 2-1 by Jonathan Marchessault. Anthony Stolarz was in goal and performed admirably. Syracuse out-shot Lehigh Valley 33-26 on the night. The Phantoms penalty kill was 4/4 while the power play was 1/4–and often looked dis-organized.
The Phantoms were able to improve on their Penalty Kill–which was ranked dead last in the league–Friday night and into Saturday.
Power Play formation and strategy continues to evolve. It didn’t look too sharp Friday night, and the Phantoms were unable to capitalize on a 5-on-3 opportunity. Watching on TV Saturday night, the man-advantage continued to struggle, despite the goal from AMac.
In the division, the Hamilton Street Heroes are still near the bottom of the rankings. We need to start stacking some wins together and accumulating some standings points, lest we fall too far behind. We’re getting healthy; now’s the time.
F Evan Rankin, who joined the Phantoms on a PTO from the ECHL, was rumored to be on his way out, but was a healthy scratch in last night’s game.
F Danick Martel and D Andrew MacDonald were both nicked up in Friday night’s game, but returned to play last night. F Palushaj was nicked up in last night’s game, but finished, trading lines with Conner.
D Robert Hagg saw his first game-action in some time, in last night’s game.
F Nick Cousins is still injured. He’s skating, but I don’t think we’ll see him this afternoon.
F Cole Bardreau is also injured, and skating. He’s also doubtful for this afternoon.
LaBarbera 1-4, 4.18 GAA, 0.855 SV%
Stolarz 3-3, 1.86 GAA, 0.925 SV%
From last night, with my guy Pettersson taking a fourth-line wing spot–and not a 7th D. Conner and Palushaj traded spots late in the game.
23 Leier – 37 Brent – 16 Palushaj
24 – Straka – 18 Martel – 22 Conner
12 – Goulbourne – 17 Goumas – 19 Alderson
8 Pettersson – 11 Sundher – 27 Padakin
47 MacDonald – 14 Gostisbehere
3 Morin – 2 Alt
4 Hagg – 26 Lashoff
The Royals beat Greenville last night, 5-1. Knapp got the win in goal, Young had a goal and two assists, while our guy Comrie had a goal and an assist. Hatch was on the score sheet, as well.
The Royals are comfortably in second place in their division, and with Adirondack finally losing a game, may be able to close in on the top spot if they continue their winning ways.
They play Greenville again today as they try to get the sweep. They’ll have Wheeling (Pittsburgh) in town on Wednesday if you’re looking for hockey closer than Binghamton. Also, go to our home page and click on the story about an evening in Reading: We have cheap tickets available for Friday, November 20! Join us!
Opponent: The Binghamton Senators arrive at the PPL Center (by now they should know where to find it–word is they got lost on their first visit last season) for the first time this season. As we mentioned above, F Zach Stortini returns to play at the PPL Center for the first time since last season. He is the Senator’s Captain, and as per usual–he’s near the top of the rankings in penalty minutes.
The Senators are in last place in the North Division with only six points. They are also coming in on the tail-end of a 3/3 having lost to Rochester Friday night, 3-1, and Toronto yesterday in Binghamton 6-1. They have the most penalty minutes in the entire AHL.
der Eishockeyzuschauer advance scouting:
Let there be absolutely no misunderstanding here — with just three wins against seven losses, all in regulation, it is the Binghamton Senators who have THE worst record in the America Hockey League’s entire 15-team Eastern Conference to begin this 2015/16 campaign.
.As I stated prior to the Phantoms’ second game of the new season against the Springfield Falcons — this is exactly the sort of contest that Lehigh Valley simply MUST win if they expect to have any realistic chance at qualifying for the annual Calder Cup playoffs this spring. There just is no other way. In fact, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms must sweep this two-game set with the Binghamton Senators, who are currently in the midst of a five-game losing streak including last night’s 6-1 beat down at home by those high-flying Toronto Marlies, but first things first.
.Chris Driedger (6’2″ 202 lbs), the 21-year-old who was the 3rd round pick of the Ottawa Senators at the 2012 NHL Draft, will almost certainly be the starting goaltender for the Binghamton Senators on Sunday at the PPL Center in Allentown. Driedger (5 ga, 2.62 avg, .912 svpct) not only has far better numbers than his counterpart, rookie shot-stopper Matt O’Connor (5 ga, 4.24 avg, .865 svpct), and has accounted for all three of the Sentaors’ wins this season — but Binghamton have been rotating netminders religiously and it is the second-year pro’s turn once again. Driedger, who only appeared in eight AHL games (2.55 avg, .923 svpct) for the B-Sens last season after spending most of the term in the ECHL with the Evansville Icemen (40 ga, 3.78 avg, .885 svpct), did put in 23 minutes of scoreless NHL hockey for the Ottawa Senators last season, as well..The Binghamton Senators have have bunch of big-bodied people on the blue line but none of their defensemen are considered to be true NHL prospects. 29-year-old Nick Tuzzolino (6’5″ 225 lbs), who was once a 7th round pick of the New York Islanders a decade ago, and 28-year-old French-Canadian Guillaume Lepine (6’4″ 225 lbs), who spent three years skating for the Nottingham Panthers in England before returning to North America two summers ago, both have not appeared anywhere near enough games at either the NHL or AHL levels to even qualify as a “Veteran Exempt” player. Michael Sdao (6’4″ 229 lbs), the 26-year-old out of Princeton University who was the 7th round pick of the Ottawa Senators at the 2009 NHL Draft, is another massive presence for the B-Sens but, overall, it is a rather pedestrian crew that patrols at the back..The Binghamton Senators were hit hard recently when winger Mark Puempel (6 ga, 3 go, 5 pts, 4 pen, + 3 def), the 22-year-old who was the 1st round pick of the Ottawa Senators at the 2011 NHL Draft, was promoted by the parent organization on October 26th. As is the case with the defensemen, the B-Sens are devoid of forwards who can be accurately labeled as top shelf NHL prospects. The one experienced player up front for Binghamton who is probably worth keeping an eye on would be Eric O’Dell (10 ga, 5 go, 7 pts, 29 pen, – 1 def), the fifth-year pro center who was the 2nd round pick of the Anaheim Ducks at the 2009 NHL Draft. O’Dell, who has a decent goal-scoring record (77 go in 190 ga) at the AHL level, has skated in 41 NHL games (3 go, 8 pts, 29 pen, – 2 def) in parts of two seasons for the Winnipeg Jets.
Puck Drop: 5:05PM
Tickets and Parking: Good seats are still available for this game, on both the primary and secondary markets. Parking passes are still available for the Linden Arena deck via the PPL Center web site, as of this writing, if you add it to your ticket purchase.
Broadcast: TV-2 on Service Electric. The radio call will be on AM-790 WAEB today, or via the link on Phantomshockey online. The IHeartRadio link on mobile should be accurate, too.
Stats: Here’s the entire “Media Kit” for today’s game. If you’re going to print it and bring it along, take note that it’s 30-some pages!
Promotion: “Go Birds Tailgate” featuring the Eagles Cheerleaders! It’s a great day to wear your Eagles jersey–or your green Phantoms jersey if you won one last season. I haven’t heard anything about jerseys or auctions for the players this year.
Pre-Game/Post-Game: Radio pre-game starts at 4:20, TV at 4:30. Pre-game at Chickie’s and Pete’s may include catching the day’s football games on the TV’s; they often have some drink specials and so on for Sunday football. I’ll probably go with a post-game meal tonight–perhaps a return to The Dime, but it will depend on my game companion. It’s a school night, you know.
What To Watch
- Watch to see if anyone drops the gloves with Stortini. I’m thinking most know better–but then, Mathers and Goulbourne have had some dramatic success in that department thus far this season.
- Watch for other guys to drop gloves, perhaps. Bimmington and the Phantoms weren’t the best of buddies last season–will that carry over given the roster changes?
- Watch to see who starts in goal. I thought LaBarbera had a weak game Friday night, while Stoli did well last night. Will he go back-to-back?
- The “Section 105 Hecklers” tell me that the Senators are one of their favorite teams to go after. Watch to see how that plays out. Keep it clean, fellas.
- The latest from the “whiteboard incident” is that it was initiated when the FAN brought a whiteboard to the game and used it to heckle and insult the players. Are we going to start doing that? Or maybe we just save that for Hershey. Goes back to what I wrote before, though: If you’re going to dish it out, you’d better be able to take it, too. The reaction you get might not be the one you expected or desired.
- Watch to see if Kram can park, eat, or drink without being told “NO”
- “No. You can’t park because we’re not ready to take your $6 yet.”
- “No. You can’t have a table until 4/5 of your party are here.”
- “No. You can’t have a beer because these 12 people just came in from the suites and they get served first.”
- Watch to see if the Phantoms power play can capitalize, playing against the most highly penalized team in the AHL.
- Watch to see the lines and lineups. It was somewhat surprising to see Pettersson get the start on the wing last night, as there were other healthy forward options. Some guys can get some rest, and maybe have either Mathers or Rosey or both out there to fight with the Senators. I’d predict Marti will be back out there, too.
- As a highly penalized team, Binghamton certainly isn’t ranked highly in penalty killing. However, they do have several “shorties” already this season. That’s something to be leery about as we get our own house in order on the PPL Power Play tonight.
The Phantoms head up to Binghamton for a mid-week re-match on Wednesday. Then, they’ll return for two at home next weekend, Friday and Saturday, for Rochester and Albany, respectively, as we continue to play out-of-division games. Friday will be our first T-Shirt giveaway of the 2015-16 season for the first 8,500 entering the arena. Saturday will be Boy Scout Night.
See you at the arena,