Random Thoughts From Reading

Had a great time in Baseballtown last night–watching hockey.  Here are some random observations from our trip:

The calm before the storm, as they prepare the ice for the game. Photo: Kram

The calm before the storm, as they prepare the ice for the game.
Photo: Kram

The Royals lost 5-4–which wasn’t good.  But seeing 9 goals is OK–even if they weren’t all good goals.  Plus we were able to keep up with the Phantoms big win by following along on our phones.  Here are some other thoughts on the evening.

  • Traffic was bad.  We left right during rush hour because that’s when “Kram3” wanted to leave–and I didn’t want to take the back way in the dark, so 222 it was.  We kept our eyes peeled for Geoff Walker, who was promoted from Reading to the Phantoms weeks ago, but not seen since.  We thought perhaps he was stuck in traffic on 222.  No sign of him, though.
  • There are two Readings.  This happened to me before, but I had forgotten.  I set the GPS for the parking garage I wanted to use, but forgot that some of the addresses duplicate on the other side of the river.  I’ve got to check more carefully next time.  No matter, though; we figured it out.
  • Parking was $5 as advertised.  No trouble at all getting a spot in the garage and crossing the tracks to the arena.  Our tickets were easily retrieved from Will Call.  No issues with security or such, either.  We did have to wait for the train as we exited, but that was a minor wait.
  • Our ticket rep Derrick Leshko set us up with some fine seats.  See the picture above. We weren’t a huge group, but there were Phantoms Phans all around us.  If you’re thinking about getting a group together for some hockey in Reading, give Derrick a call.  The web system is slick and worked to perfection–at least on my end.  And you already know how I feel about saving on added fees.
  • The Royals scored 30 seconds into the game.  I was still eating chicken and couldn’t even cheer properly.  I thought the rout was on, but the Jackals wouldn’t go away–then added two goals on a 5-on-3 before we knew what hit us.  The Royals added a late goal to pull within 5-4, but couldn’t get the tying marker across, even with the extra attacker on the ice.
  • My guy Jesper Pettersson looked really good out there.  He was skating in the second pair, Right D, as far as I could tell (didn’t have a lineup).  At some points, he looked like the best player on the ice.  No surprise, he was called back up the the Phantoms today to help out with the Marti injury.  The Phantoms continue to have veteran roster crunch problems–worse now with Colin McDonald healthy.  Lashoff and Rosehill were healthy scratches last night due to that veteran roster limit.
  • Luukko had an assist, but I didn’t notice him out there that much.  I think he was in the third group.
  • Hatch, Lamarche, and Comrie all looked decent.  None stood out, though.  Mathers didn’t play.
  • Other Reading guys I took note of:
    • Robbie Czarnik looked like a good little player.  Seemed to be all over the ice all the time.  Loved watching him play.
    • Riley Armstrong also looked good–and had a heluva night on the score sheet with a goal and three assists and the third star of the game–to go along with a +3.
    • With Marty Ouellette backing up Stolarz on the Phantoms, we saw Connor Knapp start in net.  He didn’t have his best game, allowing 5 goals over 17 shots.  The defense in front of him wasn’t always the best, but it seemed like at least two of the goals were softies.  The backup pitched a clean third period.  Knapp stayed on the bench for the third, and you could see guys coming over to him to pick him up.  Good teammates–there’s lots of hockey left to play this season and everybody has a bad night once in a while.
    • Reading fan favorite Yannick Tifu wasn’t so much a fan favorite.  Royals fans around us weren’t impressed with his play–then he ended up spending more time in the box than on the ice–including a game misconduct.  I think he was centering the fourth line.
  • More about the seats:  Row M was about right.  I like to be up a little to see the plays set up but M was close enough to see the play up close better than our regular seats at the PPL Center (row 20).  Kram3 remarked about how much he could hear.  Not just the sounds of the skates and the ice and the puck on the sticks–but the sounds of the players talking with each other on the ice.  Plus, you know, the music wasn’t quite so blaringly loud… 😉
  • More about the arena:  I forgot just how small the Santander is, compared with our normal surroundings in the PPL Center.  The lights aren’t quite as bright, the music not quite so loud, and the seats and slope put you a bit closer to the action.  I highly recommend a visit if you haven’t been.
  • Another reason to visit–all the folks, from the tickets to the security to the vendors and ushers were really nice and took pride in having us at their arena.  Really felt at home–similar feeling to America’s Classic Ballpark, I must say.
  • Some of the concessions had changed a bit since my last visit.  But still, a nice mix with Penn State Stickies and Funnel Cakes and a coffee stand and soups…Lotta choices for a small place.  I miss the BBQ stand–unless it moved someplace… Many different beer choices, but it seemed 16oz was the only size.  No worries.
  • The center scoreboard is new since my last visit, I think.  Yeah, it’s been a couple years…. I liked seeing the replays and the game ops folks used the scoreboard effectively.
  • The attendance wasn’t great–felt like the same amount of people as a SteelHawks game.  But they’re good fans down there.  Almost everybody has a Royals jersey on, of some type (plenty of Flyers and Phantoms, too) and plenty of vocal, bell, and horn cheers.  Everyone was into the game.
  • Horns and Bells.  Imagine.

See you at the arena,

@Kram209

(May have a Hartford preview up later today–we’ll see if the Phantoms can keep stacking the points and climb up a bit in the standings.)



Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level

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