“Good. Better. Best.
Never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best.”
The Phantoms took a hard-fought and decisive game from the rival Bears a week ago yesterday at the PPL Center. They came from behind 3-1 and won 6-4. It was a spirited game and a lot of fun to watch–one of my favorites so far in this season. Could this be the point the Phantoms turn the corner?
Not so fast. The very next night they headed up to Binghamton and lost 2-1 versus the worst team in the AHL. Reports from the game suggest that they played well; however, they were out-shot 32-23. LaBarbera was in goal and maybe had his best showing of the season thus far. Still, they were down 1-0 for much of the game and pressed hard to tie it in the third, so it sounds like the effort was there.
They’ve been off for a week, now it’s back to hockey. Hopefully, we’re “rested and ready” for the Sound Tigers.
|4||Bridgeport Sound Tigers||31||16||12||2||1||35||0.565||80||77||0-3-1-1||2-6-1-1||1-1||504|
|5||Lehigh Valley Phantoms||30||14||15||1||0||29||0.483||87||88||0-1-0-0||5-5-0-0||3-0||354|
|8||Hartford Wolf Pack||29||12||15||2||0||26||0.448||66||88||1-0-0-0||4-6-0-0||3-0||329|
The players have been off for a time, for their holiday break. Here’s how we left things last weekend:
- Danick Martel missed the Binghamton game with an undisclosed (what else?) injury
- Def Christian Marti has been skating “non-contact” for a while now, and could be close to a return
- Def Matt Lashoff has missed several games with an undisclosed (yeah, that) injury
- F Tim Brent has been out a couple games with an undisclosed (of course) injury
- F Michael Parks had been skating non-coontact, but we haven’t heard anything lately. Haven’t heard anything about F Kevin Sundher lately either. Both have been out with injury.
- Veteran F Chris Conner probably won’t return until late in January given the initial reports on his injury
- The diminutive defenceman and All-Kram Team member, Jesper Pettersson was promoted from Reading just today. This might mean that Marti is not ready for game action.
Phantoms HOME Power Play: 9th (30) –versus Sound Tigers ROAD Penalty kill: 14th
Phantoms HOME Penalty Kill: 25th –versus Sound Tigers ROAD Power Play: 30th
In two home contests versus Elmira last weekend, the Royals split losing 5-2 and then winning 2-0. They are currently above .500 at 13-11-1-2, but in 4th place (out of 5) in their division.
This weekend they begin a 5-game road swing which will take them through Elmira, Brampton, and Glens Falls, NY before they return home on January 2 to face Adirondack again on “Winter Trapper Hat” night.
Happy Boxing Day!
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers–AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders–limp into town. Here’s the scouting report on “the other orange team.”
Puck Drop: 7:05PM
Tickets and Parking: This game has already gone “SRO” so I’d highly recommend securing tickets before heading downtown. Tickets are also sparse on the secondary market–this is gonna be a crowded one. I’d like to know about the different designations on the SRO: “100” or “200” or “Miller Lite Loft.” Are they gonna check on that and herd folks to said areas? Interesting.
Arena North garage was still available as pre-purchase with an online ticket order as of this writing. Otherwise, please us the Parking Authority facilities. Read more about that HERE. It’s worth repeating: I’ve had good luck with the “Community Deck” which you can access either off 6th Street near Hamilton or from Walnut Street. New, clean, and well-lit you can walk quickly up to Hamilton and on to the arena–or stop for a bite to eat along the East-Hamilton corridor.
Broadcast: In addition to the usual suspects, tonight’s game is also available on 69 WFMZ as one of their featured Saturday night showings. In the arena, tune your portable radio to FM 89.9 to hear the “real time” call of the came.
Media Kit: Phantoms v Bridgeport 12-26-15
Printable Rosters: As per usual, on pages 11 and 12 of the Media Kit
Promotion: Tonight is the second of four “20 Years of Phantoms” commemorative poster nights. There will only be 3,000 available, so get there early if you really want one–tonight will be crowded and the door open early. If you miss out, and really must have one, contact me via SoMe and you can have one of mine so that I don’t have to carry the darn things around all night… 😉
Pre-Game: The pre-game show on TV is only available on Service Electric TV-2, and begins at 6:30PM. On radio, you can tune to AM-1470 to listen to pre-game on your way downtown, starting at 6:20PM.
We had the whole crew downtown last Friday, and Chickie’s won the vote for where to eat. I had intended on getting a cheese steak, but got filled up on some excellent onion rings (and Crabby Ale) and skipped it. That Yuengling IPL “India Pale Lager” was quite tasty, too! Good service and no complaints other than my own “menu fatigue” with Chickie’s.
We’ll probably end up there again tonight because Junior can’t get enough of those fries. With the early doors tonight, the best strategy is either to arrive very early (like 4:00PM) or to arrive right around the 5:30 exodus. There are some bowl games on today, so perhaps we’ll head down there early for that.
What To Watch
- Watch to see if Stolie is in net tonight. I think he will be.
- Watch to see if any of the injured players make it back–particularly Marti
- Watch to see if Bridgeport continues to have problems scoring–and winning. This is a very win-able game for us.
- Watch to see how crowded it gets. Time your concourse ventures and restroom visits accordingly.
- Take a look at the team: Do they seem “rested and ready” or un-sharp from the time off?
- Watch to see how the special teams shake out. Could be an opportunity for the Penalty Kill to gain ranking if the Sound Tigers road PP is really that weak.
- Watch Sam Morin. He’s gaining confidence and playing a more physical game and with better speed. It was good to see him take that big shot last Friday, as well as come to the aid of Mark Alt after he was boarded. Let’s watch his game closely–and let’s see if he can stay out of the box.
- Watch Petr Straka. He was on a scoring tear there for a while, but has quieted down. Let’s see if he can put the biscuit in the basket tonight
From here, the Phantoms head out on the road for five straight, including TWO mid-week contests this coming week!
They could get some help tomorrow as the Flyers will likely make a roster move in order to activate d-man Mark Streit. Much speculation on whom it could be: This was the best article I read on the topic. Although there may be other tricks up GM Ron Hextall’s sleeves. In any case, it’s not just about roster space, but salary cap space as well.
But whatever happens, the Phantoms will still be at Casey Plaza to face the Penguins tomorrow afternoon, then in Binghamton Tuesday evening and Chocolate-town Thursday at 5:00PM for a New Year’s Eve match-up. Then they’ll play two games next weekend in Portland, Maine to start off 2016.
The Hamilton Street Heroes will finally return to the PPL Center on Friday, January 8 for “no promotion night” versus the Penguins. Two days later, a late-afternoon contest on Sunday January 10, Chewbacca himself Zack Stortini will be in town with his Binghamton Senators for Star Wars Night.
See you at the arena,