“There is a mysterious ritual that dates back thousands of years…”
-March of the Penguins
The Mighty Penguins are struggling as they approach the AHL All Star week. This might be just what they need to get right: A game in the friendly confines of the PPL Palace at Pawlowski Place. Here’s what you need to know to get ready for the game tonight:
The Phantoms have won three in a row–two regulation wins sandwiched around a shootout–as the Penguins come marching into town. As you know if you’ve read d.E.’s preview, it’s just what the Penguins need to get back to their winning ways. What does it mean for the Phantoms? That’s what we’ll find out tonight. Is it a mysterious ritual where the Penguins will continue to own our ice?
The game on Wednesday was unique in many ways–click back to read about the hat trick and associated controversy–but the most important was finally getting a win on home ice. Important note: Absolutely throw your hat if we get a hat trick tonight, but please, please, don’t throw anything, ever, other than that. If we get permission from the team to honor Colin McDonald’s hattie in some way, I’ll let you know. Otherwise, not worth it to risk a penalty. Or get yourself kicked out. Keep your gloves (and your hat) on, until instructed otherwise.
Following the Flyers’ game Wednesday night, G Jason LaBarbera was returned to the Phantoms, and correspondingly, G Martin Ouellette returned to the Royals. We’re all better for it.
F Aaron Palushaj missed the game Wednesday recovering from a cheap hit he took in Hershey. His availability for tonight is not yet known.
Tim Brent and Petr Straka remain injured–Brent with hand/wrist surgery and Straka–we presume–with a knee. Jay Rosehill is also injured, for anyone wondering why he’s not been a candidate to see ice time of late.
The Royals pumped in 7 goals to win in regulation Wednesday night, and climb into a tie for third place in their division. ECHL veteran Yannick Tifu, playing in his 499th game in the league, racked up five points on two goals and 3 assists, on the night.
The Royals are visiting our old friends in Glens Falls this weekend–tonight and tomorrow–as they face off for two in a row with the powerful Adirondack Thunder.
The Penguins come into town nursing some injuries, and preparing for the All Star week. However, they’ve played very well in our building. Nay, very very well. Backup netminder–and rookie–Tristan Jarry even has a shutout against us in the PPL Center. Beware the injured Penguin, they’re marching in to get a win, no doubt, and our puny three-game win streak likely doesn’t impress them.
Puck Drop: 7:05PM
Tickets: The game has gone “SRO” and the team’s gone the next step in labeling the different SRO areas on the ticket map. Will they enforce it? It’s interesting; we’ll see. Please order your tickets before heading downtown.
Traffic and Parking: Parking should not be a problem, although the Parking Authority tells me we should plan on using deck inventory rather than count on finding on-street space or some lots which might not be available or prepared. Leave a little extra time for traffic–the lack of turning lanes and narrowed roads will make things a little slower getting in and out of town. All major routes are fully passable, but just slow going.
Media Kit/Rosters: Penguins 1 29 2016
Broadcast: The usual suspects: TV-2 on Service Electric, AHL-Live ($), AM-1470, IHeartRadio App, PhantomsHockey.com. Listening in real-time at the arena is cool: Bring your portable and tune to FM-89.9 for the live call from broadcaster Bob Rotruck. You might even know when a hat trick happens! 😉
Promotion: It’s the third of four, commemorative poster nights. Tonight’s poster representing the move from Philadelphia to Adirondack. Expect to see the Phantoms in the throw-backs, which will be auctioned following the game on March 4. The Pens in white tonight.
Pregame: TV pregame, a Service Electric exclusive, goes live at 6:30PM from the soundstage at Chickie’s. Radio a bit earlier for your drive in, tune AM-1470 in your car.
Pregame wings at Bell Hall on Wednesday were outstanding. Did you know? In addition to all the craft beers which the Millennials like so much, Bell Hall has three different diet beers on tap for old fat guys like me. Miller Lite, Coors Light, and Bud Light.
Tonight, errands will have me late to downtown. I’m hoping to get to the Miller Lite Loft in time to watch warm-ups from up above.
What To Watch
- As always, who leads the team onto the ice? Smart money is on Stolie tonight, with Barbie getting the start tomorrow at the Mohegan so that Stolie can be fresh headed to Syracuse for the All Stars. But who knows? Could be Barbie twice if you want the old man going back to back.
- Watch to see if Palushaj is available. Even if he is, the Phantoms could continue with 11F/7D as they’ve won with it the last two times out.
- The healthy scratch. I thought Comrie played well Wednesday; Marti was the healthy scratch. Let’s see who sits tonight. I like Comrie out there to shoot sometimes.
- AMac. He’s been off and on nursing some injury (which they of course never tell us about)–We’re better with him out there, especially on the Power Play, so watch to see if he plays or becomes the scratch in lieu of Marti and Comrie.
- Padakin. He’s back from Reading and represented himself very well Wednesday night. It’s what I observed, but also the subject of this piece by our friend Tony Androckitis.
- Watch for a fight. d.E. brought it up in his preview, but even before that I had a feeling. Neither team are big fighters, but I just think we’ll see one tonight.
- Cole Bardreau. The hard-working Cornell product earned a spot on the second line for Wednesday’s game and has been playing with more and more confidence all the time. He’s fun to watch.
- Admire those thowbacks. I’m saving my pennies and one will be mine, I’m telling you. Can’t wait for March 4. As some folks know, I’ve got a massive Phantoms jersey retrospective planned for the days leading up to the March 4 auction. Stay tuned.
- Remember, don’t throw anything on the ice unless it’s a hat-trick, or you’re otherwise told to do so.
- Special teams: The Pens and the Phantoms are both top-15 PK units. Watch to see if anyone can score a PP goal; if they do, that’ll probably be the winning team.
The Phantoms and Pens complete a home-and-home tomorrow night in Wilkes-Barre. Then it’s off to Syracuse for Stolie and Cousins, while the rest of the team gets a much-needed break, with no practices or games.
The Hamilton Street Heroes return to action on Friday February 5 in Bridgeport, followed by Super Bowl Saturday in Hershey, February 6.
The next time out at the PPL Center will be Wednesday February 10, which will kick off a string of 7 out of 8 games at home. Important upcoming promotions:
2/10 Career Fair
2/13 Post-game on-ice photos with players
2/19 Youth T-Shirt
2/27 meLVin’s Birthday
See you at the arena,
Featured image by Jack Mitroka.