“It’s just a flesh wound!”
-The Black Night, Monty Python and the Holy Grail
The Phantoms completed the first three games–6 available points–of their big home February with only 2 points to show for it. The playoffs are slipping out of reach. The Utica game started out well enough Saturday night, only to end with a 5-2 loss and another chorus of “We came out flat.” Certainly, it was understandable that Stolarz wasn’t at his best after the long lay-off, and it was certainly warranted to get him out of the game and try to get something going. It never materialized, though, and following an attempt at 6-on-4 by pulling the netminder with 7 minutes to go, that was all she wrote. Two straight losses last weekend followed the nice win last Wednesday.
Our buddy Tony over at Highland Park Hockey Tweeted that he thought 20-4-1 would be needed over the last 25 games in order to gain a playoff spot. Further analysis by d.E., and he tells me 18-6-1 might get it done. Either way, it’s a long shot and it needs to start with a really strong win streak. We’re “still fighting” but we’re running short on limbs, much like the Black Knight in the quote above (and the NSFW video below).
Tonight’s opponent, the Springfield Falcons, come in as the only team behind us in the divisional standings.
- Def Andrew MacDonald was called to the Flyers just prior to the game on Saturday. That could certainly be part of the difficulty the Phantoms had getting things going in the game.
- In fact, a plethora of waiver-exempt players are in Philly, and I’ve heard rumbling that if the Flyers were smart, they’d send ’em all back to help the Phantoms make a run. Unfortunately, I’ve never known a parent team to behave that way, exactly. Second, we might be in too deep a hole to make it even worth it. That said, every time I see Scotty Laughts or Nicky Cousins or Brandon Manning or others scratched, I wonder if we’re once again getting the short end of the Philadelphia-based stick here in Allentown. Nothing else to say here, really, just something to keep an eye on for the rest of this season and into next. The only other thing is Ghost. He’s doing really great things for the Flyers. Every time I see it, though, I think: He was supposed to do all that for us FIRST. Then move up. We were supposed to get months and months of his dynamic play, allowing us to build a nice lead in the standings and…. It didn’t work out that way, did it…
- The rest of the team is reported as healthy, save for the known injuries of Tim Brent, Kevin Sundher, and Logan Pyett. F Jay Rosehill is reportedly healthy, and I’m getting ready to advocate for dusting him off and sending him out there to kick some butt–our team or theirs–if the losing continues.
- F Pavel Padakin made the “Midnight Run” down 222 to center to the top line for the Royals Wednesday night. He’s back after tallying a goal and getting some serious ice time.
- I don’t mean to be all negative–it’s the sadness that comes from the slow death of another season, and all the hopes and dreams that go with it. Certainly, there are some hockey things to look forward to before we chuck it all in favor of soccer, arena football, and baseball. I’ve got a couple Phantoms features coming up that don’t depend on us winning games. One more thing to feel good about: Three hat tricks in the last couple weeks is pretty cool.
The Royals took 2 out of 3 last weekend, finishing by splitting with Adirondack. On Wednesday they faced off against Manchester to a 4-3 overtime loss and will have a rematch tonight before heading up there for a third in a row versus the Monarchs–the top team in the East.
The Reading Royals are currently in third place in their division, and poised for a bottom-half playoff position at this juncture.
See this report on the netminder situation for the Falcons: HERE
Former Phantom Steve Downie won’t play tonight; he took a bad hit on Tuesday.
The Falcons come in having won by shootout on Tuesday versus Bridgeport. They lost both games last weekend, first by shootout to Hershey (that’s hard to do: Hershey’s no good at shootouts!) then versus Providence. Both at home.
Puck Drop: 7:05PM
Tickets, Parking and Security: Tickets are going fast for this contest, but seats are still available as of today. We may not reach SRO status. Folks I talk to have been happy with the current parking situation both in the arena-owned garage (pre-paid pass only) as well as the Parking Authority facilities. Most facilities I passed last week were collecting parking prior to 4:30PM.
Security was running smoothly all last week as far as I observed–good thing, because it was too cold to be standing outside in line. Still, fans are reminded of the basic PPL Center policies:
The following items are prohibited during all PPL Center events to ensure the safety and comfort of our guests. Additional rules and regulations may be posted on PPL Center property or may be communicated through PPL Center staff. Guests are reminded to arrive early, as they may be subject to bag checks, a physical search and/or metal detection prior to entering the facility.
Prohibited items include but are not limited to:
– Alcoholic beverages, controlled or unlawful substances and controlled substance paraphernalia
– Weapons of any kind including but not limited to: firearms, knives, chains and spiked jewelry
– Cigarettes and E-Cigarettes
– Cans, bottles (glass or plastic) or coolers
– Outside foods or beverages
– Professional cameras, audio or video recording devices, tripods, and drones
– Mobile tablet devices and laptops
– Laser pointers and pens, pepper spray and Mace
– Noisemakers, such as airhorns, fireworks, Frisbees, balls and other projectiles
– Large purses and large backpacks
– Animals that are not service animals
– Balloons or gifts of any kind
– Selfie Sticks
– Any and all bags exceeding the maximum size limit of 16x15x6. (i.e. backpacks, suitcases, beach bags, etc.)
– Laptops or tablets
– No wrapped gifts are permitted to enter the building at any time under any circumstances.
– Any other item deemed unacceptable by the event or building management
*This list is subject to change without notice by PPL Center Management.
Concessions: I concede that they’ll never get my name plate on my seat until after my five year contract expires.
Oh, not that kind of concession. Friday Night. Lent. The Arena is on top of it:
Check out the special menu items and where to find them:
Fresh Classics – Soup and Seafood Wraps
Grillmasters & Burger Prime – Foot Long Fish Sandwich
Mozzarella’s – Vegetable and Cheese Pizzas
Mom’s Mac & Cheese – Seafood Mac and Cheese
Non-meat options in The Morning Call Club will vary on a game-by-game basis.
Broadcast: SE TV-2, AM-1470, IHeartRadio App, Phantomshockey.com, and 89.9FM (in arena, real time)
Media Kit and Rosters: Springfield 2-19-2016
Promotion: Youth T-Shirt for the first 2,500 kiddos 14 and under. My experience is, this is plenty of T-Shirts for all but the most late arrivals; however, get to the arena on time if you really must get one for the little dears.
Pregame: TV goes to pregame at 6:30PM, live from Chickie’s and Pete’s. Radio on 1470AM at 6:20PM for your ride downtown. Pregame meal Saturday was at The Hamilton–first time back this season. Their menu had been expanded a bit since I was last there (I think). I sampled a couple different whiskeys from their comprehensive list, including one which was on my “wish list” for a while. However, it was a different one that took the day: Jefferson Ocean Voyage. Special bottling for the Hamilton. Outstanding. Our service was top-notch as well.
Tonight marks the return of DiPro–so we do Chickie’s in his honor.
Post-Game: Not that I want it to get too crowded, but I remain a fan of the music and drinks from the Dime bar after the games.
What To Watch
- As always, watch to see who gets the start in goal. You can make a case for either, and with 3/3 this weekend, we’ll likely see both play at some point. If I had to guess, I’d go with Barbs tonight and Sunday afternoon, with Stolie tomorrow–still, you could go Stolie tonight against the weaker opponent, Barbs tomorrow, then whomever has the hot hand for Sunday. Both today and Sunday are versus Springfield, so you can make the case for the same guy starting both in order to be familiar with their attack.
- Watch for the quarterback of the Power Play now that AMac is gone. Morin tried it out when AMac was down. Others didn’t do as well. I think I’d go with Alt and/or switch back to a more standard PP formation. Comrie has the laser, but is he quick enough to get board-to-board and cover the blue line by himself?
- We’ve been rolling with 11F/7D for a while now. Could it be time to go 12/6 and get Padakin and/or Rosie on the ice? Will Padakin play after his tuneup in Reading Wednesday night?
- Watch to see if they have any size choices for the kiddo shirts. I’ll have a kiddo with me tonight–he’s towards the larger end of the scale tonight, so we’ll see if they have an appropriate one for him.
We’re back at it tomorrow as Bridgeport comes to town. Remember, the doors open a little earlier on a Saturday, so you can come downtown early if you want. The team has a 3/3 this weekend, and will head up the Springfield for a rematch of tonight’s game, on Sunday. Tomorrow’s “Hockey Night” might be an audio/podcast version. We’ll see.
By way of promotions, we’ve got the Kiddo Shirts tonight, nothing tomorrow, nothing on Friday, and meLVin’s Birthday Bash next Saturday.
A similar schedule follows next weekend, with Hartford and Utica at home prior to a trip to Hartford on Sunday.
Full season ticket holders with a payment schedule (or, paid) in place for next season, should have received a “Save the Date” email for the Phantoms Carnival, scheduled for Sunday March 6, 11AM-3PM. Contact your ticket rep if you have questions.
Blog upcoming: I do want to do some audio or podcast stuff–even if I have to do it alone and/or with poor production value. We’ve got a Carnival preview coming, as well as a Phantoms Jersey retrospective leading in to the weekend of March 4,5,6. Stay tuned!
See you at the arena,
Bonus Video: “The Black Knight Always Wins” (Not Safe For Work–or young kids)