“We got off to a bit of a slow start, but we are starting to figure out how we need to play to be successful.”
-Colin McDonald, Captain
I grew up 45 minutes south of Binghamton. Or, “Bimmington” as people in those parts call it. If you’re going “to the city” it’s Bimmington. Unless you’re going “down to the valley” in which case it’s Scranton. Anyway, for many years my mom was a teacher in a school district about 20 minutes south of their arena. There was an unwritten rule amongst parents and teachers: No homework on hockey night. Not that it was my mom’s idea; she hates hockey. They don’t get great crowds there, but they’ve supported hockey for many years. I can remember the Dusters and the Whalers, and then it was the Rangers as I moved away. Now, of course, it’s the Senators for one more year. Will it be the AHL affiliate of the Las Vegas next season? Probably not because Vegas is going AHL-less at first, but Bimmington swears they’re going to have a team despite the departure of the Senators. I hope they bring back the Dusters moniker, regardless.
The Phantoms had come from behind to defeat Providence last Friday, then went into Bridgeport and lost to the Sound Kittens and snapped an 8-game win streak–7 were in regulation. The Phantoms would be 11-1-1 right now without their losses to Bridgeport! Last night the Phantoms got a late goal from Colin McDonald to squeeze out a 1-0 win with Alex Lyon in net. His shutout was a beauty, reports suggest. Good job by the first-year pro!
The Phantoms remain in second place to Wilkes-Barre by both win percentage and points. However, the Pens lost last night, so we inch closer. Is it too early to want to avoid Bridgeport in the first round of the playoffs? If the playoffs started today (they don’t–too early for this?) that’s who we’d play, as Scranton and Hershey would face off.
The Phantoms achieved the number one ranking in AHL Power Rankings this week. It’s not an enviable position, though, as no team has repeated for a second week, as far as I know.
The Power Play has been good, ranking number 1 in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile the Penalty Kill is sixth. (Our opponent tonight, Binghamton, is last in Power Play, and 8th in PK.)
The Phantoms are 11th in most penalty minutes in the conference (of 14), and have been near the “bottom” all season. Somewhat surprisingly, Binghamton is currently last in that category–a team which had been near the top in recent years.
F Scott Laughton was recalled to Philadelphia for the injured Sean Couturier. It was handy to have Laughts during the time that Miele was injured; he made significant contribution to the 8-game win streak.
F Jordan Weal and D Robert Hagg returned to the lineup Thanksgiving Eve versus the Senators. Lamarche reportedly played well in Hagg’s absence on the road.
F Andy Miele is reportedly close to returning. He’s been skating hard in practices I’ve heard.
F Tyrell Goulbourne is with Reading now; F Steven Swavely is with the Phantoms.
G Alex Lyon is now the starter, with G Anthony Stolarz in Philadelphia and G Martin Ouellette backing up Lyon.
F Greg Carey leads the AHL in goals!
Weal and Leier are 7th and 8th in assists.
Lines From Wednesday Night:
23 Leier 9 Bardreau 13 McDonald
10 Carey 40 Weal 22 Conner
18 Martel 7 Zengerle 16 Aube-Kubel
14 Knight 19 Fazleev 11 Swavely
43 Brennan 44 Willcox
3 Morin 6 Sanheim
4 Hagg 8 O’Neill
Reading in a bit of a free-fall having lost 7 in a row. They’re in Elmira tonight, and home for two with Cincinnati tomorrow and Sunday. They currently sit 5th place in the division.
A rematch of the 1-0 win Wednesday night, crowd-favorite F Zack Stortini returns to the PPL Center–unfortunately no T-Gillz to keep him in line this time!
Puck Drop: 7:05PM
Tickets: Many tickets–including really good seats–available on the secondary market on this holiday weekend. A nice smattering of seats available from the team–buy in advance for best selection.
Parking: Past updates still intact: Bring cash because several locations no credit cards; Government deck at 4th/Hamilton is conventional parking, not event parking; Symphony Hall Lot at 6th/Linden closed for construction project, use Trans Center instead.
Media Kit: binghamton-112516
Promotion: Go Birds “Tailgate” featuring special guest Ron Jaworski and the Eagles Cheerleaders–Autographs prior to the game.
Broadcast Information: TV-2 Service Electric or via the AHL-Live package; 1470AM or 89.9FM in the arena; IHeartRadio or Phantoms365 on mobile; Phantomshockey.com online.
Pre-Game and Downtown: It’s a Black Friday game so expect plenty of hustle and bustle downtown. Pre-game on the radio begins at 6:20PM, while the TV goes Live from Chickie’s and Pete’s at 6:30PM. My plans are up in the air as I return from out of town, but I’ll likely grab a pre-game beverage somewhere nearby.
What To Watch
- Lyon is hot. See if they ride him in the rematch tonight.
- Watch to see if Miele returns to center the top line
- Watch to see if Stortini tries to cause any trouble
- Watch for the ‘Hometown Hero’ tonight–inside word is that this is going to be a special one.
- Look for our friend Jimmy T. This is the kind of game I’d expect to see him at.
- Watch to see if the team can take care of business tonight: These are the kinds of games the team needs to win, especially after a close game the other night.
Back at it tomorrow night as the Harford Wolfpack return to town for . The Wolfpack are struggling
The Phantoms finish out November by playing up in Toronto on Tuesday versus one of the leaders of the North division.
See you at the arena, and remember, weekend or not, no homework for tomorrow!