“Playoff hockey is the best way to market your team. It’s the best way to grow your fan base and give hope to your players and for them to develop.”
Last Saturday Night the Phantoms dropped a game against the last-place Wolfpack at the PPL Center in a mostly forgettable performance. Big-bodied teams seem to be able to clog lanes and defuse fancy tic-tac-toe scoring chances or turn them into weaker attempts. This is similar to what the Sound Tigers have been able to do to us thus far this season. Coach Gordon has intimated that he’d like to see the attacking defensemen use their quality shots to get the puck on net a little more regularly–if not to score then to create some chaos near the net and push in a rebound or a greasy goal, especially on the power play.
Tuesday night in Toronto against a quality opponent from the North Division, the Phantoms posted a decisive 4-1 victory which featured third-period scoring and an empty net goal. It was a quality road win against a quality opponent–and a season sweep of the Marlies. Goals by Conner, Morin, Weal and McDonald (EN)–with Lyon once again in net.
Tonight, Hershey comes to town for the first of their games at the PPL Center this season. In December, we’ll face off against Hershey a total of four times–three at home and one in Chocolate-town. Thus far in the season series, the Hamilton Street Heroes have split two games in Hershey. December is Bear Season!
A line forming for the top four teams in the division–the playoff teams as it were. However, more games between these teams in the coming month may create some further separation among the top 4.
G Martin Ouellette got in a game with Reading last weekend before leaving to back up Lyon in Toronto on Tuesday. I’m expecting Lyon in net tonight, with Marty getting either tomorrow in Hershey or Sunday in Bridgeport. Stolie remains in Philadelphia, where he finally got (and won) his first start.
F Andy Miele has been out with an undisclosed “freak” injury for some time; however, he has been skating for the last week or so and one outlet has him projected to return to the lineup tonight.
Expect to see Miele return to center the top line in order to minimize the jumble. Corban Knight had moved up to center the top line in the absence of Miele and Scott Laughton (Philadelphia).
D Mark Alt, injured in the preseason, returned to the ice to practice, yesterday. Press reports suggest that he’ll remain out for most of this month as he works back to game shape. Lineups have a way of working themselves out, and Lamarche has been playing well alongside Brennan in the spot Willcox started the season, but this correspondent thinks that a top pair of Brennan-Alt would be one for the ages in the AHL if that should come to pass.
Reading held their own on a massive western US swing early on this season, but then went into a funk on their return. However, they’ve returned to their winning ways of late; they took both games from Cincinnati at home last weekend, and then beat Wheeling (Penguins) at home on Wednesday behind some outstanding play by our old friend Tyrell Goulbourne.
Reading currently sits third in their division, two points behind Manchester. They’re in Norfolk for two this weekend.
Hershey has been off since last weekend, when they swept a home-home with Springfield. They’ll stay home for Syracuse after facing us at the GIANT center again tomorrow. Is it just me or does Hershey always seem to have the most advantageous of schedules? Nevertheless, they lost wingers Jakub Vrana and Paul Carey to Washington on Wednesday, but return center Zach Sanford, a former second-round pick.
Puck Drop: 7:05PM
Tickets: Plenty of good seats are available on the ends, as of this writing. Better seats via secondary market, if you wish.
Parking: No further issues to report. Cash-only at some locations continues, as does standard parking at the Goverment Deck rather than the previously discounted $3 rate. Remember the Symphony Hall lot (6th/Linden) is closed for construction.
I parked at the Walnut Street Deck last Saturday because we were eating on 9th Street before the game. It was easy in and out and not as long of a walk as I had originally feared. The deck was well-lit and signage was clear.
Promotion: Youth Sports Night
Media Kit: bears-1222016
Broadcast Information: TV-2 and AM-1470. Online via Phantoms365 mobile or PhantomsHockey.com. In the arena tune to 89.9FM for the live call.
PreGame: Radio and TV at 6:20PM and 6:30PM respectively.
Last Saturday we had some nice sandwiches and adult beverages at Sugar Hill Jazz House on South 9th Street prior to the game. We got there early, so they weren’t crowded at all. The live music hadn’t started yet, of course, but the jazz ambiance was nice, relaxing, and “grown up.” One TV behind the bar was silent. Our BBQ sandwiches were very tasty and well-executed–all flavors in balance and meats smoked appropriately on a perfect roll with the proper amount of sauce. My only gripe might be that they weren’t stuffed very full for $9-$10 sandwiches. I don’t hate paying extra for sides, but at $2 I expected more than two bites of cole slaw. The slaw was good, though, and provided a nice counter to the BBQ. There were only 4 beers on tap, but I’ve heard that they are planning to expand their offering in that department, and they do have a nice bottle selection. There were many quality cocktail choices. Two sandwiches, one dessert, and several rounds of drinks cost us $64 before tip. I will certainly return there–before or after a game, or maybe both!
Tonight it’s Junior, and that usually means lobster tails at Chickie’s unless I can talk him into going someplace else. Although, I haven’t had a Crabby Ale in a while…
What To Watch
- Watch to see if the blue-liners are willing to wind up a slap shot a couple times–especially on the power play.
- Watch to see if Miele can make it back; some reports have him returning this evening
- Watch to see who pairs with Brennan on D–Willcox or Lamarche. By my observation, Lamarche has been playing well.
- Watch to see how many Bears fans are around. There’s usually a fair few of them, whom I’ve found to be knowledgeable and appropriate fans as guests in our arena.
- Stay for the third period. We’d have to be 4 goals behind for me to leave, at this point. Our advantage in the third period is significant.
- Watch to see how Hershey’s offense looks. They’re rested, but have had some roster shake-up this week.
The Phantoms will travel to the Giant Center for the back end of the home-and-home with the Bears tomorrow, and conclude a 3-in-3 weekend Sunday afternoon on the road against our 2016 nemesis, Bridgeport. Then, an away game in Syracuse on Wednesday will precede a string of six home dates in a row from December 9-26.
Season ticket holders should have picked up playoff credit or had it mailed by now. My gift card worked very well at the concessions last weekend. If not, check with your rep. Starting after the puck drops tonight, you can pick up your Ghost bobble behind 110–remember to bring the coupon from your book and have the account holder in tow.
Mark your calendars for next Saturday. It’s teddy bear toss night and you need to start stocking up. If you won’t be there, you can contribute your bear starting at tonight’s game (don’t throw it) and continuing through Friday’s game. We won’t win any records, but we can at least beat last year, right?
See you at the arena,