“A fast body-contact game played by men with clubs in their hands and knives laced to their feet”
If hockey runs on a Monday-to-Sunday week, last week we had four games: Tuesday in Toronto, Friday at home for Hershey, then in Hershey on Saturday and in Bridgeport on Sunday. The Phantoms took 6 of a possible 8 points out of that difficult stretch, beating Toronto on the road, losing to Hershey at home before an OT win in Choclolatetown, then a win (finally) in Bridgeport on Sunday.
On Tuesday, the team headed North on I-81 to Syracuse to face the North Division first-place Crunch for the first time this season. The AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning won by a 4-2 final after a closely contested game, after an empty net tally. The Phantoms peppered the net with 50 shots, but only Cole Bardreau’s two scores were able to solve the goalie Wilcox.
With the Rochester Americans in town for a two-night stand, it will be important for the Hamilton Street Heroes to start to establish some home-rink advantage in the most expensive minor league hockey arena in the world. The team is 5-3-1 at home–barely over .500, ranked 21st in the league–and 10-4 on the road, ranked first in the league. It’s good to be able to play well on the road, but with six home games in a row starting tonight, they need to establish something at home as well.
The Phantoms remain one of the top scoring teams in the league in goals per game.
Only Binghamton has fewer penalty minutes in the Eastern Conference.
The Phantoms have the 5th ranked Power Play in the league. (Rochester 8th)
The Phantoms have the 12th ranked Penalty Kill in the league. (Rochester 6th)
Defenseman Mark Alt, injured since pre-season and status-post shoulder surgery, has been skating non-contact. I don’t expect him back until after the first of the year but I suppose it’s possible he could surprise us on the home stand.
F Andy Miele had an additional day off at the end of last weekend, but was back in the lineup Wednesday in Syracuse.
G Marty Ouellette got the start–and the win–in Bridgeport last Sunday. Alex Lyon was back in goal Wednesday. I’ve heard whispers from Philly than Neuvirth is skating; we could see the return of Stolarz by the end of the month perhaps.
Taylor Leier got the call to Philadelphia earlier in the week. Scott Laughton was re-loaned to the Phantoms.
Earlier today, D Max Lamarche and F Steve Swavely were loaned to Reading.
Lines in Syracuse Wednesday:
Reading swept Norfolk two games down at the Scope last weekend. They’re home for two with Indy this weekend as we are with Rochester. They’re 12-8-1-1 and third in their division currently.
The Rochester Americans arrive on Hamilton Street in Downtown Allentown tonight for the first of two back-to-back meetings between the inter-divisional clubs. The AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres currently sits near the bottom of the North Division but have been off all week and took two of their last three games going back to last week. The name that jumped out to me on their roster was #16, centerman Cal O’Reilly who was with the team last season and was an All Star for Utica the season before.
Puck Drop: 7:05PM
Parking: No issues to report. Bring cash, still. Community Deck at 6th/Walnut remains an excellent location, especially if you’re departing to the South, and eating East of the arena before the game (Bell Hall, grain., CENTRO, etc.)
Tickets and Security: Leave a little extra time for security tonight, as the “bears” begin arriving for the Teddy Bear Toss at tomorrow’s game.
Media Kit: rochester-1292016
Promotion: Winter Hat Night for the kiddos, 14/under. It is limited, but they’ve rarely run out if you get there by game time. Also, tomorrow is the Teddy Bear Toss, so start planning ahead. You can donate your bears (do not throw them yet) tonight if you’re not going to be at the game tomorrow.
Broadcast Information: The usual suspects for TV and Radio, with 1470AM tonight. The 89.9FM arena feed wasn’t working last game, but a quick tweet to radio voice Bob Rotruck got it straightened out quickly. It’s good to hear the game call LIVE when watching the game.
Pregame: As per usual, radio at 6:2oPM and TV at 6:30PM.
Last game I settled in at the bar in grain. for a bite to eat and several craft beers. Good service and food as per usual, and not overly expensive. I was surprised they didn’t have a better crowd on a game night, and disappointed that the pork belly tacos I liked so much were replaced on the menu. Still, a nice place for a pre- or post-game meal or drinks. Fair prices and good food and service. Tonight I’ve got Kram3 along for the free hat, so we’ll likely end up at Chickie’s.
What To Watch
- Watch to see who gets the top line: Laughton or Miele.
- Watch Lyon–assuming he’s in net–How is he doing side-to-side? Quick enough?
- Watch to see if the Phantoms can win 5-on-5 because one think the Amerks can do is play special teams.
- Watch to see how many bears are showing up. Do we have a chance to break 20,000?
- Watch Aube-Kubel. How much ice time does he get with the third line? Do silly Flyers fans know anything about this team? The fourth line scored both goals Wednesday night, and gets plenty of ice time. NAK is now on the third line along with Miele who’s making NHL money to play for the Phantoms this season. It really is a good situation for NAK; I don’t care what anyone says.
Tomorrow is a repeat of tonight–another tilt with the Amerks. Bring your bears! December is “bear season” and that’s not just about Hershey: Tomorrow is the teddy bear toss! Any new stuffed animal or plush toy will do!
Wednesday is the return of our nemesis, Bridgeport, and next weekend at home Friday and Saturday for Hartford and Providence, respectively as we move through our six straight games.
See you at the arena,