Martel’s Magical Mecca Of Minor League Sports Moment
Lehigh Valley Phantoms winger Danick Martel has now recorded an even 30 goals in 97 career AHL games since being signed by the Philadelphia Flyers’ top farm club as a lightly regarded free agent coming out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in the spring of 2015 ….. (photo courtesy Amanda Statland / “Pucks And Recreation” blog)
Considering the copious amount of high quality hockey, including but not limited to the National Hockey League contest involving the Philadelphia Flyers versus Dallas Stars as well as multiple international games from the Channel One Cup tournament in Moscow, watched by this observer over the weekend, it certainly is most ironic to note that what was far and away the most spectacular goal registered in any of the many matches I saw actually happened right here in my own backyard during the American Hockey League tilt between the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Providence Bruins at the PPL Center in Allentown.
Indeed, the memorable goal scored by Phantoms winger Danick Martel at the 10:46 mark of the first period was truly the kind that people will someday tell their as yet unborn children about, the sort of amazingly skillful stuff which actually transcends individual athletic disciplines and provides concrete proof that the Lehigh Valley is, in fact, always at the epicenter of all meaningful minor league sports action.
Martel was in the slot between the two faceoff circles and slowly drifting backwards when Phantoms defenseman Will O’Neill, about to be confronted at the left point by a Providence Bruins forechecker, sent an airborne puck about a foot or so off the ice his way. With a fluid motion that would make Lehigh Valley IronPigs all-time home run emperor Andy Tracy, himself, extremely proud, the undersized and undrafted native of Quebec who led Lehigh Valley with 22 goals in 67 AHL games last season whacked the little black disc out of the air and straight into the top right hand corner of the net all before highly touted P-Bruins goaltender Malcolm Subban, the first round choice of the Boston Bruins at the 2012 NHL Draft, could even begin to react. It was, as legendary IronPigs radio broadcaster Matt Provence, himself, would surely confirm, a “star-worthy play” without question and just one of the reasons why we, the loyal patronage, routinely flock to the PPL Center located in the heart of Allentown.
Martel also tallied the second goal of the game roughly five minutes into the second period after taking a slick centering pass from behind the net by Mark Zengerle, the off-season free agent signing who has always had a reputation as a creative playmaker, and roofing the puck past the hapless Subban at very close range. Sufficiently launched into orbit by the pair of strikes from the 22-year-old now in his second full season as a professional player, the streaking Hamilton Street Heroes rocketed past the visiting Providence Bruins 7-1 on their way to becoming the very first squad in the entire 30-team American Hockey League to record twenty victories for this current 2016/17 campaign. All things consiered, definitely not a bad way for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to head into the Christmas holiday break, it must be said!
Cover photo by Jack Mitroka
Categories: Phantoms Hockey