From the notebook of a sports blogger who doesn’t usually do post-game pieces:
- Or, gimmicky stunts, usually
- But not immune to polls to generate clicks (look for post forthcoming)
- (not that I get paid– for anything, ever, by anybody)
- See I figure most of my readers were at the game, and know what happened because they saw it. Plus, there are myriad other sites you can go to for a “gamer” report if you want.
- But last night I almost sat down to write. It was a spotty performance by our Phantoms. And I was relatively sober.
- Maybe it was the black sweaters. Although by the end of the game I had adapted.
- They certainly had some nice chances on break-aways and odd-man rushes, but couldn’t seem to convert a one of them. Hat’s off to their goalie, I guess.
- Then, the Phantoms spent their time on organized offense trying to convert tips in front of the net. It was like watching a soccer team only trying to score on headers. It’s a nice play to be able to do, but it shouldn’t be the entirety of your offensive plan of attack.
- The power play looks poor, too. Not enough puck control down low and the umbrella falls apart. Some of this might be playing against a team we’ve seen 5 times already; they were ready to defend it.
- Here’s a “hot taek” for you: This team misses Corban Knight more than you might think. Reports suggest his plane was delayed which caused him to miss the game. He’s a two-way player who can convert a break-away and can set things up on the offense as well.
- Hershey is a dirty team. There. I said it. The Phantoms will get the bad rep from the poke Will O’Neill gave at the end of the game, but there were plenty of “face wash” type hits, sticks to the face, slew-foot attempts and other dirtiness behind the play all night. It just boiled over at the end. I saw Swavely and Martel come off the ice holding their faces from such hits–Swavely with some blood.
- And very little of it was called–or seen by the officials, all four of whom were apparently sharing the same pair of glasses for the game. See, I got through 10 points before bringing up the officials. They didn’t lose the game for us, but their lack of control of the game lead to the chippy-ness after the final horn, and the blatant missed off-sides call lead directly to the last goal.
- I said to Kram3 before the game, “A hockey game is a good place to hear the word ‘suck’ a lot.” Indeed–we each used it a few times last night as well.
- So circle Friday, January 13th on your calendar; the bears will be back. That’s right, Friday the 13th. It’s T-Shirt night, but perhaps we should all bring a white-board to the game.
- Big crowd last night, but a lot of “amateur hour” happenings: Folks who couldn’t find their seats or stay in them during play, folks who showed up at the second intermission, folks roaming the concourses clogging traffic, and a metric sh!t-ton of Bears fans.
- And usually Bears fans are pretty good, knowledgeable hockey fans when visiting our gorgeous new arena. But they weren’t immune to “amateur hour” either last night. I heard reports of some questionable behavior, and I certainly don’t condone yelling during the National Anthem.
- Wanna go down to the Giant Center and cause trouble and yell during the National Anthem? (No, you don’t.) The next night, Saturday January 14 is the date, as the back half of a home-and-home.
- Our PPL Center is a gorgeous new hockey arena that is falling apart. The game had to be stopped to repair a glass panel. Luckily, we purchased the extended warranty when we bought the place. It was quickly and expertly repaired and all we had to do was pay the deductible.
- With Will O’Neill facing a possible (read: likely) suspension for his post game fisticuffs, news also came forth of the possible return of Mark Alt. I didn’t read any reports that he’s practiced “full contact” yet, but may travel with the team to Rochester today. It’s unknown if he’ll be available to play, but could be he’s getting close enough that getting some skating and practice in with the team while they’re there (They have a Wednesday and Friday game, so will likely just stay up there.)
- Goalie Michael Neuvirth was back at practice with the Flyers this morning, in advance of their trip to St Louis for a Wednesday tilt. Could Stolarz return to the Phantoms in time for the bus to Rochester? Probably not; they leave this afternoon.
- We’ll see. But I’d expect Taylor Leier to remain with the Flyers for the time being–and may even find himself on the top line if practice reports are to be believed.
- In regulation games the Bears are now 3-1 versus the Phantoms–2-0 at the PPL Center. In extra-time games, the Phantoms are now 2-0 versus the Bears. We’re half way through our 12-game series with them in 2016-17.
- But we’ve got 11 left with Wilkes-Barre.
- So I couldn’t wait until our next home game to get all this out of my system, and if you feel similarly about watching that dreck last night, c’mon out to Chickie’s tomorrow to watch the game from Rochester. The Phan Club is hosting, but it’s open to all. Have a beverage and a sandwich; it’ll get the taste out from last night.
See you at the arena,