HOCKEY NIGHT IN ALLENTOWN: “Tough Tests Continue” 1/21/2017

“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.”
– Vernon Law (Former Pirates pitcher)

Leier doing work out in front versus the Bears. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Leier doing work out in front versus the Bears.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell


Looking Back

In a match-up of the top two teams in the AHL (by win pct) last night at the PPL Center, the Phantoms came away with a 5-3 victory after squandering a 3-1 lead.  Shots were 37-34 Penguins as the game featured goals by Laughton, Brennan, Hagg, Leier and Conner.  Oh, and of course Phantom-killer J-S Dea got his goal for the Pens as well.  It was a fine victory, to be sure, but keep in mind we’re going to have 10 more of these–six of them at the Mohegan Sun Arena.  Sure is nice to be up 2-0 in the series, though, huh?

There are some this morning–notably not folks from Wilkes Barre–making excuses for the Penguins given call-ups and injuries and whatnot as we discussed before yesterdays game.  Thing is, that never stopped them before–the machine just keeps on churning–and they came in having won 8 of 9:  Not exactly struggling.

In come the Providence Bruins, 3-3 on the calendar year before a  last night at home versus Rochester, which they won 4-3.  Looking ahead to this weekend, this is the game I worried about most.


Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Team Report

I put out my “Mid-Season Grades” earlier this morning.  It’s not your traditional take.  Have a look–if you dare.

1 WBS 41 29 9 3 0 61 0.744
2 LV 38 26 10 2 0 54 0.711
3 PRO 40 23 10 4 3 53 0.663
4 HER 39 19 11 7 2 47 0.603
5 BRI 37 20 15 1 1 42 0.568
6 SPR 38 15 16 5 2 37 0.487
7 HFD 40 14 22 3 1 32 0.400

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Player Report

F Danick Martel reportedly left last night’s game and didn’t return.  His status is currently unknown.  He had a hand or wrist injury last weekend which kept him out of a game; it’s not known if this is related.

F Boyd Gordon centered the fourth line and played well, by all reports.  His physical condition (he has been battling back soreness all season, I’ve heard) will likely determine his status for tonight.  I kind of expect him to be a healthy scratch, but we’ll see.

F Radel Fazleev and D Reece Willcox were sent to Reading yesterday following the morning skate.  It’s likely a short assignment to get them some ice time with both teams home this weekend.

Stolarz was in goal last night.

F Aube-Kubel was the healthy scratch last night.

With his goal in last night’s game, D TJ Brennan moved in to 3rd place all time in scoring by a defeseman in the AHL.

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Reading Report

Last night in Reading the Royals beat Adirondack 2-1 in OT.  Our guys Willcox and Pettersson had the goals!  The Royals are back in action at the Santander tonight versus Wheeling (Penguins), who were 9-2 winners over Norfolk last night obviously using up all their goals for the weekend all at once.  Free “ugly scarf” tonight in Reading.

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell


As we were struggling to get wins versus a Bridgeport team early this season, the P-Bruins got off to a slow start as well.  While you weren’t looking they went through a stretch where they were the hottest team in the league.  Despite playing near .500 hockey this calendar year, they’re one of the top four teams in the AHL Atlantic for a reason.  Look for another tough outing tonight.  Rinaldo should be in the house; that’s always fun.

Puck Drop:  7:05PM

Doors:  5:30PM (Saturday Open)

Parking:  Mobile Now app can now be used for the Farr Lot if you arrive before event parking begins.  You can pay and update via your app.  See Parking Authority for details.  Also bring cash just in case for all lots and decks as credit card process could be an issue.

Tickets:  Seats are scarce for tonight’s game, and it’s likely gone ‘SRO’ by the time you read this.  The secondary market has some limited choices; make sure you grab tickets right away if you need them.

Promotion:  Kiddos Replica Jersey Night.  First 2,500–usually plentiful, but with the sellout on tap make sure you arrive in time and I’d lean towards the main entrances.  The team will be wearing the white All Star commemorative jerseys again tonight.  They’re a nice idea but came away with tepid reviews on the ice last night.


Media Kit:  bruins-1212017

Broadcast:  In addition to the usual suspects, this game is also available on FMZ-69 where available.

Pre-Game:  Radio for your commute at 6:20PM AM-790; TV LIVE from Chickie’s 6:30 on TV-2.

We’ll be at Coca Cola Park most of the afternoon for their Barrel Aged Beer tasting.  We’ll wander downtown to dry out with some food before the game.  We’ll likely vote on location, but I haven’t been to Queen City BBQ yet.

Last night it was ‘date night’ with Mrs. Kram.  We headed to the Bay Leaf, where we hadn’t been in many years.  Dinner was excellent, just like we remembered from way back.  Their wine list could use some work, but that was my only quibble.  Mrs. Kram was happy to get the win last night–I think she was 1-5 or something on the season counting preseason.

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

What To Watch

  • I’d expect Lyon in net tonight.  On one hand, I’m excited to see these guys push each other for playing time.  On the other hand, it’s hard to get in a rhythm in and out of the lineup constantly.  Let’s see how Lyon handles business tonight.
  • Watch to see if Martel is in the lineup or if he’s an injury scratch or “healthy” scratch.
  • Watch to see if Gordon is back out on the ice for a second game in a row.
  • Watch to see if Aube-Kubel comes out firing after having last night off.
  • Did I read the team is like 7-0 when Laughton scores a goal?  Golly, let’s see if we can get him a goal tonight.
  • What’s the team’s record when Knight is a scratch?  I don’t think it’s good.  Just keep that in mind if you see he’s a scratch.
  • Watch for any signs of letdown.  This is like “playoffs in January” this weekend, according to coach, so let’s see how we respond.
  • Watch for plenty of kiddos tonight.  That means extra non-hockey shenanigans, usually.  Hopefully the ushers keep order in the aisles.  And don’t be surprised to see the ‘wave.’  The best way to stop it is to simply not participate.
  • Watch out for the beer dude selling $11 Miller Lites.  Miller Lite is supposed to be $9.  Unless, they’re upping the price for the All Star Weekend, which would be kinda bad.  And charging more for “beer man” beer than at the stand would be bad too.  Just a clueless kid, I think, but it bears watching.  And don’t give me a problem about my choice of beer, either.  I’m on a diet, OK?  But if you didn’t notice, they are selling liquor and wine on the concourse now with the change in the law this past week.  I imagine you’ll be able to bring a drink in from Chickie’s as well as down from the Loft, too (we did).
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Looking Ahead

The Phantoms will head back into the Bears’ den in Hershey for a late-afternoon tilt tomorrow to complete their 3/3.

Then, right back at it Wednesday at home for a mid-week affair with the B-Sens.  The white All Star sweaters will be auctioned off following that game, reportedly.


See you at the arena,




Categories: CherylPursellsPhotos, Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Phantoms Hockey

3 replies

  1. Hey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton battled back from 3-1 down to haul themselves level roughly halfway through the third period and ended up with 37 shots on target. So I would say there is no need to make excuses for what was still a good WBS team out on the ice last night. It was a high quality, entertaining AHL game between the league’s two top teams – one had to win and one had to lose, that’s all. I think if I had to pick out one reason why the Baby Pens did not triumph it was because goaltender Tristan Jarry was not quite as sharp as he has been on previous occasions. Yes, Leier’s game-winner was a real laser into the top corner – but it also came from a fair distance and I’m sure the youngster would like to have another crack at that one, in particular.

  2. Wow. Hamilton Street Heroes really flunked Saturday night’s test versus Providence Bruins big time, didn’t they? Nine goals allowed sets a new record for most goals scored by any one team in any given AHL game at the PPL Center. The eight-goal drubbing also ties the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ team record for worst (most embarrassing) loss EVER :

    1/21/17 … 1-9 … vs Providence Bruins
    3/23/16 … 0-8 … vs Hershey Bears
    3/25/15 … 1-6 … vs Syracuse Crunch
    1/30/15 … 1-6 … vs Hershey Bears
    1/21/15 … 2-7 … vs Hershey Bears

    Yup, another one of those memorable “arena experiences”, alright. I feel so blessed. But also guilty, because there can not possibly be any way that I am truly worthy.

    • Note To Kram :

      We need to petition the American Hockey League and make sure they never schedule any more games at the PPL Center on January 21st. We will say that this particular date is a most holy one according to local history, tradition & culture. And, therefore, to make us play on January 21st would be a major violation of our civil rights (on the grounds of religious beliefs, of course).

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