Phantoms Should Beat Understrength Binghamton

Jason Akeson led the fledgling Lehigh Valley Phantoms in goal-scoring during the Philadelphia Flyers farm club's historic first season at the PPL Center in Allentown a couple of years ago but now finds himself in the colors of the Binghamton Senators and blocking the path of the Hamilton Street Heroes' triumphant march to the Calder Cup playoffs ... (photo courtesy Nina Weiss / Nina Weiss Photography)

Jason Akeson led the fledgling Lehigh Valley Phantoms in goal-scoring during the Philadelphia Flyers farm club’s historic first season at the PPL Center in Allentown a couple of years ago but now finds himself in the colors of the Binghamton Senators and blocking the path of the Hamilton Street Heroes’ triumphant march to the Calder Cup playoffs … (photo courtesy Nina Weiss / Nina Weiss Photography)

 

der Eishockeyzuschauer

Hockey Analyst

ALLENTOWN, PA

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Proud citizens of the Commonwealth who were looking forward to seeing if former Penn State winger Casey Bailey could become the first Nittany Lions player to score a goal in an American Hockey League game at the PPL Center in Allentown will have to wait for another day.  In the meantime, the roller coaster-riding Lehigh Valley Phantoms will still clash with the incoming Binghamton Senators at the corner of 7th & Hamilton Streets this Wednesday night (January 25th) as previously scheduled.  On the heels of last Saturday night’s humiliating 9-1 romp by the visiting Providence Bruins, it is quite simply a game that head coach Scott Gordon’s charges must win to make things right.

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The Phantoms may have slipped to third in the 30-team American Hockey League’s overall standings, but the B-Sens are under water in terms of overall wins versus overall losses (18-22) and are still a pedestrian outfit even on their best day.  Yes, I understand that Binghamton are in good form having won eight of their last ten AHL contests but the bottom line is that the currently high flying B-Sens just do not have the kind of roster depth from top to bottom that the Hamilton Street Heroes have, this to speak nothing of genuine offensive firepower.  What’s more, the recent NHL recalls of Bailey, the 25-year-old native of Anchorage, Alaska, who has registered ten goals in 33 AHL games for the B-Sens this season, and goaltender Chris Driedger coupled with yesterday’s trade of former Phantoms enforcer Zack Sortini and the big-bodied Buddy Robinson to the San Jose Sharks organization, has left the Ottawa Senators farm club a little shorthanded at the moment.
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Indeed, as of 11:45 AM on Wednesday, January 25th, the Binghamton Senators had exactly eleven forwards and seven defensemen listed on their roster displayed at the American Hockey League’s official website so it will be interesting to see if the B-Sens add any more players during the day or if the visitors simply dress an extra blueliner tonight at the PPL Center. 
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It should also be interesting to see whom the B-Sens pick to play in goal tonight.  Matt O’Connor, the undrafted 24-year-old out of Boston University, has been playing well since being sent back down by the NHL’s Ottawa Senators on January 15th and has won eight of his last ten starts in the AHL since early December.  But O’Connor conceded five goals on his one and only career appearance at the PPL Center 363 days ago and Binghamton does have another intriguing option.
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Scott Greenham, the 29-year-old veteran from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks does have 47 career AHL games under his belt but has mostly been an ECHL goaltender in his time as a professional player.  Greenham has terrible numbers (7.15 avg, .744 svpct) in one and a half games for the B-Sens this term but boasts impressive totals in his four career outings against the Phantoms (1.95 avg, .938 svpct).  Perhaps even more significantly, however, is the fact that Greenham has a career record of three wins and zero losses versus Lehigh Valley.
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The B-Sens definitely have some beefy defensemen such as Ben Harpur (6’6″ 221 lbs) and Guillaume Lepine (6’4″ 218 lbs) who will be looking to bash some of the Phantoms’ smaller, undersized forwards along the boards.  Michael Kostka (6’1″ 210 lbs), the 31-year-old veteran rearguard from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is getting paid the same as the Phantoms’ All-Star defenseman T.J. Brennan is to skate at the AHL level (a reported $ 325,000) this season but has the extremely unsightly plus/minus rating of – 21 to show for his efforts.  Swedish defenseman Andreas England (6’4″ 204 lbs), the 21-year-old who was the second round pick (# 40 overall) of the Ottawa Senators at the 2014 NHL Draft, is a rookie in his first season of North American pro hockey after coming over from IF Djurgarden Stockholm.
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On the offensive side of things, the Binghamton Senators’ leading scorer this season, Phil Varone (34 ga, 12 go, 29 pts), has also been in good form recently as evidenced by six goals and ten points in his last six AHL games; Jason Akeson, the 26-year-old former Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward who started out this term with Russian club Admiral Vladivostok but managed just one goal and five points in 17 Kontinental Hockey League games before coming back to North America, is also hot and has four goals and eleven points in his last seven AHL contests.  Overall, Akeson has four goals and 18 points in 22 AHL games since returning from Europe.


Categories: Phantoms Hockey

1 reply

  1. Note To Kram :

    A late afternoon check of AHL’s official website has revealed that former Penn State Nittany Lions winger Casey Bailey was sent back down to the Binghamton Senators today (Jan 25th) by the Ottawa Senators.

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