“Cause I don’t know how long I can hold on
If you’re making me wait, if you’re leadin’ me on
I need to know”
The points leaders in the AHL Atlantic Division return home at 3-1-0-1 to face the Bridgeport SoundTigers tonight at the PPL Center, on “Country Night.” The Islanders affiliate comes in at 1-2 having split with a difficult Charlotte team most recently.
Doors open at 6:00PM for the 7:05 puck drop and the game will feature a special performance by Porter & Sayles. As of this writing, plenty of good seats still remain. However, the first games this season have had pretty good walk-up, so buy now for your best choice of seating location.
Let me open up the notebook, as well as give you some things to watch for tonight:
- Home Sweet Home: The Phantoms have gone undefeated so far at their home in downtown Allentown. It’s certainly a small sample, but the 2-0 home record is refreshing both for a team who traditionally starts a bit slow and for a team that hasn’t been great at the most expensive minor league hockey arena in the world.
- A Good Read: F Matt Read was recalled by Philadelphia yesterday. There was no corresponding move; it returns the Flyers to full staff after the Morin move last week.
- To Your Health: The Phantoms are getting healthy as F Colin McDonald and F Cole Bardreau are getting closer to returning to the lineup. Both are on the Flyers IR and will be returned when healthy.
- Power Outage: The Phantoms currently rank 27/30 in Team Power Play.
- Kill Me Now: What’s worse, they rank 30/30 in Team Penalty Kill!
- Minutes: They don’t lead the league, but they are among tops in penalty minutes. However, they have played more games than any other team in the AHL as of yesterday!
- Kram Jersey Watch: OK, so for this season I’m going to be wearing black on Fridays–the IronPigs taught me. I have two black sweaters and I’ll rotate them until a good-luck / bad-luck pattern emerges. I’ll be wearing orange on Saturdays–same deal but I have three of them. I’ll wear white on Wednesdays and Sundays. Tonight: Miele.
- Notes From Team:
Forward Danick Martel currently leads all AHL skaters with five goals and is tied for third in the league in scoring with seven points. The third-year forward registered a hat trick on Opening Night (October 7) and has found the back of the net in three of five games already this season.
Forward Mike Vecchione (right) scored his first professional goal in last Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and enters the week second among all Lehigh Valley skaters in total scoring with five points (goal, 4 assists).
Defenseman Phil Myers tallied his first pro goal in last Sunday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Hershey Bears. A 6’5″, 202-pound blueliner, Myers spent the last four seasons with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) where he compiled 29 goals and 92 points across 203 games.
- Goaltender Alex Lyon has started each of the Phantoms’ first five games this season and is off to an impressive start having compiled a 3-1-1 overall record to go along with a 2.53 goals-against average and 0.919 save percentage. Entering the week, no AHL goaltender had played more minutes (285) or recorded more saves (136) than Lyon.
Attack Zone: What To Watch Tonight:
- Lion’s Den: Alex Lyon leads the league in minutes played as a goalie. It’s only two games this weekend, maybe he gets a break. If not, maybe Wednesday home vs. Springfield. Time for Tokarski?
- Bridgeport To Nowhere: Last season the Islanders B-team gave the Phantoms fits, particularly early on. As a bigger, more physical team, the smaller and faster Phantoms needed to adjust. Will that hold true tonight? Hard to say–while a couple small guys remain (looking at you Chris Conner) guys like Vorobyev and Lindblom (above) are a bit bigger and may have to step up tonight.
- Good Crowds: I think the crowds have been pretty good thus far this season–into the game and whatnot–and pretty good turnout for early season. I’m looking for that to continue tonight!
- “Free Swaves”: With Matt Read gone back to the Flyers, could tonight mark the season debut of one Steven Swavely? If McDonald or Bardreau get activated, maybe not… Anyway, Swavely wears #11 in case you haven’t seen him in a while.
- Peeking Ahead or Peaking Ahead: Tomorrow, the Phantoms head up I-476 to I-81 and on to Binghamton. The new Devils affiliate has been strong thus far, currently leading their division on the young season. Look for a tough game and plenty of that “left wing lock” nonsense. Wednesday, the team plays their home mid-week game for October, when the Thunder Chickens come to town–currently sitting in last place in the division.
- Stripes: Watch the officials–unfortunately. The amount and type of infractions being called across the league has been ridiculous. I’m hopeful that things will calm down. Until then, the team needs to adjust its game. PP and PK can be exciting, but it’s no fun to watch a parade of guys in and out of the box–plus it makes the game more choppy to watch. Here’s who we’ve got tonight:
Referee Evgenii Romasko (#39)
Referee Liam Sewell (#60)
Linesman Matt McNulty (#26)
Linesman Scott Pomento (#25)
- Friday Night Live: Live music at the Dime after the game. Not much else going on downtown tonight as far as I could tell.
- Friday Night Special: The rankings of the special teams above are nothing to be proud of. I need to know if that’s the way it’s going to be this season: That’s my number one thing to watch tonight. I’ll allow for some time to get everyone on the same page on ‘teams, but if they’re going to be as good as their talent they’ll need to get those rankings out of the basement.
See you at the arena,
PS: I’m always very mindful of photography posted here–both protective of our photogs as well as mindful to make sure I attribute properly. Today’s photo was from the Phantoms official press release but was not credited therein. Usually the team photographer is JustSports Photography.