“Racin’ past your limit–ain’t no right and wrong
Past the point of carin’–[two days gone]
Kram misses a game…
Kram misses TWO “Hockey Night” posts…
That’s two days gone, but you just can’t stop a Hockey Night in Allentown–you can only hope to contain it.
As we open February, the Phantoms are in the midst of 7-of-8 games at home in the PPL Center, sandwiched around the All Star break. The string started with a key 3-2 win over division rival Providence in the first match-up of the season between the division rivals. Two nights later the Phantoms crushed the first-place Penguins 5-2 before closing out the first part of the string with an overtime loss to visiting Utica. Thus far in the 8 games the Phantoms are 2-0-1 and playing some decent hockey. The Hamilton Street Heroes are on a 3-0-1 streak and are 5-3-1-1 in the past 10 games. The orange crew was 6-3-1 for the month of January.
- The big news in the last couple days was the recall of G Alex Lyon to the Flyers. He saw his first NHL game action in mop-up duty Wednesday night before getting his first start (and, unfortunately, loss) last night. Today, G John Muse returns from Reading to take Lyon’s spot on the roster.
- D Sam Morin remains injured with a succession of various ailments, I’ve learned. His status for return is currently unknown.
- F Chris McCarthy returned to Reading today
- F Danick Martel remains sidelined with a broken jaw after taking a crushing blow at a recent game. He’ll need some time, but we hope to see him back on the ice soon. In fact, he was out on the ice this morning so who knows what his time-table really is.
- G Anthony Stolarz returned to the ice in rehab capacity this past week as he works his way back from knee surgery. He’s not expected to return this season, but it’s nice to see him making progress.
- F Corban Knight has missed time with injury; he could return soon I’m hoping.
- The Phantoms continue to have an excess veteran problem, so look for a veteran/healthy scratch tonight.
- D Travis Sanheim is back from Philly to get some ice time. I don’t expect his stay to be long, so enjoy watching him play while you can.
Forward Phil Varone enters the week leading all Phantoms and is tied for the league lead in scoring with 43 total points (11 goals, 32 assists). Third among all AHLers with 32 assists, Varone has recorded 10 multi-point outings this season.
Forward Greg Carey currently leads all Phantoms with 19 goals this season. He enters the week tied for second among all Lehigh Valley skaters with 29 total points.
- All-Star defenseman T.J. Brennan is currently tied for second among all Phantoms and is tied for third among all AHL blueliners in scoring with 29 total points (9 goals, 20 assists). Coming off his fifth straight All-Star appearance, Brennan has been scorching hot in recent weeks having tallied 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists) over his last 12 outings.
Lehigh Valley is 24-1-2-1 when scoring three or more goals this season and is 22-2-1-2 when allowing three goals against or fewer.
- The Phantoms are currently tied for second in the AHL with 13 one-goal wins this season. Lehigh Valley is an impressive 13-1-3-3 in games decided by just a single goal this year.
- With last week’s outings, the Phantoms improved to 14-3-2-1 when scoring first this season.
The Charlotte Checkers arrive in downtown Allentown once again. The division rivals have played the Phantoms tough this season but are in the midst of a 3-6-0-1 swoon which has them at fourth place in the division, struggling to hold off Bridgeport. The Checkers are powered by All Star Forward #17 Warren Foegele. Old friend Zack Stortini is also on this squad.
Tonight is the night to wear your Eagles hockey jersey to the game. Or, another green hockey jersey. Or, OK, wear a football jersey if you must. I’ll be in black as is my routine for a Friday night game.
The event is scheduled for 7:05PM; you can expect the puck to drop around 7:18PM. Doors will open at 6:00PM and good seats are still available for this game. In fact, the Phantom “deflated” prices this week on four packs–check to see if that’s still active if you’re thinking of bringing the crew out tonight.
Referee Cameron Voss (#41)
Referee Keith Kaval (#40)
Linesman Jud Ritter (#34)
Linesman Scott Pomento (#25)
5 Things To Watch
- Watch the goalies: Last time Lyon went to the Flyers for any length of time, G Dustin Tokarski seemed to play with a chip on his shoulder for a stretch. And, last time he was here, G John “Moose” Muse played very well, too. Muse has been on a tear in the ECHL, so I would like to see him get a game or two over the next few if Lyon is going to remain in Philadelphia (As far as I know there has been no timetable for his return–could be soon or could be longer. Elliot did skate today.) In any case, I’m expecting (read: hoping) for good goalie play during the next 5 games or so in this stretch.
- Watch D Mark Friedman. Assuming he has skates on tonight, take a look at his game against a strong Charlotte team. He’s been kind of quiet on the scoreboard, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s playing poorly, depending on what he’s being asked to do defensively.
- Watch F Oskar Lindblom. He seems to be getting more and more confident and the calls are coming from the Flyers fans for him to get a shot with the NHL squad. I still think he needs to skate a little better. What do you think?
- Watch to see if any player comes out on fire after the All Star break. I’m thinking Cole Bardreau may be getting back to his usual self, and that means terror for the other teams. Anybody else?
- Keep your eye on that Foegele dude. He can play–see if Myers et al can slow him down and make his night difficult.
The team will head up the pike for their last visit this season to Casey Plaza in the parking lot of the Wyoming Valley Mall for another game with the first-place Penguins who currently trail us on points 58-56.
They’ll be off for the big game on Sunday, then back at it for three in a row at the PPL Center to close out this grouping: Wednesday vs Charlotte again (They’ll head to Hershey for a couple in the mean time), Friday versus the last-place Hershey Bears, and Saturday versus Rochester to close out these 8.
See you at the arena,