“Empty net goals are for !@&%$“
About Last Night Before Last
The Phantoms were able to notch another one-goal win versus the reeling Checkers in a repeat performance from last Friday. It’s been a familiar theme lately: A multiple-goal lead turns into nail-biting or a skills exhibition, when it should be an easy win. I know they hate to risk the icing call, and nobody wants to be greedy, but can we please take a shot at an empty net once in a while? I can’t even remember the last time I saw one of our guys hit the empty at PPL Center.
Wilkes Barre won as well, so we remain tied on points with them holding the games in hand. The Phantoms are now 4-1-1 over the first 6 games of an eight-game stretch where they have 7 home games.
Injured are D Sam Morin and F Danick Martel. G Anthony Stolarz will not likely play this season. D TJ Brennan sat out the last game as the veteran scratch.
As I noted before Wednesday’s game, the return of F Corban Knight would allow the lines to shake out a bit better.
In a somewhat puzzling move, F’s Alex Krushelnyski and Steven Swavely have returned from Reading after just one game.
What Up Royals?
Reading is in second place in the ECHL North, a couple points behind Manchester. Wheeling (Pittsburgh) and Adirondack (New Jersey) are nipping at their heels.
Hershey limps into town as a last-place team. To add insult to injury, they lose Chris Bourque to the Olympics. Still, division games–especially within the state where we match up so frequently–are always tough to win. The teams know each other so well that you have to be on top of your game if you want to “Kill The Bear.”
Puck will drop at about 7:18PM tonight for “Faith Night.” There will be a movie after the game, which you can stay and watch for free from the comfort of the Morning Call Club. Doors open at 6:00PM tonight and the event will get underway at 7:05PM. A smattering of good seats still remain for tonight’s game, at last glance.
Referee Pierre Lambert (#47)
Referee Corey Syvret (#42)
Linesman Tom DellaFranco (#71)
Linesman Bob Goodman (#90)
5 Things To Watch Tonight
- I’m looking for Alex Lyon back in net tonight, with tomorrow’s game up for grabs depending on how things go tonight. We’ll see if I’m right. I don’t think I want to put any of the blame on Lyon for these late-game collapses or near-collapses. However, he did way-overplay that wrap-around late Wednesday. When the other team has the extra attacker and the empty net, that’s when the defense needs to step up, and as a team they need to put the game away.
- I thought Aube-Kubel looked silky-smooth making those nice assists Wednesday. Watch to see if he can repeat that kind of performance tonight. The one to O’Neill was so good I called the goal before it happened. What a play.
- D Mark Friedman almost went coast-to-coast Wednesday, playing in TJ’s spot alongside Reece Willcox. Watch to see whom he’s paired with tonight and how he plays. He and Myers are both improving, I think, and Morin (injured) and Sanheim will need to continue to play well to stay ahead on the prospect depth charts.
- F Corban Knight, returning from injury, did look a little rusty Wednesday. Watch him tonight and see if he looks sharper. Still, of course, he ends up with a couple assists and a star of the game.
- Pheonix Copley loves us. Just kidding. He’s a talented goalie who has had some trouble this season–particularly with the Phantoms and particularly at the PPL Center. Will he play tonight? Well, “let’s give him a warm PPL Center welcome…” so that he knows we’re looking out for him.
The last of this 8-game “mostly home” stretch arrives tomorrow in the form of the Rochester Americans. Rochester is second in the North to that super Toronto squad.
The Phantoms Carnival will be Sunday, for 2018-19 Season Ticket Holders. If you do some Google searches you’ll find info I’ve written about it for past seasons. It’s a good time, and I’m glad they do it for their best customers–but I probably won’t go this season.
See you at the arena,
PS: (Not Safe For Work version–Language)