HOCKEY PLAYOFF NIGHT IN ALLENTOWN: Conference Finals Thoughts, Game 3

Photo: Jack Mitroka

“HOCKEY NIGHT” with a different feel tonight–quick thoughts to get you ready for Game 3:

  • Down 0-2 in the 7-game series, and I’m oddly confident.
  • The first two games were 1-goal affairs, on their ice.  We’ve been a really good home team.  I feel like we got this.
  • But what do I know?  No way I thought we’d sweep Charlotte in the three games down there.  No way.
  • I even said my “good bye” to the team when I left the arena back on the 5th–thinking I’d seen the last of them.
  • So don’t put any credence in my confidence.  Still, though.  I’ve got a feeling.
  • Full-strength Varone and non-suspended Aube-Kubel have to contribute tonight.
  • Lyon needs to be Lyon.
  • Don’t look for the kids–Frost and Hart–This is no time for on-the-job training.
  • Phantoms Media Info:
      • Forward Chris Conner currently leads all Phantoms with five goals and nine total points during the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs. The 34-year-old winger has tallied at least one point in seven of 11 postseason outings.
      • Forward Danick Martel is currently second among all Lehigh Valley skaters with eight postseason points (4 goals, 4 assists). Martel is tied with Oskar Lindblom for second among all Lehigh Valley skaters with four goals scored in these playoffs.
      • Goaltender Alex Lyon has been exceptional in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs for Lehigh Valley. The second-year netminder has already posted 72 saves through the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals and is 6-3 overall in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs with a sparkling 1.84 goals-against average coupled with a 0.949 save percentage.
      • Defenseman T.J. Brennan currently leads all Phantoms with 61 career AHL postseason games and 44 AHL postseason points (18 goals, 26 assists). Meanwhile, Conner is second with 50 career AHL postseason appearances and 34 playoff points (13 goals, 21 assists).
      • The Phantoms’ power play is currently third among all AHL playoff clubs at 21.6 percent (8-for-37). Meanwhile, Toronto’s man-advantage is second overall at 21.8 percent (12-for-55).
      • Lehigh Valley went 42-1-5 when scoring three or more goals during the regular season and is 5-2 in the postseason in that circumstance. Meanwhile, the Phantoms went 41-6-5 when allowing three goals against or fewer during the regular year and are 7-1 in such games in the playoffs.
      • The Phantoms were 30-4-6 when scoring first during the regular season and are 5-1 when netting the game’s opening goal in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Toronto was 36-6-2 when scoring first during the regular season and is 7-0 when doing so in the playoffs.
      • Lehigh Valley was 19-4-10 in one-goal contests this year and is 4-2 in one-goal tilts this postseason. The Marlies were 15-4-4 in one-goal games during the regular season and are 5-0 in the playoffs.
      • No team in the 30-team AHL won more home games during the regular season than the Phantoms (27). Lehigh Valley is already 3-1 at PPL Center this postseason and has now claimed 20 of the team’s last 24 games (20-2-2) in downtown Allentown.
      • Referee Reid Anderson (#49)
      • Referee Pierre Lambert (#47)
      • Linesman Jud Ritter (#34)
      • Linesman James Tobias (#61)
  • Don’t be discouraged about the open seats tonight.  We’ve been over this:  It’s tough in the minors.  It’s tough on short notice and in the middle of the week.  It’s not because of the IronPigs game tonight.
  • But that doesn’t mean squat.  Those of us in the building tonight can carry this team.  Cheer every play.
  • And, don’t let up.  Seriously, we’ve had some trouble closing out games sometimes this season, let’s keep the energy up for the team the best we can, especially if we’re up by a few goals.
  • Some of the parking garages have gone to “pay on the way out.”  Keep that in mind if you’ve got a magnetic ticket in your pocket and you haven’t paid yet.  Depending on how long you’re up town, you’ll pay somewhere between $2-$8 to get out at the end of the evening.  The rates can be wonky at times, and it may take some time to check out.  Some facilities are pay the attendant (Walnut) and some are pay at the kiosk before returning to your car (Community).
  • I’ve really been impressed with the coaching this season.  The team has been ready to play, and in the previous two series, they’ve made the adjustments necessary to win the games.  I hope it continues tonight.
  • When we’re winning I have to defer to the coaches on Will O’Neill.  But, after two straight losses?  Hmm.
  • Free O’Neill!?!
  • But, then I’ve got to bench somebody.  And I’m not picking Lamarche or Willcox.  Those dudes have been so solid and have killed penalties and all that.  So, I’ll continue to defer.
  • I was going to do my “pre-game” over at the IronPigs and then come over, so that I could use both sets of tickets.  But, in the end, decided to prepare for the game like I would in the regular season.
  • That’s right:  Craft beer and a nice burger.
  • Rockford, the sweeping team, is about to get swept themselves if they don’t turn it on.  Dallas is good.  Our old friend Fyten is involved.  Turns out he’s “alright” on more nights than just Saturday.
  • Wear orange.
  • Bring a friend
  • Feeling like there’s something special with this team and this town right now.  Don’t want it to end.  Let’s do this!

The next two games after tonight will be Friday and Saturday.  I’m kinda bummed I’ll be missing them as I’ve missed very, very few this season.  Please keep up the good fandom, and hopefully “Calder Playoff Night” will appear in the next round.  If this should be it–thanks to everyone for reading this season, and for the kind comments both online and in person.

Let’s Go Phantoms!

See you at the arena,


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

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