The Lyon King took over Wednesday night as the PPL Center became the “Lyon Kingdom” in the 5-0 domination of the hapless Hershey Bears. The game started a bit sloppy in front of new head coach Kerry Huffman, but the Phantoms quickly simplified things and didn’t allow the “chaos theory” game plan of the Bears to hold them down. Lyon was perfect on the night, but many shots sailed wide or high. Still, I think there was a hint of the chip on his shoulder I said to look out for given the quick Carter Hart promotion.
Misha returned from injury to center the second line with Leier and Carsen Twarynski (aside: What’s his nickname? Can we go with Skeeter? Discuss.) Carsen got a really nice goal, and Bunny continues to work hard centering the top line and cleaning up the rubber detritus goalies leave in front of the net for him.
It’s “Wizard Night” and tonight’s test will be tougher. Here’s what you need to know for tonight:
Phil Varone made a quick trip back to the valley to pick up some things and take in a hockey game from the press level Wednesday night. Then he was immediately back on the Flyers where he continues to receive high marks for his play centering the fourth line, despite not lighting the lamp yet.
C German Rubtsov is out for the season with a shoulder; F Cole Bardreau is out for the foreseeable future with the hand, which has been confirmed. The extent of F David Kaše‘s injury is not currently known. Forward Radel Fazleev has returned to Russia. Swavely is back in town on a PTO, joining recent Royals Krusher and Hunty. Huntebrinker and deHaas were the healthy scratches Wednesday night.
Old friend Kevin Goumas has returned stateside and re-joined the Reading Royals on an ECHL deal. I need to pull out my Goumas sweater and get down there for a game–likely won’t be until later in January, though.
10 Carey -25 Bunnaman -16 Aube-Kubel
23 Leier -15 Vorobyev -24 Twarynski
36 Krushelnyski -21 Vecchione- 22 Conner
12 Goulbourne -11 Swavely -13 McDonald
43 Brennan- 37 Friedman
6 Samuelsson- 5 Myers
7 Palmquist -44 Willcox
G: 34 Alex Lyon (31 Branden Komm)
The Syracuse Crunch, AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, arrive for their only 2018-19 visit to the PPL Center tonight. In fact, we’ll only see them one more time, in March, at the War Memorial. The Crunch started the season as the best team in the AHL North, but have scuffled a bit of late, and currently reside in the third spot. They arrive tonight on a 6-3-1 clip in the last 10, but on an 0-2 streak after losing 3-2 in Springfield on Wednesday.
Tonight’s game will feature the Crunch number one power play in the entire AHL versus the Phantoms’ #2 PK. When the Phantoms roll out their #7 man-advantage squad, they’ll face a Crunch Kill ranked #8.
Look out for RW #89 Cory Conacher and blue-liner #24 Cameron Gaunce. Goalies Ingram and Pasquale are both good, with #39 Ingram perhaps slightly the stronger of the two.
It’s “Wizard Night” so wear your Harry Potter stuff, but be careful bringing in brooms, wands and owls as I’m uncertain if it will amuse the security staff. The “event” starts at 7:05, but I’d look for hockey around 7:18PM.
Referee Olivier Gouin (#54)
Referee Dan Kelly (#55)
Linesman Tom DellaFranco (#71)
Linesman Tyler Loftus (#11)
MEDIA KIT (Rosters, Stats, etc.)
Five (or more) Things To Watch Tonight
- I’m thinking we see Lyon in net again tonight, with the possibility of Komm getting a game tomorrow in Hershey. Watch to see if I’m right.
- Watch to see if Kaše can make it back into the lineup–and also if Coach Huffman is maybe more forthcoming with injury information? I have no clue if David’s close or not, but I hate seeing young players miss extended time (see also: Rubtsov)
- If that fourth line stays like it is with Swavely centering, look for them to bring the energy and win the draws.
- Watch the refs. I don’t keep track of these guys as closely as I probably should, but I don’t really recognize any of these fellas tonight. Could be good. Or, not.
- Watch Palmquist. I think he’s been playing some good hockey lately, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get on the score sheet one way or another tonight.
- Aube-Kubel has been kind of quiet, for him. I’d love to see him with a mutiple-point game tonight and one of the top-two stars.
- Look for the black alternate sweaters tonight if they can stick with this “friday black” plan I’ve been touting.
- Look for tonight’s game to be decided by 5×5 as the excellent special teams units on both sides cancel each other out.
The Hamilton Street Heroes head to Hershey for a game tomorrow, then to Wilkes-Barre for a game on Wednesday the 26th. They’ll return to the PPL Center for the “Fifth Anniversary” games next Friday and Saturday against Providence and Wilkes-Barre, respectively.
See you at the arena,
PS: “Hamilton Street Heroes” and several of the “Lyon” sayings were borrowed from my friend der Eishockeyzuschauer. The Jack Mitroka photos I’ve been sharing have been really good, huh?. Give him a follow on social if you have a chance.