“It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
Take Me Out To The Ballgame
I’m not saying the Phantoms are on life support. I’m saying I think they’ve turned the life support off, and we’re going to see if they can make it on their own. The situation is dire–but that’s why we play the games. And hey, it is good to be playing relevant games in April, so I’ll take what I can get.
Hockey goes head to head with baseball tonight in Allentown–kinda. We’ll touch on that more later.
The Phantoms went 2-3 on the road trip, gathering 4 of a possible 10 points. Not ideal for a team trying to dig themselves out. Since March 1 the team is 7-8-1–also not ideal.
|1||y – Charlotte Checkers||72||48||16||7||1||104||0.722||47||241||180||2-0-0-0||8-1-1-0||918|
|2||Bridgeport Sound Tigers||72||40||23||6||3||89||0.618||34||220||215||0-2-0-1||4-4-1-1||1021|
|6||Lehigh Valley Phantoms||71||34||30||4||3||75||0.528||30||216||229||0-2-0-0||4-5-1-0||812|
|8||Hartford Wolf Pack||71||28||33||7||3||66||0.465||26||197||248||0-4-1-0||3-6-1-0||873|
I’m not going to get into the math of the final games of the season and the possibilities–other than to say that we need to abide by the old cliche of: one game at a time. We need to win. We also need help–to the point where we can be eliminated based on the outcome of a game other than our own at this juncture. So, control what we can control, win a game. Make things difficult for the Penguins, who only have one more win than we do.
- LW Matthew Strome joins from juniors. He’s wearing #8, and should probably be with us next season.
- C Steve Swavely was sent to Reading today; they’re still alive for the playoffs as well, so it makes more sense for him to help them than to sit if we weren’t going to use him anyway. The Royals need a win tonight, as some help from other teams. We’ll see.
- D Rob Michel is here on ATO. He’s wearing #39
- D Phil Myers is back from Philly, in his familar #5
- D Mark Friedman was called to Philadelphia to make his NHL debut.
- F Corban Knight cleared waivers in Philadelphia, but has not yet been reassigned to the Phantoms. F Justin Bailey has not been reassigned, either. It’s possible they’re here by game time, or tomorrow following tonight’s Flyers game against Carolina.
- D Linus Högberg and D David Bernhardt are in Allentown to practice with the Phantoms now that their season in Sweden is over. They are not expected to be added to the roster or play in games, and will be back in the Swedish league next season. But perhaps you’ll have the chance to say hello if you see them about the arena tonight.
OK, so here I go with the baseball. Due to last night’s rain out, the IronPigs will be playing a doubleheader–two 7-inning games for the price of one–over at Coca Cola Park. The first game starts at 5:35PM, with the gates open at 4:30PM. If you’re tired of the downtown bars at this point, you could do your pregame over at baseball and still make it to the PPL Center in plenty of time for the usual 7:15PM puck drop. Yes it means you’ll pay for two sets of tickets and two sets of parking, and food and beverages aren’t totally cheap. But, it’s an option is all I’m saying.
The Penguins come in to town needing a win as well. In fact, given our poor performance in Charlotte (and really, who hasn’t played poorly versus that juggernaut?) the Penguins and their fans are already counting this game as well as tomorrow as wins for them. The flightless birds have signed a ton of ATO contracts in the past couple weeks, some of whom have shown well in their past games. They used our old friend Muse last night, with the idea of saving Jarry for two games this weekend at the PPL Center–one of his favorite places.
Referee Mike Dietrich (#15)
Referee Michael Duco (#82)
Linesman Tom DellaFranco (#71)
Linesman Tom George (#61)
Five Things To Watch Tonight
- Do we look desperate? Or just in a hurry to get to the golf course? I hope we look like our back is to the wall because it really is. I also hope we take advantage of the opportunity to keep Wilkes Barre out of the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
- Watch Strome. He’s highly regarded, and I hope that he’s on a line with some play-makers so that we can see what he can do. Maybe even put him on a line with Kaše because they may have the opportunity to play on the same line next season.
- Watch the lines and scratches. Watch to see if anyone gets added between the time you read this and game time. You never know around here.
- There have been some injuries–watch to see if any of those guys can come back. Misha? Tyrell?
- Watch Myers. Is he engaged coming back down? Can he help us in our own zone, because that feels like it’s been a problem lately. Also finishing. Then again, two games against Charlotte and they can make you look like you have a lot of problems. Myers might take the opportunity to get some pucks on net tonight–watch to see how that works out.
The rematch is tomorrow. Baseball at 1:35PM, Hockey at 3:05PM with puck drop closer to 3:15PM. Still an opportunity to do both if you’re up to it. Baseball gates at 12:00/12:15, hockey at 2:00PM. Street parking free downtown on Sundays.
Then the team has Hershey on Tuesday in chocolatetown, and Providence on Friday. We finish with Hartford here next Saturday. We’ll see if any of those games are relevant.
See you……maybe, depends where you are,
Cover Image by Jack Mitroka