Saluting veterans and the military on a Wednesday night. Here’s what you need to know for tonight’s tilt versus the Checkers.
Saturday Night’s Alright
The first-place Springfield Thunderchickens were in town on Saturday night for live hockey action. We knew it would be a tough match-up for our Hamilton Street Heroes–still a “Work in Progress.” Alas, despite the overtime loss, the Phantoms held the Springfield side to one regulation goal. It was the first game since October 16 that the Blues affiliate was held to under three goals, and that night they had two. The only thing that allowed the game to get to overtime was the little things that stood in the way of the Phantoms mounting an efficient attack. They worked hard and played fast, to be sure. But pucks jumping over sticks and passes to skates inhibited the ability of the team to capitalize with scoring chances and subsequent goals. Hockey is hard. And that part will come along. It was a nice showing versus a difficult opponent. I’m not want to write headlines like, “Much Needed Standings Point.” At this juncture, it’s much bigger than solitary standings points. This team needs to get it together, make progress and then work out the details. I’m at least a little encouraged. And then, they can start stacking the standings points two at a time.
G Kirill Ustimenko is off to Reading, which signifies the healthy return of G Sam Ersson–or does it? G Pat Nagle called up from Reading for reinforcement. Still thought to be injured to some degree: D Mason Millman, F Linus Sandin, D Wyatt Wylie, F Tyson Foerster, and F Matthew Strome.
Meanwhile, RW Charlie Gerard (#39) is back in town.
Here’s how they lined up on Saturday:
The Royals are currently 5-1-2-1 and in second place in the ECHL North, three points behind Newfoundland.
Which NHL Team has retired the most numbers?
It’s Military Appreciation Night, and good seats are still available. In fact, on the secondary market, seats can be had for as low as $6 per for upper level, as of this writing.
The Checkers are in town from Charlotte–now the affiliate of the Florida Panthers. They’re in the midst of a six-game road tour of Pennsylvania and New York. They spent last weekend in Wilkes-Barre and Hershey (split with WB-S and lost to Hershey) and after they leave us they’ll grab a game in Utica on Friday and make a stop in Hershey on Sunday on their way back south.
LW Scott Wilson, a familiar name from time in Wilkes Barre and Rochester, is on their team. Old friend Carsen Twarynski has five points for them already. On D, old nemesis Connor Carrick is there–I always associate him with Hershey, but he has been with Binghamton most recently.
The Checkers are 6-5-1 and in fourth place in our division. We saw them for two at their place early in November. They split, with the Phantoms taking a 7-3 loss on Saturday night and rebounding Sunday afternoon for a 5-3 victory. The Checkers have the third-rated power play in the entire AHL, while their penalty kill is middling at #15.
Referee Rob Hennessey (#87)
Referee Mason Riley (#79)
Linesperson Jud Ritter (#34)
Linesperson John Rey (#16)
What to Watch
- Watch the “work in progress.” Are they continuing to look better?
- Watch for the return of the wounded. Getting a couple of those guys healthy could really help. I’m expecting Sandstrom in goal now, though.
- Watch for the details. In addition to the “want-to” of playing hard, are they making accurate passes and settling the bouncing pucks? Are they playing fast and moving the puck quickly?
- Watch Morgan Frost. He’s been turning it on lately, like we all knew he could. He’s probably due for some type of “break-out” game. Could that be tonight?
The Phantoms will head out on the road for the weekend, first in Rochester on Friday, then Toronto on Saturday. Hopefully everyone has their travel documents in order for crossing the border (in both directions.)
Thanksgiving weekend the team will head to Syracuse Black Friday night, home on Saturday for Bridgeport, then off to Hershey for the traditional Sunday matinee.
While we’ll only have four home games in November, December will bring 8 at home, plus the just added New Year Night game. There will be three Wednesdays and three Saturdays mixed in there.
See you at the arena,
Trivia Answer: Montreal. They have 18 numbers retired.