The NHL trade deadline arrives on Monday. So, what does that have to do with the Phantoms? Possibly a lot.
When you make an addition via trade in sports, there’s a subtraction that goes with it and the subtraction could conceivably come from among the Phantoms roster. Of course, trades in the real sports world aren’t like the trades pulled off in the world of fantasy sports where “owners” just talk to a friend and work out some zillion-player blockbuster trade. In the real world, there are things like salary caps, player contracts and locker room chemistry.
Max Willman is a good hockey player, but throughout his career he’s been overlooked every time he hoped to make a step forward.
As a high school hockey player in Massachusetts, Willman wasn’t scouted by colleges, which is unusual because New England is a highly scouted area for colleges.
The Phantoms went through the first three months of the season without shutting out an opponent. In that stretch, their opponents shut them out three times, including once in back-to-back games.
Lehigh Valley got its first shutout of the season on Jan. 11 with Alex Lyon in goal and the next night, Jean-Francois Berube shutout Charlotte to give them back-to-back shutout wins. A week later, Berube added another shutout against Rochester and he collected his third shutout of the season Saturday against Hershey.
“You can say it, it was ugly,” admitted Northampton coach Jeff Jacksits when discussing his team’s 46-34 win over Parkland Tuesday night.
Both teams struggled to hit shots, especially early in the game, but Northampton found some semblance of offense in the second half to turn things around. The win clinched a spot in the EPC tournament for Northampton, upping its record to 17-3 overall and 11-3 in the EPC.
The NHL trading deadline is just over a month away on Feb. 24. This year’s deadline finds the Flyers in somewhat of a precarious position; they definitely need some help for their lineup, but they’re also up against the salary cap so they don’t have much wiggle room financially. Injuries – especially ones to Oskar Lindblom (bone cancer) and Nolan Patrick (chronic migraines) - have left a couple of holes in the lineup.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are hoping that they’ve reached rock bottom and that things won’t get any worse than they are right now.
The team sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Division after a stretch of 12 games that saw them pick up just two wins and score 16 goals to lose five straight games. The team endured a second straight shutout – and their fifth this season - in Laval on Friday night.
Chris Bigras isn’t exactly a household name with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but his second goal of the season was a big one.
It wasn’t a game-winner or a milestone, but it did launch an eruption of over 10,000 teddy bears onto the ice at the PPL Center as part of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms annual Teddy Bear Toss. The event collects stuffed animals of every size and variety for children in need.
The animals are then collected and distributed throughout the Lehigh Valley.
So far, the 2019-2020 season has been one for the kids on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms roster.
An offseason that saw the roster somewhat remade left plenty of opportunities for young players and they produced right from the season’s first puck drop. Some of them – Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost and Phil Myers – found a fast track to Philadelphia thanks to their early production with the Phantoms.
In minor league sports, coaches and managers have different ways of telling a player that they’re getting that first call to the highest level of their sport. Former Lehigh Valley IronPigs manager Dave Brundage used to enjoy having a bit of fun at the player’s expense, sometimes letting them think they were being passed over or that the coaches were concerned about their play lately before he would let the cat out of the bag and give out the good news. For Phantoms coach Scott Gordon, the approach is a little more straight forward and businesslike.
The Phantoms clicked their skates together three times and said “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”
With that, the team that had lost four straight returned to winning form with back-to-back wins taking two of the three games on their recent homestand.
The good news for the team is that three of its next five games are also on home ice, giving the team some momentum.