With just three games left in the regular season and long odds on reaching the playoffs, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms don’t appear to have given up just yet. After a slow, ugly start against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday, the Phantoms kicked it up a few notches and wound up with a 10-6 win, their second in as many days against the Penguins. The 10 goals were also a franchise record for the squad.
Former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel always referred to warm weather as “hittin’ season.”
Well, the weather hasn’t warmed up that much yet, but the Northampton Konkrete Kids are finally coming into a bit of their own ‘hittin’ season.’ It took the Kids 14 innings until they picked up their first hit of the season in the seventh inning against Emmaus in what turned out to be a 2-0 loss that got the team off to an 0-2 start in the EPC. Since then, Northampton has scored 20 runs in two games to even up their record at 2-2 overall and move to 1-2 in the EPC.
When the Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, it ended their hopes of reaching the NHL playoffs.
In a game matching two teams that have some offensive questions about themselves, a 2-1 outcome wasn’t exactly unexpected. For Northampton, the offense sputtered against one of the better pitching staffs in the EPC and wound up on the losing end of the score and without any hits on the day.
Pitchers Adam Smith and Koby Staivecki held the Konkrete Kids hitless as the teams battled for eight innings before the Trojans scored a run in the top of the eighth and Northampton couldn’t generate anything in the bottom of the inning to mount a comeback.
In what may be the wildest game of the season, Lehigh Valley pulled off a stunning, 4-3 win over the defending AHL champion Toronto Marlies Saturday night at the PPL Center. The win gave Lehigh Valley a season sweep of their two games with Toronto and three wins in their last four games against the Marlies. Going back five years, the Phantoms have played Toronto well, going 6-2-1-1.
They needed these!
After a Sunday loss in Bridgeport last week, the Phantoms were looking ahead at a road game in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and two home games against the Charlotte Checkers. At that point, the Phantoms were 4-9-1 in their last 14 games and starting to sink quickly in the Atlantic Division and in the Eastern Conference standings. They traveled north to meet the Penguins and came away with a nice, tidy 3-1 win with Alex Lyon saving 27 of the 28 shots that he faced.
The latest bump in the road for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms is turning into more of a complete and total car-consuming sinkhole in the road. The team broke a five-game losing streak Saturday with a 3-1 win over Utica, after which a brawl broke out as the teams headed for their respective locker rooms. That show of testosterone may have been just the thing to spark the Phantoms, but unfortunately, they came back Sunday and lost to Bridgeport.
The Phantoms had two chances to take a big step up in the Atlantic Division this past weekend and they whiffed on both chances.
The schedule had Lehigh Valley at Charlotte on back-to-back nights this past Friday and Saturday and the Checkers took both games, leaving the Phantoms in fifth place in the Atlantic Division, 19 points behind Charlotte. More importantly, Lehigh Valley is now 10th in the conference standings, which would leave them on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
Imagine how frustrating this scenario would be to live through.
You’re a highly-regarded prospect in your sport and as you move closer to reaching a point where you’re truly getting an opportunity to show what you can do at the highest levels of that sport, you can’t stay healthy. It seems like every time you rehab from one injury, another one hits.
On Saturday, Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher pulled off his third trade since taking over for Ron Hextall earlier this season.
The trade sent Dale Weise and Christian Folin to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman David Schlemko and forward Byron Froese.
Fletcher, had been trying to trade Weise – one of the bigger blunders made by Hextall, when he signed him to a four-year, $9.4-million free agent deal in July of 2016 – but until this past weekend, didn’t find any takers.