Killing off penalties is one of the best things a team can do to help themselves. It’s tough enough to play at even strength, but when short, especially in tight games, that’s where you need the penalty killing unit to step up and make big plays.
On Saturday night in Hershey, the Bears were able to break through with a power-play goal against the Phantoms, capitalizing on a penalty by Danick Martel. That goal snapped a streak of 24 straight penalty kills for Lehigh Valley.
Just as the Phantoms finished up a six-game road trip, they looked forward to a nice set of games on home ice and all seemed right with the world. Then came word that leading scorer Danick Martel and defenseman Sam Morin were heading to Philadelphia. On the same day, forward Alex Krushelnyski was also summoned to the Flyers.
Right now, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms are in one of those grooves that most times a team can only dream about. At 5-1-0-1 on the season, Lehigh Valley is just percentage points behind Providence for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, but they do hold a one-point advantage over the Bruins, albeit with one extra game played than Providence.
For much of their game against Parkland (9-5-1 EPC, 9-7-1 overall), the Northampton field hockey team looked to have a pretty good grasp on how to control the game. Parkland’s stingy defense was playing to their usual high level, but Northampton was able to get some looks, just unable to finish and put the ball in the goal cage.
Northampton boys soccer coach Adam Bastidas looks nothing like actor Bill Murray.
He may feel a bit like him though, especially considering Murray’s role in the movie Groundhog Day, where Murray keeps waking up and repeating the same day over and over. For Bastidas, the day goes wrong when his team gives up a goal and then inevitably gives up another and sometimes, another in quick succession.
The recent heat wave that hit the Lehigh Valley made it tough for some of the fall athletes who are used to crisper temperatures at this time of the season. The Northampton field hockey team found that out as Emmaus was able to grind them down and pick up a 5-0 win recently.
“We gave it our all for the 60-minutes. I feel that the second half, their depth beat our depth,” explained coach Carrie Saul. “We were starting to let the heat get to us and were spreading our lines more and we didn’t attack the ball like we did in the first half and they took advantage of that.”
Coming into the match between Northampton and Emmaus, both coaches described the meeting as “their season.” Both teams needed a big win to keep them on the right path, but in the end, it was Northampton that picked up a 4-3 win over the Hornets.
After a six-game winning streak put the Lehigh Valley IronPigs into the playoffs, a seventh straight win gave them a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five divisional series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Unfortunately, that would be their last win of the season as the RailRiders went on to take the next three games to advance to the Governor’s Cup Finals in the International League.
Northampton weathered a very tough start to their schedule in decent shape, finishing 2-2 against Whitehall (1-2, 1-2), Notre Dame-Green Pond (1-1), Central Catholic (1-2, 1-2) and Parkland (4-0, 4-0). They also added a win against Nazareth this past Monday to put their record at 3-2 after coming into the season with a few question marks about their team.
The Iron Financial Orioles know all about coming from behind. When they fell behind Martins Creek 5-0 Sunday in game two of the Blue Mountain League Championship Series, it was just another day on the ball field for them. Unfortunately for the Orioles, there wouldn’t be a comeback in the offing this time and they fell to Martins Creek 7-4, evening the series at one game apiece.