Whitehall-Coplay Press

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Phantoms ready to get back to work

Thursday, February 1, 2018 by chuck hixson Special to the Press in Sports

You can learn a lot watching YouTube. Heck, even some professionals use the video system to learn new things. Oskar Lindblom did just that to pick up a trick that he used in the shootout portion of the AHL Skills Competition to score a goal.

Because of the injury to Danick Martel, Lindblom was a late entry to the AHL All-Star Classic held this season in Utica, NY to replace his teammate. Lindblom was included in the shootout competition and he didn’t disappoint. On his first attempt, he used a move where he maneuvered the puck from his left side and bounced it off of his right skate before making a nice stick move to sneak the puck into the goal.

“I’ve never done that move before, but I saw it on YouTube a couple days ago, so why not try it today? And it worked,” laughed Lindblom after the competition.

Lindblom admitted that he was excited to be chosen to participate in both the skills competition and the game, even if it was as a replacement player. There was an added enjoyment to the selection since he was playing in the game with his roommate T.J. Brennan, who was playing in his fifth straight AHL All-Star Classic.

The move by Lindblom, who was making his first all-star appearance, impressed Brennan, but he’s not sure it’s something he should use in a game situation.

“Coach would be a little more upset if that didn’t go in,” said Brennan. “I think it’s a little less pressure situation here.”

Brennan put on his own impressive display at the skills competition when he took part in the hardest shot competition. Brennan recorded shots of 99.5 and 101.0 miles-per-hour in the competition, but it still wasn’t enough. Alexandre Grenier of the Springfield Thunderbirds hit 104.1 mph to win the individual award.

The Eastern Conference, helped by Brennan and Lindblom, took the Skills Competition 18-12 in Sunday night’s event.

In the round-robin game competition, Brennan scored twice against the Central Division in the opening game to give the Atlantic Division a 5-2 win. The Atlantic then lost to the Pacific 4-3 and were later eliminated when they lost to the North Division 4-3, with Brennan picking up his third goal of the night.

The All-Star Classic was won by the North Division when they downed the Pacific 1-0.

THE FORCE WASN’T WITH THEM... Star Wars night drew a huge crowd to the PPL Center Saturday night, with 8,912 fans making it the largest crowd of the season. The only downside was that Utica beat the Phantoms 3-2 in overtime. For the season, Lehigh Valley is fifth in average attendance, having drawn an average of 7,771 fans per game. San Diego is the league leader with an average of 9,344 fans.

AWESOME AUBE-KUBEL... Last Friday, the Phantoms took on division leader and nemesis Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Nic Aube-Kubel came up huge with two goals and an assist in the 5-2 Lehigh Valley win. The two goals gave Aube-Kubel 13 goals on the season. Brennan, Mike Vecchione and Greg Carey also scored for Lehigh Valley.

GET BACK TO WORK... With the All-Star Classic in the books, the regular season schedule gets back to normal Friday night with Lehigh Valley hosting Charlotte. They’ll host the Checkers again next Wednesday with a quick trip to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday in between. Of the remaining 31 games, 15 are at home and they play the Penguins just three more times this season.