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.
The Zephyr wrestling team’s holiday break featured some grueling competition as they appeared in two of the area’s toughest tournaments that should help prepare them for the rugged battles ahead in 2020.
First on the holiday wrestling stop was the Beast of The East which ran from Dec. 21-22 at the Carpenter Center in Newark, Delaware.
The event featured 106 teams, and is arguably the premier scholastic tourney in the country.
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.
It was the first step in what will be the next chapter in their academic and athletic lives as five Whitehall student athletes participated in the National Letter of Intent signing ceremony that was held in November. The fall signing period featured Kate Bonshak, Ella Holmes, Grace Clary, Shane Fillman and Kresstoph Whittick.
For Bonshak, the event was merely a formality, the finality to a decision that was made in the beginning of her sophomore year.
The Whitehall boys basketball team made some beautiful music together, handing Parkland their first defeat when they hosted the Trojans on Dec. 20.
And providing a strong solo in that ensemble was Tyler Holubowski who was on lead guitar, strumming away after his three-pointer to make it 34-28 in the pivotal third quarter which supplied the resounding accompaniment to the eventual 59-54 win. In that frame the Zephyrs outscored the Trojans 16-4, setting the tone for the second half with their stifling match-up zone and rhythmic offense.
The snows are back.
No, not a snowstorm, but a large flock of Snow Geese have made their way to Lehigh County from their summer breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra.
Whitehall’s path to the finals of the Zephyr Holiday Classic featured a smothering defense that put Faith Christian Academy’s offense in a deep freeze.
The game was close during the first quarter, but Whitehall began to steadily pull away, eventually taking a 34-15 lead into the break. The home team continued that offensive surge in the second, dropping 27 more points to win 61-17.
Coming off recent cheerleading competition victories, Whitehall had some difficulties in its 13th place finish at the EPC Cheerleading Championships last Wednesday at Easton Area Middle School.
Last month, the Zephyrs took first place at the Nazareth competition and the Parkland competition.
Although the Zephyrs started off well at the EPC competition, their routine hit some difficulties.
“More than usual [did not hit],” said Whitehall cheerleader Jade Geist. “I think everyone was very nervous, but I think the cheer went really well.”
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.
Whitehall’s swimming team recently began their quest for the upcoming season with an increase in their overall numbers on both their girls’ and boys’ teams.
However, the Zephyrs likely will need to be patient to see how their teams perform and improve down the stretch.
“Our girls team looks to be pretty solid,” said veteran head coach Pete Rile after the recent first day of practice. “It is typical to have about 20 girls out and we may have as many as 30. We do have a lot of new faces out for both our girls and boys.