The Phantoms resume play Friday night at the Wachovia Spectrum when they host the Toronto Marlies in inter-conference play. Both teams currently lead their respective divisions with 35 points.
For the Phantoms, a three-in-three weekend is nothing new; however, a three game losing streak is.
The team saw a season-high third consecutive loss on Friday, Dec. 7 to, once again, the Norfolk Admirals. Three would be enough, though; as they skated into Hershey on Dec. 8 for a 3-2 win over the Bears.
The Toronto Marlies are just one of three teams the Phantoms will face in this weekend’s three-in-three schedule. On Saturday the team heads down to Norfolk, Va., to try and end their current skid against the Admirals. The weekend will wrap up back in Philadelphia with another division match-up against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Phantoms will be looking for their first three-in-three sweep in over a month; the last one coming on Nov 9-11.
Phantoms forward Pete Zingoni admits his team’s lack of productivity, but he is confident that he and his teammates can come out of the weekend on a four-game winning streak.
“We went on a little slide [last weekend],” Zingoni said. “We’re working on getting better every day with the team we have.”
Zingoni also stated that although Norfolk has the Phantoms number right now and the Penguins are always a tough rival, the big game this weekend will be against Toronto.
“We’re looking for revenge [for the 4-2 loss in Toronto on Dec. 2],” Zingoni said.
Revenge aside, the game against Toronto is a big game simply for the fact that they are one of the top teams in the AHL, and a win on Friday can hopefully set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
One obstacle the Phantoms will face this weekend is playing without Ryan Potulny. No, he’s not injured again; he has been recalled by the Flyers for at least the week.
It is true that the great start to the season came without the help of Potulny, who was nursing an injury; however, the Phantoms rarely lose when he is in the lineup.
Potulny was out with injury again before returning last weekend; scoring the only Phantoms goal against Norfolk and two assists in Hershey.
This most recent return was very much like his last one when we scored a hat-trick in under five minutes to tie and win the game against Bridgeport on Nov. 9.
“He’s just a great player…he’s so smart with the puck,” Zingoni said. “He deserves to be up [with the Flyers].
Although he’d like to see Potulny helping his team out this weekend, Phantoms head coach Craig Berube also is also confident in Potulny.
“He’s had a lot of set-backs this year,” Berube said. “[He needs] good practice time…once that happens I think you’re going to see a really good hockey player.”
The Phantoms look to sweep this three-in-three weekend before playing their final game before the Christmas holiday on Dec. 21 at home against the Hershey Bears.