Luke Strand told Joe O'Donnell that the coaches impressed upon the team to get out of the gate strong last night against Peoria--don't have another weak first period like they had Friday against Rockford.
Well, they did that, alright. The first 33 seconds of the game contained a veritable food chain of fights, starting with Jesse Schultz against Cam Paddock, which the larger Paddock controlled. Then on the next face-off, Mitch Love and Curtis Fraser dueled in a decision I'd give to Love (rather brazen given his relatively fresh nose surgery). Then the big boys, Matt Kassian and Jeff Cowan went to town and Kass completely schooled Cowan with some monster hits and total control of the fight. Wow.
After all that dust settled and the bursting-at-the-seams penalty boxes were emptied, Pouliot was first to beat Manny Legace off a feed up the ice from Albers to Kolanos, who fed it to Pouliot in the slot.
Then with 1:14 left in the first, Hrkac nabbed the puck from Peoria's Drazenovic, passed it up to Irmen who got Legace to go down before passing across the low slot to Earl who had open net in front of him. That was a beauty and Hrkac's first point with the Aeros.
But it wouldn't last. I'll be honest right here and say that I left to go to dinner about 5 minutes into the second period, but even in that short time, it was clear that a different Aeros had emerged from the locker room. Full of turnovers and chaos, they were just bad. They only got 10 shots in the last two periods, compared to 21 for Peoria.
Mojzis (interference) and Pouliot (tripping) both went to the box about a minute apart and both each got an early release from the bin in the form of Peoria power play goals by Regier and Stastny.
Stastny got another near the end of the second and then Talbot potted a fourth goal midway through the third. Thanks to consecutive roughing and slashing penalties by Mojzis (again) and Rogers, the Aeros spent 4 straight minutes on the PK in the third.
Khudobin was pulled with about three minutes left to try and even it up. But it just resulted in an empty netter by Porter.
San Antonio did the Aeros a big favor by beating Rockford last night, but the Aeros are now tied with Peoria for the second spot in the division. Fortunately, they have two games in hand on Peoria, but face Rockford tonight in a game that, if the Aeros lose, could put Rockford within striking distance of the number 2 spot.
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