Back earlier this season, I said the best way to describe the Houston Aeros was consistently inconsistent. When you expect them to play their best, they play their worst. When you expect them to play their worst, they play their best.
Despite having three high-octane scorers in Krys Kolanos, Corey Locke, and Jesse Schultz, the Aeros are a better speciality team unit than they are a five-on-five unit. They're a team that has trouble holding a lead, but they're also a team that has shown an ability to come back from behind and defeat anybody. They play better tired than well-rested.
It's a team that Kevin Constantine has been unable to figure out this entire season.
With the prelims out of the way, I figure I better go on the record and make my prediction on who wins this series. And I've got a bit of conflict with which to deal with also.
After Monday's game, I was in the Peoria locker room talking to Kevin Constantine. And I got Andrew on my phone so he could talk to KC. And though it was on speaker, he was hard to hear, so Constantine just put his ear to the phone and answered Andrew's questions, which I couldn't really hear. And at the end, Constantine handed me the phone and goes, "so you're the optimist of the group, I hear."
Now that's strange because I consider myself a realist. I see Andrew as the pessimist, Heather as the optimist and Fred as the angry bastard (I love you, Fred). But now the team thinks I'm the optimist. But I promise, that has nothing to do with my prediction. A prediction which has the Aeros winning in six games.
Here's the big problem I have. I haven't seen the Aeros play Milwaukee in this calendar year. All of the games in Houston against the Admirals were back in 2008. I had had an overload of watching the Aeros and Rivermen play before that series, so I felt a bit more confident in making my prediction of the upset then than I do now.
But I'm still confident.
And here's why. Krys Kolanos.
I was in the locker room after Monday's game and interviewing the guys. And they're happy and shouting. And there's Krys Kolanos. He's got a smile on his face. He's happy for his teammates. But there's something else about him. He doesn't ramble in the answers he gives. He gives straight forward assessments of how the team played.
And I see it. He's not happy with their play. He's not happy with his play. Sure he scored the game's first goal. Sure, by the force of his will he was nearly the only guy to play to his ability in that second period. But I'm talking to him, and I see it. He doesn't care about beating the Rivermen. Sure, it was nice to get to win, but that win is only a necessary step. He wants to win it all.
The Aeros are a different team when Krys Kolanos is on the ice. They all seem to have this confidence that with him there, they can score at any time. Corey Locke can rack up the points, and he can be fun to watch. But he can't create on his own like Kolanos. And Kolanos knows he can do this, and the team seems to know he can do this, so it's like they play looser when he's out there, which helps everybody.
So that's my key. My thing. I'm sure Andrew will come along with stats to back up his prediction. And I'm sure Heather will talk about smiles and dimples. But I'm going with Krys Kolanos. I just think the guy wants to win, and nothing is going to stop him. And nothing against Drew MacIntyre, but if Manny Legace couldn't stop Kolanos, I don't think MacIntyre will have much luck either.
There you have it. The upset again. The Aeros in six. And Milwaukee, you better hope this doesn't go to a seventh game, because then another factor comes into play. The Kevin Constantine coaching an underdog on the road in Game Seven Factor. Because Constantine coached teams don't lose Game Seven's when they're the underdog and on the road. But it's not going to matter. Not with the Aeros winning in six.