Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

10/21 -- Aeros v. Monsters -- The Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da Edition

“We’re supposed to be an energy team…” center Peter Zingoni said after tonight’s 1-0 Houston Aeros loss to the Lake Erie Monsters before a friends and family special at Toyota Center. “And I don’t think we’re doing that.”

The Monsters were the team playing the back-to-back tonight, but they appeared to be the fresher team as the Aeros often seemed to be a step behind the Monsters. Head coach Kevin Constantine was happy with his team’s effort, just feeling that they’ve got to execute. Zingoni wasn’t as happy.

“I think as a whole, as a team, I think we’re trying to get a little too cute,” he said. “We’re turning the puck over too much on line rushes as well. Myself included.”

That the Aeros stayed in the game was a credit to, once again, Anton Khudobin who stopped 33 of 34 shots on the night. The game’s lone goal came at the 12:59 mark of the first period as Chris Durno stuffed the puck past Khudobin. In years past, Khudobin might have floundered after the goal, but he seems to have gained confidence during the playoffs, and he appeared to get stronger as the game went on and as more and more pressure was put on his shoulders to keep the team in the game.

“I thought he was real good,” Constantine said of Khudobin. “As we started pressing, as the game wore on and we started pressing, we started to give up a little bit going the other way…Anton did everything he could to keep giving us an opportunity in the game.”

But despite Khudobin giving the team the opportunity, the players couldn’t execute, couldn’t capitalize. And that’s becoming a disturbing trend early in this season as the team loses out on points in home games, getting just four out of possible ten points in this home stand.

“These points are going to come back to haunt us at the end of the year,” Zingoni said after it was all over. And while it’s still too early to hit any kind of panic button, perhaps it is time the team started showing a little urgency out on the ice.

The loss dropped the team’s record on the season to 3-4-0-0 (6 points). It also dropped to them to fifth place in the division. The Aeros return to action this weekend as they take on the San Antonio Rampage this weekend in San Antonio before returning home to face Hamilton next Tuesday night.


We spoke to Peter Zingoni a bit after the game, and he’s frustrated. He thinks this is a veteran team and that he and his fellow veterans have to start taking some responsibility and start producing.

“It’s time for us to really execute on the ice,” he said.

Part of the problem is that maybe the guys are thinking too much.

“I think we’re trying to do too much -- I don’t know really,” he said about the lack of execution on the ice. “It’s a lot of things. I’ve been watching a lot of video, a lot of personal video, a lot of team video. It looks like a lot of times we’re getting sometimes a little -- maybe sometimes -- a little too cute through the middle and trying to make that last past. Our first goal is to get a shot on net and just crash the rebounds.”

“This is kind of the time when hockey sense is going to have to take over,” he said. “Our coaches do enough for us preparation wise, and we practice these drills in practice everyday. It comes to a point where we’re really going to have to respond.”

Kevin Constantine didn’t necessarily agree with the “too cute” portion. But he does think the team needs to execute.

“I couldn’t say that we’re too cute with the puck,” he said. “I would say that we had some pretty golden scoring opportunities that just didn’t go in. We’ve got to get results there. Guys have to finish the job.”

Defenseman Jaime Sifers made his debut in an Aeros uniform tonight, but left at about midway through the third period after taking a stick to his mouth. Constantine wasn’t sure about just how serious injury was, but stated that it was bad enough that he couldn’t return to the game.

Lake Erie’s lone goal was the first power play goal allowed by the Aeros this season. Before tonight, the team’s penalty kill had killed 25 power plays.

Speaking of penalties, the Monsters were called for six on the night. Three of the penalties were to Phil Dupuis who pulled it off by getting the first penalty in each of the three periods.

Knowing Kevin Constantine, he’s going to read this paragraph and deliberately set out to prove me wrong this weekend, but it appears that he has decided on Khudobin as his number one goalie. Khudobin is now 2-2-0-0 3-2-0-0 for the season, but except for last Saturday’s loss to Texas, Khudobin has been solid in goal and has done everything possible to keep his team in game.

And as Kevin has proven in the past with Nolan Schaefer and Barry Brust, when a goalie gets hot, he’ll stick with that goalie. Of course, like I said, I can just see him doing something different this weekend just to mess with my head.

For tonight's video, how about The Beatles with "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" because, after all, life does goes on.


Forecheck said...

I don't think the Aeros were trying to be too cute with the puck, nor were they thinking too much. The problem seems to be they either don't know what to do or their execution is poor. That's my view as one of the hundreds who saw the game in the stands.

Ally said...

Incomplete passes seemed to be a big problem last night. Either guys trying to get the puck to a team mate and having in intercepted by a Monster or just missing the other guy by a mile and a half.

I think my biggest complaint from what I've seen in the past few games is that the guys are all bunched up and out of position. When a play or a scoring chance opens up, they're all racing to be in the right place at the right time, but it's too late.

Hopefully, they'll get it together soon and can pull out some wins in San Antonio this weekend.

As a side note, my verification word is "paingr"....HAHA

Forecheck said...

Paingr? Isn't he doing the Capitals' games now?

Mine is "psyce". Some would say only the last letter is off.

ICEVET said...

With regard to the absence of offensive execution, it is simply time to admit that the Aeros do not have the talent, particularly when benchmarked to last year's group led by quarterback Corey Locke. Consider that the current Aeros have NOT ONE player in the top 100 AHL scorers (v. the rival Rampage with 7) at this time.

Conversely (with the exception of perplexing breakdowns during the Texas Stars 4-goal tsunami during 10 minutes in the second period on 10/17), the defense corps has done well, in particular when special teams are included (96% penalty kill thus far).

Finally, please note that Anton Khudobin's record is 3-2-0-0 (not 2-2-0-0), with a 2.15 GA and .922 SV (prospectively below 1.50 GA and above .940 SV without the hapless 4-goal breakdown on 10/17) and ranks in the top-5 AHL netminders who have played at least 5 GAMES. Fans should remember that, notwithstanding Anton's outstanding Calder playoff performance, this is only his FIRST regular season. It was good to see KC stay with him against LEM, following the Texas game.

John Royal said...

Thanks, ICEVET, I fixed the stat. Very stupid mistake on my part.

Ms. Conduct said...

Agreed on playing Anton on Tuesday. KC all but named him the #1 goalie last Friday, so that was the right thing to do. KC's pretty good about managing goalies IMO.