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

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

10/27 -- Aeros v. Bulldogs -- Helter Skelter Edition

Midway through the second period tonight, I’m not sure that many of the 3134 people inside of Toyota Center were giving the Aeros much of a chance of pulling off the win against the Hamilton Bulldogs. The Aeros were, of course, playing their standard style of second period hockey. In other words, they were being dominated.

Then at 4:50 of the second Petr Kalus went to the box for elbowing. Penalty killed. Then at 7:53 J.P. Testwuide went to the box for tripping, and he was followed 32 seconds later by Clayton Stoner who got nailed for a high-stick. And that’s when Hamilton went all Biblical on goalie Wade Dubielewicz. But Dubielewicz, with some help from the team’s excellent penalty kill, killed the five-on-three. Then at 12:21 Duncan Milroy got nailed for roughing and Hamilton was back on the power play.

Yet the score at the end of the second period was the same as the score at the end of the first. Houston and Hamilton were tied at 1-1.

The third period was a bit different as Dubielewicz let in a goal at 10:54 when he appeared to be shielded. Robbie Earl tied the score at 11:41 when he banked in a shot off of Hamilton goalie Cedrick Desjardins. But Dubielewicz failed to cover a rebound at 14:21 and the Bulldogs were right back in front at 3-2.

But two minutes later, Colton Gillies went into the corner after the puck where he fed Chad Rau. Rau missed the shot, but Jon DiSalvatore got the puck at just the right spot in the slot and slipped it past Desjardins to knot the score at 3-3.

“We had a good solid chip in to the corner,” Gillies said. “And I was first on the puck. The defense came down and tried to hit me. I just tried to protect the puck and turned off them. Rau was actually going to the net and I gave it to him in front. He had a good scoring opportunity, but the goalie made a great save. We had a rebound right in the slot where DiSalvatore got to put it up high and the goalie was down and out.”

The team’s made it through overtime and into the shootout, and as they did during the game, the Aeros fell behind as Hamilton scored on their first two chances. But Dubielewicz shut them down the rest of the way as first Jean-Michel Daoust, then Chad Rau, and finally Colton Gillies scored to get the 4-3 victory.

“We had to come from behind the whole game,” head coach Kevin Constantine said. “And then we had to come from behind in the shootout, and the shootout paralleled the whole game kind of. That was kind of interesting to me.”

But listening to the guys talk about their desultory second period, and listening to Constantine go on about the continued disappointment of the team’s play in the second period throughout the year, I think he and the players would rather just skip the interesting part for a good, solid three period performance that results in a win.

And they next get a chance for that kind of victory on Thursday night when they take on Grand Rapids in Grand Rapids.


The win was the team's third straight, and it improved their record to 6-4-0-0 (12 points) on the season. That puts the Aeros in a tie, points wise, with the Texas Stars for second place in the division.

While the team is not happy with their play so far, or with their record, there is one thing to be considered. Except for the Lake Erie Monsters, every team that the Aeros have played so far are at the top of their respective division -- and Lake Erie is only one game below five hundred. Hamilton, the team Houston defeated tonight, has yet to lose a game in regulation this season, and are now 4-0-0-2 on the road.

They've split a two-game with Manitoba. They've lost two of three to Texas, and they've won all three games against San Antonio. And those are the three teams that are supposed to be among the best in the Western Conference. So it's possible, just possible, that some of the team's problems can be linked to their early schedule so far. For instance, the Aeros are yet to face Chicago, and the Wolves, despite the money spent, are having a season so bad that they've already fired their coach.

And while Constantine would like to see the team get rid of this second period funk, he noted that it might be part of the personality of this club. Last year's club, he reminded us, was known for coming from behind only to give up leads in the third period, and it took awhile for the club to learn how to handle that issue.

So perhaps it's not quite the time for panic mode.

Man, Hamilton is a quick team. It appeared throughout the night that every single player on that team was as fast as Carl Lewis.

The key to the game, to Constantine and several of the players, was the team's play on penalty kill after penalty kill in the second period.

Dubielewicz "played awesome [on those penalty kills]," Colton Gillies said. "We had a great penalty kill tonight. We couldn’t have asked anything more from our goalie and our penalty kill. They did what they came here to do. We came in here in between the second and third and we just had to settle down. There were a lot of guys who got a lost rest in the second because of all of the penalty killing, and those guys had to step it up and do their thing."

And Constantine thought it was the momentum that the team gained off of killing the penalties that propelled them to victory.

"I thought the biggest moment of the game was when we killed -- not just the three on five, certainly the three on five, but the momentum that we saved for ourselves with those penalty kills..." Constantine said. "Obviously it wasn’t very disciplined on our part, but the guys that went out and killed it were fantastic. I thought the biggest momentum change in the game as far as the way the game could have gone was right there."

Brandon Rogers played center for the third game in a row tonight. The primary reason for this is that the team is short of healthy centers. When he first moved Rogers from defense to center, the only available natural centers were rookies Chad Rau and Cody Almond. Then Nathan Smith came back from Minnesota, only to have Almond break his wrist and be out for at least a month.

"I’ve always found that D -- at least in your own end -- can play center really good," Constantine said. "Maybe they’re not brilliant through the neutral zone making plays. But when you have a guy like [Rogers] at center, it really, it’s a settling shift. You know he can come back in his own end and get the job done."

And this is something that I think the team will continue doing, primarily because the Aeros have nine defensemen on the team, and Constantine doesn't like having to sit three of his best players every night.

One of the comments to a previous post stated that Dubieleiwcz was injured during the game. If this was so, I didn't see any sign of it. He played the entire game, and the shootout, and he appeared to be in good shape in the locker room after the game. However, I wouldn't put it past me to have missed something.

And Dubielewicz had one of those games last night. I agree with Andrew below that it appeared to me in the press box that he should have easily stopped two of the three shots that went in for goals. Then again, he was spectacular in the second period when he was under pressure due to the constant penalties. And when he got burned on the first two shots of the shootout, I thought the team was history, only to see him stop the next three while the Aeros made their shots.

Now I've been listening to The Beatles' White Album a lot lately. It's not my favorite, but it's been matching my mood. And the first thing that popped into my head during the second period, and throughout the rest of the game was The Beatles song off of that album, "Helter Skelter." So, to play us out tonight, here's The Beatles with "Helter Skelter."


artandhockey said...

A rough team, the Bulldogs, great name for it ;-).

But Aeros responded grittily with lost of 'bumps and grinds' into the boards/glass, LOL.

As predicted a 'verra' exciting night!

Anonymous said...

What about the 3rd Hamilton goal that had 6 players celebrating (with the goalie still in net)? I wasn't the only one to notice that. Sure wish "someone" had been allowed a press pass and maybe we'd have a picture of it, but there were 6 Hamilton players celebrating and then parading by the bench after that 3rd goal. At least the Aeros won so it worked out in the end.

ICEVET said...

Nearly everyone in attendance had the same reaction as ANONYMOUS on the Bulldog's 3rd period "cluster goal". THREE noteworthy points to consider: (1)the Goal Official never turned on the Red Light, (2)a Hamilton winger ended up INSIDE the net, BEHIND the Aeros goalie and was sitting there as the Referee (Zac Wiebe) was continuing to debate how to rule, and (3) the Referee failed to get up on top of the net to make the call. Conversely, in a very similar cluster situation on 10/16, Referee Kyle Rehman DID get up on top of the net to make the call and REJECTED the attempt by San Antonio Rampage to claim a goal. In summary, Referee Wiebe must know that he made the wrong call and must have exhaled "very deeply" after Colton Gilles potted the winning shot (and let him off the hook). In any event, it is highly likely that the League will take another look at this, when evaluating Referee Wiebe's performance.

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

Before anyone begins to think otherwise, one of the reporters brought this up to Constantine, who took the high road and did not criticize the official.

He explained that, because the goalie was not interfered with, he basically had no problem with it being a goal.

As for there being six Bulldogs on the ice for the tally, I cannot attest to that. But the reason it was brought up post game was because I had never seen a goal scored when a member of the opposing team was in the goal and behind the netminder.

I still don't know how that is NOT interference in some what, shape or form.


Fred Trask said...

AFAIK, as long as the netminder is not interfered with, the net is not lifted off of the pegs and the puck crosses the goal line completely, it's a goal.

Fred Trask said...

Oh and as far as the light going on or not goes, the light should not go on unless the goal judge is able to see the puck has completely crossed the goal line into the net. If he doesn't see that, the light does not go on.

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

Fred ... agree completely.
Good topic to debate, though, because that was the loudest the referee has been booed in Houston in a long time.

artandhockey said...

RE Trask comment:"Oh and as far as the light going on or not goes, the light should not go on unless the goal judge is able to see the puck has completely crossed the goal line into the net. If he doesn't see that, the light does not go on"
Fred, et al, the light DID NOT go on as Icevet mentioned in his Nr. (1)! So No goal I think.
And the word is NONDEF, how apropos!

Fred Trask said...

I think you missed my point artandhockey.

The light does not really mean anything except that the goal judge observed that a puck is in the net across the line. It does not decide whether there is a goal or not. Only the ref decides that.

The job of the goal judge is to turn on the light if he observes the puck in the net all the way across the goal line. If he does not see it he does not turn on the light. That doesn't mean there is no goal, it simply means he did not see a puck cross the goal line. Conversely if the puck goes in the net via a kick or hand or other illegal manner he STILL turns on the light when he sees a puck across the line. That doesn't mean the goal will stand it simply means there is a puck in the net.

The ref decides if there is a goal or not.

On occasion the ref will confer with the linesmen or the goal judge before he makes a decision.

Forecheck said...

I thought Dubie pulled something on the last shot at the end of OT, and that it contributed to the first two , and almost third, shots going in in the shootout.

He seemed to have shaken it off by the 4th and 5th shots.

Ms. Conduct said...

Yeah, I think if he was a bit dinged, he's okay now, just given what I'm hearing from sources.