It was bring your dog day at the Toyota Center today, and for the first period, the Aeros themselves played like dogs on the ice as the Milwaukee Admirals took the 1-0 lead at 4:19 after former Wild prospect Ryan Jones continued extracting his revenge on the Aeros. But the Aeros were lucky. They were out-hustled, out-played, and just about out- everything in the first period. Thankfully, Anton Khudobin didn’t play like a dog and he was able to keep the Aeros in the game.
The Aeros showed up for the second period, and at 19:57, Petr Kalus tipped a laser of a shot from Max Noreau, who was way up high, into the net to tie the game at 1-1. And the Aeros, just like many games past, had many, many good opportunities to win the game in the third period. But the Aeros, as has been their wont, just couldn’t finish which meant they just couldn’t get the puck into the net.
“We could have won it four, five, six times in regulation,” Kevin Constantine said afterwards, but they didn’t.
The game went into overtime where the Aeros and the fans were put out their misery by Cal O’Reilly at 2:39 as O’Reilly just refused to let Khudobin keep blocking his shot, finally shoving it past him after Khudobin stopped several attempts to make the final score 2-1.
“We had, I thought, our worst first period of the year,” Constantine said. “We were just asleep. Whatever the reasons would be I don’t know. I thought Khudobin kept us in the game in the first period. Otherwise it might have been two, three-nothing and we would’ve never come back.”
As it was, the Aeros did come back. They just couldn’t do anything else once they got there.
“We’ve got to score more,” Constantine said.
But somehow, that might be easier said than done.
The Aeros now stand at 10-10-1-0 (21 points) on the season. The good news is, that despite their inability to score, they’re in a four-way tie for second place. The bad news is that they’re in four-way tie for fifth place. They next hit the ice on Wednesday when they take on the Hamilton Bulldogs in Hamilton. They’re play the Syracuse Crunch in Syracuse on Friday and the Toronto Marlies in Toronto on Saturday.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:
Brandon Rogers and Jamie Fraser were healthy scratches tonight. The primary reason was that Constantine actually had enough forwards on the roster to actually send 12 of them out on the ice for the same game. He also wanted to get a good look at Brandon Buck who joined the club on Friday night.
Constantine was pleased with what he saw from Buck, and the sense from our conversation was that Constantine would like to see him stick around on the club. However, he did make it clear that roster moves were above his pay grade.
And speaking of roster moves…there’s a possibility that there will be more of them tomorrow, depending, of course, on how the Wild’s practice goes tomorrow, and depending on who is actually healthy enough to play. So it’s possible that Danny Irmen, Nathan Smith, or someone else could be on their way to Minnesota tomorrow.
Constantine is, of course, pleased with this goaltending and defense. And the play of both of those units, especially of Anton Khudobin, has been fantastic. Constantine’s not happy with his lack of goals, but he’s not displeased by the effort of his offense.
This isn’t like the offense that the team had two seasons ago. These guys are able to create on the offensive end, and you can see it happening. What isn’t happening, however, is the team putting the puck in the net. But what’s the solution? Well, if you have a solution, I’m sure Constantine would like to hear from you.
And no matter how bad the Aeros might look right now, you should probably be grateful for one thing. You’re not a fan of the San Antonio Rampage. It seems like just last week that we were talking about San Antonio being, along with Texas, the class of the division.
But in the past several weeks, the Rampage have gone 0-8-1-1 to drop like an anchor to last place in the division. Meanwhile, in a complete turnaround, the Chicago Wolves, who were so bad to start the season that the head coach was fired, has gone 7-3-0-0 for its last 10 game to climb into the tie for second place.
Now excuse me while I go off on a rant….
But someone needs to pay a bit more attention to the sound crew. On multiple occasions tonight the music was playing during game action -- it even started up once or twice during game play. It was bad enough that someone let Steve Vidal start shouting one of the quizzes during game action, but there’s no real excuse for the music. The Aeros might be a minor league team, but there’s no reason the arena atmosphere should be minor league.
Now I’m going to play us out tonight with a song that is appropriate for two reasons. Tonight, after all, was Bring Your Dog Day -- we could hear Heather’s dog all of the way in the press box -- so I would think The Beatles’ “Hey Bulldog” would be a great song anyway. But then there’s the fact that the Aeros next game is against the Bulldogs, which makes it just that much better. So here’s The Beatles with “Hey Bulldog.”
Oh, and I just want to wish everyone reading us here in the States a Happy Thanksgiving holiday.