The Aeros team that I thought would be lucky to win one of their three road games last week, just took two of three and has points in four straight overall. They are all alone in second place in the West division and have pulled within eight points of the Texas Stars.
Back to the OT win in Toronto. The win was filled with character and all sorts of fun warm fuzzies that should make you feel good about being an Aeros fan this morning.
Chad Rau scored an incredible goal to give the team a 1-0 lead in the second, but the Marlies tied things up with a goal in the third, a period they pretty much dominated.
Wade Dubielewicz was sharp when he had to be, and he was the topic of conversation after the game. Seems the Aeros felt bad for the guy, and not being able to, as Kevin Constantine said after the game, "give him much run support."
Dubielewicz won his first game since that amazing comeback shootout win over Hamilton on Oct. 27 at Toyota Center. Since then, a span of six games, the Aeros' backup has done nothing but allow two goals or fewer. And his goals against average has fallen from 2.77 to a very solid 2.18.
His November numbers are impressive. Sure, he had just the one victory. But his GAA for the month was 1.60 with a .932 saves percentage. Those are in line with what Anton Khudobin has put up all year.
"He played great in the third," said Constantine. "He gave up a goal, but he was really solid. That is what we needed. He has played really well this year, but we just have not been able to get a win for him. So I am sure just getting a win feels great for him personally."
I, and each of my colleagues that cover the Aeros, have been critical of Dubielewicz' play this season. There always seems to be an in-game let down. A lack of concentration that leads to the dreaded softie. As anyone who follows this team knows, one softie spells death with this offensively devoid hockey club.
But, despite the lazy play at times, and despite the ego hit of going to potential backup in Minnesota to rarely-used backup in the AHL, he attitude has been incredible. He cheers them on from the bench, pays attention to the game, and has been very solid when he's had to jump in and take over for the rare Anton bomb.
Constantine said it better.
"I did not know him as a goaltender and a person prior to this year. But now, from a leadership and character standpoint, he has been absolutely flawless," added Constantine. "He has had such a positive attitude, and he is very vocal. He is actually very astute on the game when he is on the bench.
"As a backup goalie, he is talking to the guys on the bench about what is going on on the ice. He sees the game like coach. He has been fantastic that way, and he has been a good goalie too. We just have not been able to get any wins for him. He has been great the whole year."
The Aeros were able to save a crap load of money by flying to Detroit and then busing to Hamilton, and then to Syracuse and then to Toronto in the middle of the night for the Saturday game against the Marlies.
Constantine said the Aeros will bus back to Detroit Sunday (today) and then fly home Monday. The team will get the rest of that day off before getting back to work Tuesday in advance of the team's home and home series against San Antonio.
The Aeros should get a little more information this week on a few key players out with injuries.
"Right now, we don’t know exactly where guys like Testwuide, Hilbert and Almond are," said Constantine. "I would guess that Hilbert is the closest at this point. Hopefully Andy is back this week, but it might be a couple of weeks before we get the other guys back."
I then joking asked Kevin if he and the coaching staff prays before every Wild game because of the big club's horrendous luck with injuries this year.
"That is right because we really need them healthy too. It really does affect us," said Constantine. "Hopefully no one else gets hurt up there."