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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

12/20 -- Aeros vs. Griffins -- The Magical Mystery Tour Edition

Well how about that? The Houston Aeros looked like a professional hockey team on the ice tonight -- on the offensive end -- and they showed that good things can happen when you score goals as they got the 5-3 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins this afternoon.

Grand Rapids got the scoring started when Patrick Rissmiller scored on Wade Dubielewicz at 4:40 of the first period, and it kind of looked like that this was going to be another one of those games where the Aeros get blown out before going on break. But at 14:46 of the first Max Noreau got a nice pass from Duncan Milroy, proceeded to fake a Grand Rapids defenseman of out of his gear, then snapped the shot by Daniel Larsson to tie the score.

The second period was all the Aeros as Andy Hilbert got a nice cross-ice pass from Jean-Michel Daoust and put the puck in the net to make it 2-1 at 2:56. Duncan Milroy punched in a Brandon Rogers rebound at 6:49 to make it 3-1, then Jon DiSalvatore made it 4-1 on an unassisted goal as he skated around the Grand Rapids defense and made use of a screen to get the puck past Larsson.

Grand Rapids changed goalies to start the third, and the change seemed to suit the Griffins as they got the puck past Dubielewicz twice to make the score 4-3 with nearly 15 minutes remaining in the game. But Grand Rapids would get no closer and Noreau would get the empty-netter at 19:37 to make the final 5-3.

“It’s fun. I’m not going to lie,” Dubielewicz said about playing a game with a big lead. “When we put up four, it’s not that you can relax by any means, but you can get in the game, you can get in the flow of things, and if you make a mistake it’s not going to cost you two points. That’s what it was tonight. It was nice. It was a lot of fun.”

The Aeros now head into the Christmas break with a record of 16-13-2-1 (35 points) and are percentage points ahead of Rockford for fourth place in the jam-packed West Division. The Aeros return to play on Saturday night when they host the San Antonio Rampage at 7:35.


Andrew did the checking on this, and it’s rather amazing when you think of the team this year. But every year since Constantine’s been here, the team has headed into the Christmas break at or just above five hundred. The 2007-08 team was 15-12-1-1 (32 points) at this point. Last year’s team was 15-10-1-6 (37 points), and this year’s squad is 16-13-2-1 (35 points).

“That’ll be all right if the second half goes like the way the second half went both years,” Constantine said. “I mean, a chance to climb up in standings. At least we’ve put ourselves in a position to be competitive in the division. We’ve got to figure out a way now to have an even better second half because it’s a good division and we’ve got to climb our way into making sure we’re in the playoffs.”

As for what’s in store for the second half, Constantine would like to see the team improve it’s play at home, put some more points on the board, and go off on a long winning streak.

“So somewhere we need to put at least one stretch, this year we have to put some type of string together at some point just to kind of insure we make the playoffs.” he said.

He is pleased that the team won four of the last five games of this stretch, but he and the players are upset that they couldn’t go into the break with a five game win streak.

Brandon Rogers thinks the team is what it is, which is a team that’s going to win 90-percent of its games by a 2-1 score.

“Obviously we always want to get better offensively,” he said. “That’s one of the things we work on all of the time in practice is making sure we’re scoring goals and trying to get better offensively because our base is always going to be strong defense, and if we can get better offensively, and keep building on that all year, then we’ll be a better team over all.”

Some of the young guys like Chad Rau were looking kind of tired coming into these past several games, primarily because they’ve never played this many games before. But Constantine hasn’t had many resources at his disposable because of injuries in Houston and in Minnesota. However, he expects Petr Kalus and Colton Gillies to be able to return to play next Saturday when the team returns to action, and he expects Peter Zingoni to be able to start getting back on the ice and testing his injury when the team returns for practice, those his return to game action is further off.

Also, as Heather mentioned in a post below, Wade Dubielewicz is off to Switzerland to join Team Canada in some international hockey action. He departs on the Tuesday, and he should return to the Aeros on the January 1st. Until then, the goalies will be Anton Khudobin and Barry Brust, which should make Heather happy.

I’ve just about had it with the cheerleading from the PA, the PA speaking during game action, PA spots extending after for a long time after game action has resumed, the sound effects that pop up from nowhere during game action, and certain various people who don’t know how to turn off their microphones. There’s not much I can do about it as we reporters have a reputation about bitching about everything. But I know that there are many of you out there who are getting a bit pissed about this, as well. So, might I suggest, that, if you’re bugged, too, you go here and start firing off some emails to some of the people who might be in a position to do something about this. It’s making the team look unprofessional. But don't bother the people in Hockey Ops, Corporate Partnerships, Ticket Sales, Joe O'Donnell, or the receptionist.

And to end things tonight, I’m going to go with The Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour.” Primarily because, on several of the goals, especially Noreau’s first period goal, I had flashbacks to last year’s squad which seemed to be able to score at will. So until next Saturday, may you all have a Merry Christmas and may you all enjoy a Magical Mystery Tour of your own.


Forecheck said...

How to get the Aeros to score five goals in one night department: Have them play a team as tired as they are, and who have a goalie who's game is off. Frankly, a bit of a rough night in both starting nets.

Best coaching move of the game : Grand Rapids, for switching goalies, and undoubted peeling the paint off the locker room wall from all the explicit language in the second intermission.

Second best coaching move: KC, for not waiting for a tie before using his time out. Remember the SA game on kids' day?

Homework assingment : For Chris Brown -

1) Read the AHL rule book.
2) Watch a video explaining "interference", a thing which can broadly be understood as body checking someone who is not the puck carrier.
3) Practice raising right arm above the head and holding for 20-30 seconds.
4) Remember to glance behind the play without focusing on what's behind the play.

For the Aeros -

1) Enjoy a Christmas break, but don't eat too much!

Word verification: "ionollyr"

As in "Chris Brown's officiating was ionollyric at times".

Forecheck said...

Oh yes - two additional

Weirdness continues department: Aeros win by two goals, get all three stars of the game. Irmen - three points gets third star, Max gets two goals (OK, one was an EN), gets no stars.

Geography lesson: Please explain to the new in-arena announcer that we played a team from Grand Rapids. Thats "ds", not "d". Trust me, I used to live there.

Word verification "thuffn" - As in "This game was a thuffn for the starting goalies".

Ms. Conduct said...

All quality observations, FC. Ones we made as well during the game. If they'd scored a few more, maybe they'd get multiple Rapids?

Though I'm pretty sure Noreau's snub is due to his second goal being so late in the game. The stars are decided earlier in the third and apparently calling an audible is too difficult, because I've never seen a team do it when they should. But whatever.

Max Noreau: You get the super secret Zeroth Star. *mwah*

Sundays in Sect. 110 said...

Great Game for the fans tonight!
I will have to agree as I am also getting tired of the jr. high AV team that runs the in game entertainment. What are they think when they keep turning on music during game-play.
I also can't go another game without hearing, "I want to drive the Zamboni", as I am getting really tired of every elementary school trotting out a group no talent kids and calling them a choir.
(I will admit today's choir was outstanding.)

Forecheck said...

Hey Ms. and John -

Now that I think of it, did Mr. New Arena Announcer Guy ever announce the goalie change? Or did it go unnoticed?

Anonymous said...

Some needs to explain to Chris Brown that in order to make a whistle work you have to blow into it. Now with that being said, I guess that will be a physical impossibility seeing that all he can do is suck......

John Royal said...

Sorry for the delay in answering. I don't believe the goalie change was ever announced. I didn't hear it. And I agree about the Grand Rapid. It really bugged us, but I think he did finally say Grand Rapids midway through the third.

As for officiating, Andrew said he had read that Brown is the only AHL ref to call less penalties than Jeff Smith.

artandhockey said...

No goalie change announced and I missed that change while absent, and then was too tied up watching the non-calls by 'Blind Brown' to look at Jersey numbers...maybe I thought he'd changed it like 37 and 38 Aeros did to 91 and 62, LOL, for which I still would like to hear an explanation!
Apropos, I am definitely going to boycott Channel 11... not a single word about the Aeros win, but lots about fussball=soccer guys and kid charity? Word is blesse-which the Aeros were this afternoon, referee or not..'blessed' in the spirit of Christmas, mayhap.

Forecheck said...

John, I think Brown is second to Smith in non-calls.

Word verification: "Sotibled". Why the high-stick on Grand Rapids was only a minor - the Aeros player "sotibled".

ICEVET said...

John Royal and Andrew Ferraro said: Chris Brown is the only AHL refeee to call less penalties than Jeff Smith.....

Please refer to my previous comments on Chris Brown (comment no. 7) under the 12/8-Aeros v. Stars (I'm a Loser Edition).

Forecheck is correct...Brown was ranked no. 2 during the 2008-9 season in "parking the whistle" in a credible statistical survey...a metamorphic change from his earlier experience in the Eastern-Atlantic Coast Division. Smith, however, was well ahead of the pack.

Go Aeros!

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

Thanks to the mysterious ICEVET for pointing that out; I did mis-speak.

Here is the list from that great research done by Dave Eminian of the Peoria newspaper:

1. Jeff Smith 25.57 (Avg. PIMs/game)
2. Chris Brown 31.60
3. Frederic L’Ecuyer 31.66
4. Terry Koharski 33.91
5. Ian Croft 35.12
6. Kyle Rehman 35.32
7. Ghislain Hebert 35.56
8. Shaun Davis 36.12
9. Francois St. Laurent 37.13
10. Chris Cozzan 38.67
11. Nygel Pelletier 40.25
12. Dave Banfield 40.72
13. Ryan Fraser 40.74
14. Jamie Koharski 41.72
15. Chris Ciamaga 42.69