It was Texas Lottery night at the Aeros game. I missed the intermissions so I have no idea if someone won a million bucks or whatever, but I do know that 55 seconds into the extra session tonight, the nearly 7000 fans in attendance tonight saw 20 guys who looked like they'd just won a million bucks.
Kevin Constantine called it playoff style hockey and said the team has to be able to play these tight games. Well, play they did. It looked like another team out there compared to the night before with odd man rush after odd man rush beating both goalies down mentally and physically in the 7-2 loss to the very same Grand Rapids Griffins.
Mainly the defensive play was the big improvement. Fewer turnovers, incredible, crisp work around the net, getting sticks in the right places, clearing rebounds, etc. But improved goaltending was the other side of the coin.
Constantine said the decision to play Brust again after being "average" last night was a tough one. But he said he went that route because he deserved the chance to redeem himself, and great athletes will do that.... after a lousy, er, "average" appearance, they have that bounce-back-ability.
He made 22 saves en route to his first shut out of the season, and showed yet again why he's one of the better "back against the wall" goalies in the league. He was seeing the puck well, great lateral movement and positioning, challenged shooters. Just great stuff.
I found this on the floor outside the visitors' locker room tonight:
But like I mentioned in my post on Ms.C this morning, as much as it undermines your confidence as a goalie to see your team floundering from the get-go, it instills that much more confidence when you see them clicking well from the start. And it goes full circle. A confident goalie means the team doesn't feel like they need to overcompensate for them, so they just do their jobs.
It wasn't a perfect game for sure, but the penalty kill was very good, which it needed to be due to a few lapses in discipline. The power play, on the other hand, was pretty weak. The Griffins are excellent at shutting down advances into their end, clogging up the neutral zone, and just making life difficult, and that applied to the power play and pretty much the rest of the game.
By my estimation (and keep in mind, I was at the other end of the rink the whole time), seems like probably half the shots on goal for the Aeros were just gritty work around the net trying to jam a rebound in, not from necessarily spending a whole lot of TIME in the Griffin's end.
And that's exactly how Daoust's OT game winner went in. Just one of those go-stand-in-the-dirty-area-and-pray kinda goals, off a shot from Noreau that scrambled around a bit and finally punched in. That was Daoust's 17th goal of the season, third game winner, and Noreau's 41st point of the season.
That also makes Noreau the #2 scorer on the team, one point ahead of DiSalvatore. Pretty impressive for a d-man. You have to start wondering when he gets a sniff up in Minnesota, right?
Anyway, the Weebles wobbled but they didn't fall down, and in an 80 game season, that's just kinda how it has to be sometimes. Great story of redemption tonight.
John's off having a well-deserved bender, so I'll be your DJ tonight. How about a little Zombie action: