Although Wednesday's game was entertaining - especially in the third period -- it was equally heart-breaking for the Aeros, who are now the team everyone is circling as the "sure-fire win" on their game schedules.
I think the worst thing about last night's game was that the team lost after doing things that usually garner wins (scoring first, leading after first and having a multiple goal lead in the third period.)
SA Express-News recap
Houston Chronicle Road Report
I thought the Aeros played great defensively in the first period; they kept a lot of shots from getting through, and when they did Anton was in position to make a big save or two. The Aeros got on the board with a nice wraparound by Colton Gillies.
The Rampage tied the game in the second on goal by Brett MacLean, and the Aeros, I thought, were lucky to go into the intermission tied. In the third, the Aeros scored the next two goals, dominated play, and then completely left off the gas when they had the two-goal lead.
When San Antonio made it 3-2, the Aeros panicked and it was only a matter of time for the Rampage. Well, that time came with 13 seconds left in regulation after they held the puck in the Aeros zone for a full minute with Tordjman on the bench.
I did not see anyone trying to block a shot, and I did not see anyone getting in the passing lanes. The Rampage just moved the puck at will, and I don't think Anton had a prayer on the shot by Boedker that was deflected by Stefan Meyer and into the net.
Overtime was fairly even, and after Boedker scored in the first round of the shootout, it was over as the Aeros failed to get anything by Tordjman.
Very disappointing evening for the Aeros, who just keep losing and losing. They are not going to make the playoffs, and they really need to get on a small streak here just to stay out of the basement. These are the times when playing can me, as my five-year old son would say, "not so very much fun."
Deep down, I know the team isn't losing on purpose, and I know they want to win. But there are some key guys on the team that have been very disappointing upon their respective returns from Minnesota. There does not appear to be enough intensity, and it just (to me) looks like guys are playing for the bigger picture as opposed to giving all they can to generate wins "down in Houston."
What do I know? I am just a writer that tries to re-create what happens in a game so those that can't attend will have at least some idea of what went on during the game(s). I have never played hockey, and I am still learning the X's and Os all the time.
But I can say, with high confidence, that I can tell when a team is focused on winning and doing everything possible to extend its season. These Aeros are not doing that. As for why, I have some pretty good ideas and am starting to put a few of those puzzles pieces together. But I don't have enough yet to make a big deal out of that. If I start calling out guys on a blog, then I better damned sure-have my facts straight.
A lot of you see as many games as I do. Why do you think the Aeros are falling apart during crunch time?