So, I'm sitting here on my deck on this cool April night drinking a beer, nibbling a tortilla, and trying not to let my husband see me fighting back tears in the glow of my laptop screen.
I'm also digesting the night, digesting the season. Hence the beer. I'm hoping some alcohol in my system will aid in digestion.
I hate the end of hockey season. I know there's one game left, but watching hockey via crappy video in a little box on my screen is doesn't count. For me, it's over, as it probably is for you, too.
And while I did find myself quite burned out after the playoffs last year, I'd be happy to burn right out again this year to make it last longer. I may finally have to bite the bullet and get myself this shirt.
Anyway, there's a lot to take in and sort through as we tackle our end-of-season, what's-next type stories. But tonight's game is worth talking about.
On the one hand, I thought Texas played quite poorly at times. Their rather passive defensive approach that allowed 43 shots on goal and their oodles of turnovers was just blood in the water for an Aeros team that will work their cans off in the zone if you'll allow them to.
Which is a shame, as their goaltending was terrific and Bachman deserved a better fate for how well he played. It was my first time seeing him play and I'm sold. He's small, and most small goalies make me nervous because they're like waterbugs in their crease. They move too much for my comfort. But his demeanor is calm, his movement is efficient, and he was unflappable.
Even with the Aeros first goal, where he was completely interfered with by Daoust, who ran him while trying to score and then lay on him as Hilbert scooped the rebound in the net, he came up appearing unphased. Maybe there's a rule I don't know about where you can have one player lay on the goalie while another scores, but I actually thought there was a specific rule against that. Anybody?
Not that I want to take any Aeros goals away. Lord knows they deserve a little luck here and there, but you know me. I'm a sucker for goalies.
Aside: Speaking of goalies, I saw Brusty after the game looking debonair in a giant boot cast thing and crutches. You can imagine what fun that is. But it was good to see him before it's all over. If I'd made a bucket list for the end of the season, check that one off. "Lay eyes on Brusty." Done. I dunno what I'm gonna do with the sudden rush of goaltending objectivity I'll have when he's no longer an Aero.
If you recall, there was one hand earlier before I got off track wherein the Stars didn't play so hot. But the other hand is that the Aeros did play quite well. Rau has really turned it on lately. Fraser has also started being more of the player I expected. Seems a bit late to be scouting at this point, though, doesn't it? I dunno.
Props to Danny Irmen for his empty netter. Normally I chalk those up to, "Well, they're just empty netters" but I've never seen a dude work so damn hard for the puck to get an EN shot. He was battling. He wanted that goal, and the eventual angle he had to shoot from wasn't exactly a gimmie, so good on him for winning the battle and sealing the deal.
My second favorite part of the night was McMillan's expression on scoring the game winner. It was 100% "OMGIJUSTDIDTHAT!!!!" shock and awe. Adorable. Nice job.
But my first favorite part of the night was the Falk to Smith goal. Maybe it's because I find Falk so endearing. Such a Great Dane of a guy out there. All arms and legs. Not exactly a guy who flies under the radar. So when he plays a pivotal role in a goal like he did there, I enjoy it. It was truly a beauty and there wasn't a damn thing Bachman could have done about it.
Anyway, it was nice to end the season on a warm fuzzy note, even though most of the season has been anything but. But we'll deal with that later. For now, me and my beer, my tortilla, and the many mosquitoes I've fed while writing this are just going to soak in the goodness of the season. That's what it's all about, right?
Thanks for being on the ride with us this year, for reading and contributing to the conversation with your comments, or talking to us at games or events, for being good fans who really care about the Aeros. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else doing anything else with anybody else.