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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Aeros bury the Stars 4-2

Raise your hand if you watched the first 58 minutes of tonight's game and thought, "Ugh. No way we get outta here with a win."

My hand is up. It was a tough game to watch most of the way. Kludgey first goal from Anton, who woke up and was very good the rest of the way. Texas' goalie, Beskorowany, was making his AHL debut and looked nervous at times, but at 6'5" is simply so big, it was just difficult to score on him.

Credit to Andrew, he called the game winner by Jarod Palmer with a minute and a half to spare. Palmer found a little open space just outside the mass of bodies in front of the crease, Spurgeon got it on his stick and boom. Bob's your uncle. That sucker was rattling the water bottle.

With John out of town, you're not getting a big mess of quotes, but I'll give you the gist of Yeo's post-game chat with us. He was really pleased with how the team responded to adversity. Tough travel schedule with 3 games in 48 hours is a grind of the highest order.

You don't want to make excuses about that kind of thing, but they're humans and it does have an effect. After a long stretch of Texas hammering away in the Aeros, maybe you noticed Khudobin just stay on one knee for as long as the play was safely away from him.

I was worried he was hurt at first and then I put on my goalie brain and realized, the dude is bound to have some seriously tired legs and even without tired legs, that was a tough stretch. Okay kid, catch your breath.

Yeo gave Anton a lot of credit tonight for standing on his head when the team wasn't up to the task. And that favor was paid back, in particular a great save by Spurgeon as the puck danced on the goal line behind Khudobin.

We talked to Palmer, too, who said the team is really playing for each other and helping each other out and everyone is taking their turns pulling the load. Said the attitude in the room is really positive and chemistry continues to build.

We're pretending I didn't ask him how surprised he is to be at the top of the scoring chart for the Aeros. But it suffices to say he's "very surprised" to be there but gave all the credit to his linemates who create great chances for him. I'm guessing most every guy in the top 10 scorers on the team would say the same and it wouldn't be the usual hockey player cliche speak. It really does seem to be a lot of teamwork that makes the goals happen.

And all superstitiousness aside, the pressure at the top isn't that heavy because the top scorers all only have a point or two between them. This team scores by committee and whether it's DiSalvatore or Noreau or Palmer or whoever at the top, it's not particularly relevant in the grand scheme of things. It will likely change in a game or two anyway.

But for a rookie from whom we didn't really know what to expect, what a nice surprise!

Speaking of nice surprises, Yeo said Kassian has been one for him. He said he didn't know much about him when the season started but he had nothing but good things to say tonight. He added that the fight fired the boys up as much as Anton's great play did, and that guys all feel a little bigger when he's in the line-up (which he always is, and that's not something most enforcers can say... I think he's a lot more than that to this team now).

I kinda feel bad that Warren Peters didn't get a star tonight, so I'm throwing him the honorary 4th star. He's really become the hub around which a lot of good things happen on the ice and probably doesn't get enough outright credit for it. But it's not going unnoticed.

There's probably more to say, but dude, I'm dog tired. :)


Forecheck said...

 Anton was more or less average tonight, which was a huge improvement.

 As a matter of fact, Bob was my uncle.

 Jamie Koharski – UN-BE-LIEVE-A-BLE!! We would have been better off randomly selecting someone from the crowd to be the ref. Honestly, why does the AHL allow this guy to continue to work? I can certainly see how this guy could force Playfair into his meltdown this spring (http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/postedsports/archive/2010/03/29/abbotsford-coach-playfair-fined-by-ahl-after-major-meltdown-video.aspx) . (advance to about 3:30)

Try Googling “Jamie Koharski worst ref ever” and count the number of hits.

 Aeros – Out of gas the entire third period, but able to hold on until Texas ran out of gas the last six or seven minutes.

 I like Palmer more and more each game. Let’s get some more Miami guys.

John Royal said...

I wasn't out of town. I was covering college basketball at Rice -- they just happened to be playing at the same time.

IanNFisher12 said...

I agree Anton was average until the 3rd period, where he was a brick wall, and he played pretty darn well in my opinion being at the end of 3 games straight in 48 hours, but it was nice to see us score in the 3rd finally, even if one was a empty netter.

Ms. Conduct said...

Trust me. Sounds better to say you're out of town than at basketball. :)

Forecheck said...

Isn't watching basketball something you can lose your certification as a hockey fan over?

At least it wasn't the Rockets, so maybe we can forgive this one offense.

On the Pond said...

Agreed on Kassian being more to the team now than the enforcer. I wonder what he could show if he logged more minutes and with more skilled linemates...He has nothing left to prove in the fighting-heavyweight department. I hope he doesn't just get pigeon-holed and gets the chance to develop other hockey skills.

artandhockey said...

Missed watching/hearing the game,
but by all accounts it was a nail biter!
Aeros moving up to THIRD! Yes!
Good for Kassian, Buck, Palmer, Falk, Spurgeon, and Di Salvatore!
Kudos to Khudobin.

Forecheck said...

@Arts - Well, fourth in points, but we've played as many or more than anyone else. Unfortunately the Aeros are sixth in terms of winning percentage at 0.575 which is probably close to league average.

artandhockey said...

@FC according to AHL of today, you are correct!

B2Bomber said...

I see that Wellman is coming back and the Wild picked up Patrick O'Sullivan off waivers from Carolina. I really liked O'Sullivan when he played for the Aeros.