Flying high on a 4 game win streak, the Aeros went into Abbotsford last night and almost kept it alive. If not for a scrambly goal in the final 30 seconds with Heat goalie Leland Irving on the bench for the extra attacker, it would likely have stretched to 5 games.
Or, if the referee hadn't waived off a goal by Jamie Fraser early in the third period, it would likely have stretched to 5 games.
I'm never one to blame the refs. Shit happens to both teams all the time and I figure in the grand scheme of things, it ends up a wash. Every team gets screwed and every team gets lucky, so there's no sense in being a ref hater.
But it does suck when it comes down to a call that, by every account I heard, was incorrect and left the door open for a comeback. Here's how I understood it to happen:
Irving came out almost to the faceoff dot to play the puck up the boards. He shot the puck but it didn't clear the zone. Matt Kassian was coming in to try and intercept Irving's shot, he missed, but then changed direction to get in position by the net when the puck was obviously staying in the zone.
Somehow in the process of Irving heading back to his net and Kass heading for the net, he and Irving, who was still well out of his crease, collided. Meanwhile, Jamie Fraser got the pass off the boards and one-timed it into the empty net.
The refs said it was goalie intereference, waived off the goal, AND threw an angry Kassian in the box for 2 minutes.
Now... I have a soft spot for refs because they carry a lot of power in terms of protecting goalies. But in this case, if the goalie is coming out to play the puck and screws it up... well... too bad.
So, I dunno. I was driving home from my drop-in (which I rocked, TYVM) and only heard Joe's description and then asked about it in the AHL Live chat when I got home. The consensus was definitely that it was a lousy call and incredible luck for Abby.
Maybe it earns the Aeros a make-up call tonight, but it's hard to make up for a goal waived off erroneously.
Anyway, the Heat went on to win it in the shootout. The Aeros didn't put one single shootout shot on the net last night. No joke. Daoust came closest, hitting a post, but he faked Irving out so well that he had half the net open, so that sorta double sucked.
Hackett stopped 2 of 4 in the shootout and played well in regulation, to which the 2-2 game somewhat attests.
BTW, all 4 goals came during a man advantage. Three power play goals and one pulled goalie goal. And DiSalvatore and Scandella had the helpers on both Aeros goals, the first from Almond and the second from Daoust.
And with the loser point, the Aeros moved up another spot in the division to 5th place. Get your "We're Number 5!" chant on...
In other news, Jared Spurgeon was injured in practice yesterday morning when McMillan accidentally got a stick up on him, according to Joe. So he was out of the game last night.
Russo also reported yesterday that Chad Rau is out with a broken jaw and is expected to return in early December. Cuma is out with a stress fracture in his foot. Having suffered through the nightmare of Brusty's foot troubles, I don't feel very good about that, but hopefully he'll be back on the ice sooner than later.
Also, the Aeros assigned Rylan Kaip back to Bakersfield yesterday.