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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aeros return after successful road trip

For about 11 minutes, it looked like we were going to have to add Wednesday's game to the ACME blown-game tracker. I watched some of the game on AHL live, and true to form, the Aeros came out hungry and grabbed a two-goal lead.

The second period was not so good, as the Aeros allowed three straight goals in 11 minutes to give up the lead.

I have not had a chance yet to talk to Mike Yeo, but I bet they had an nice little chat after the second 40 minutes. The result? They out-shoot the home team 19-4 in the final frame, tie the game early in the period on DiSalvatore's 11th goal and then Robbie Earl wins it in OT with a one-timer that deflected off the stick of a Crunch defenseman.

So they come home with four of six points and remain right in the middle of a very tough West Division race.

Now what?

They have one more game before the All-star break and a win will give them 60 points. I don't know if you remember the last time the Aeros had a home game right before some time off. But I do, and I know Mike Yeo does. The Aeros played their worst game of the season in a 5-0 home loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs. I really hope the importance of this game is stressed to the team.

Since that loss to Hamilton, the Aeros are 11-4-0-1. That is good stuff. They have lost back-to-back games just once since then and have had a balanced scoring attack and decent goaltending. They have held strong in this, their toughest stretch of the season ... and the rest of their schedule is very favorable. Five of their next nine games are on the road, but after that, they only have to cross the state line twice, and one of those trips is to OKC.

The Heat don't score, but they have great goaltending, and they hit the hell out of teams. If you can get to two goals, you've pretty much got a point. If you get three, it's a "W" ... If the Aeros can grab that two goal lead, they'll be in good shape, but if they allow the first two goals, they'll have to wait until next week to rebound.


ICEVET said...

Masked by the Aeros recent success is their "systemic problem" with PP execution.

To be sure, Earl's OT winner, last night, came on a 4-on-3 advantage.

However, no one can dispute that the Aeros have failed to demonstrate any consistency on entry, puck movement, positioning or shot selection during PP opportunities. It is not difficult to understand how fans become very frustrated when the Aeros can scarcely get a shot off (against mediocre PK's) during opportunistic 5-minute or 5-on-3 advantages.

To make matters worse, opponents (including Syracuse, last night) have tagged the Aeros with 8 short-handed goals this season (only 3 AHL teams have allowed more). Shorties are "daggers-in-the-heart" to the morale of any hockey team.

Hopefully, the Coaching Triumvirate can address this achilles heel, as the Aeros face West opponents, known for talented and gritty special teams, in 25 of their remaining 30 games.

Go Aeros!

Forecheck said...

Yeo must be bewildered by this team.

In his mind, he has given them every opportunity possible to hit their potential (a more or less true statement). He has seen them hit their potential many times recently. For all of ten minutes or so at a stretch. Then, squat.

Yes, Yeosy and the assistants need to fix the special teams a bit. Almost a week of practice time will help. But, if this team is to make the playoffs, each and every one of the players need to take a long look at themselves and realize that it is they who get themselves into these predicaments. And they need to find the resolve to keep it from happening again.

Easier said than done for a group of 20-23 year olds (tough enough for some 40-50 year olds). That’s where veteran leadership is important. (So, one questyion I have is where is the leadership on this team?)

At least they got some help from the refs this time. Usually it’s been the other way around.

One other point - Kalus has been out quite a while. Must have been fairly serious, but I have heard nothing - not even the next to meaningless "upper body injury", or "lower body injury" . What gives?