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

Friday, March 25, 2011

One down, Two to go: 4-1 Aeros over OKC

That game was exhausting to watch. I don't know why, but my shoulders were up to my ears the whole game. Maybe it's the fact that this game had just a mountain of implications attached to it.

The game set the tone for the entire weekend, and both teams need as many of the 6 available points as possible. From the score to the physicality to the (horrible) officiating, this game not only determined who took the first two points, but it established the foundation on which both teams will game-plan for the rest of the weekend.

One thing Yeo emphasized after the game was that, while he was happy with the first period and most of the second, one of the things he wants the team to learn from this series is a powerful playoff lesson: Once you have the upper hand, no matter how big the upper hand, never give the other team hope. Never let them see daylight.

Well, the Barons definitely saw daylight in the third, so he was grateful for the 4th goal to sink them a little deeper into the shadows. The Aeros were definitely sloppy in the final 4 minutes on the double minor PP. As has often happened this season with a lead, they showed a little too much mercy during the power play chance handed them during the double minor in the final 4 minutes of the game, turned the puck over with regularity, and there was that daylight.

It seems clear this team can be oppressive and suffocating when they're clicking (the return of Warren Peters certainly had a positive impact) and Yeo wants to see 60 minutes of the Aeros pressuring the life out of the opponent.

It helped that Jeff Deslauriers was badly off his game in the first. Bryan Pitton came in for the second period and stood on his head or this game would have been 7-1. He plays well in the building, so you have to think we'll see more of him.

Hackett was good, and also lucky at times. The team did a great job of clearing rebounds into advantageous places that set them up to establish a rush. And there you have the Aeros' game, right? Possess possess possess. It's glorious.

A few items: Daoust was a healthy scratch tonight for Peters, and Tordjman is most likely in net Saturday night. And what do you guys think about Morency's "Mitch Love-esqe" role? I think he adds a spark that's fun to watch. Is it valuable? I don't know, but on a basic level, I like it.

Plus, this game had my head spinning so fast, the fights gave me a few minutes to catch my breath and put the fire on my keyboard out.

Andrew was trying to explain the "magic number" stuff to me tonight but my brain was fried by game's end and it might as well have been trigonometry. So when I heard this song on the way home, I knew I had to use it here:


B2 said...

I agree with Yeo. The second and third period were disasters for the team. I thought I was watching a KC team out there trying to "defend" a two goal lead. The boys had the "bad passing" syndrome going on as well. I counted three by Wellman on one shift. The PP goal in the third was very important.

Forecheck said...

I agree with most of what you and Andrew said. The Aeros played a great game - - - if you forget the first four minutes when they seemingly could do little right (do that tonight and you’ll be down 2-0 or more), and a 20-minutes stretch from about 14:00 in the second to 14:00 in the third when the puck seemed to be in their end 80% of the time. Also not recommended.

Hack was lucky – with at least two loose pucks he seemed not to know the locations of. Also, through the whole game one thing the guys got right was blocking and tipping shots. In the first period OKC got what, four shots on net?

The guys need to play a 60 minute game tonight – start to finish with no let-up. The Barons are a DESPERATE team.

Jean Hebert had me wishing for one of the Koharskis much of the night. First, everything was a penalty, then nothing was a penalty, then sometimes it was and sometimes it wasn’t. As is often the case in a poorly officiated game, it get chippy near the end. I’m still trying to figure out the penalty calls on Lord and Moresy that created the ill-executed 4:00 PP (where all the Aeros needed to do was conttrol the puck deep) Clearly Lord deserved a 2-5-10 in addition to the initial minor, with Moresy picking up a 5-10 (third fight). I guess it worked out the same overall, right?

Speaking of Moresy, he does fill a void left by the lower-body-injured Kass. But a lot of the time I find myself wishing he would focus more on playing hockey than finding a dance partner.

Hang on, it will be a rough night, especially if the AHL assigns another one of its “best and brightest” to officiate. Hopefully both teams will have enough survivors to play Sunday.

Anonymous said...

What was to like about the first period, the Barons had a lousy goalie (Drouin-Deslauriers) that our team should have played better against. Not to mention the first period was slow, both teams were slow it felt like it went on for forty minutes instead of twenty. The second period was much better but, it helped that the Barons changed goalies and put in Pitton, made our guys work harder. The third period was mixture of the first and second.

As for Morency wish he would stick to playing hockey, he fights when he shouldn't. Also sorry to burst the bubble but he's no Mitch Love (who had been playing with the Mudbugs in Bossier, LA this season- not sure if he is still with them).