Friday, May 13, 2011
Jed Ortmeyer beats Drew MacIntyre to put the Aeros up 2-0 early in the second period.
This was a tale of two games. The first game saw the Aeros dominate Hamilton and do just about anything they wanted. Drew MacIntyre was getting hit with shots from all over the ice and at the 2:59 mark of the second period, they were up 2-0 and seemingly had this game in hand.
Hamilton seemed to rebound about midway through the second period, and it was their turn to dominate the game in the third period, out-shooting the Aeros 21-4 and making everybody in the arena really feel the tension after finally breaking through against Matt Hackett and scoring with just under a minute left in the game. But Hackett stood large and stopped Hamilton the rest of the way, giving the Aeros the 2-1 win and the 1-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals.
"I think the best part about it was we won a game where I don't think we played our best hockey," Mike Yeo said. "I thought they got stronger as the game went on, and I thought we did a lot of things to help push them in that direction. It's funny how you can win a game when our goaltender was as outstanding as he was tonight."
Hackett was outstanding, playing perhaps the best hockey he's played in the playoffs. And he needed to be outstanding tonight, especially in the third period when a desperate Bulldog team attacked with everything they had.
The Aeros got a power play goal in the first period from Chad Rau, and Jed Ortmeyer got out and scored on a breakaway in the second for their goals.
We know that this is going to be a tough series, and the Aeros were able to accomplish one thing they really wanted to do, which was to protect home ice. The pressure is definitely on Hamilton right now as they're going to want to get at least one win in Houston before going home for three games.
The Aeros weren't too happy with their overall game tonight. But they were happy with Matt Hackett, and they were very happy to get the win and get the 1-0 series lead.
TRIVIA NOTE: This was only the second game of the playoffs in which the Aeros have been outshot by the opponent, with Hamilton get the shooting advantage 39-28.