So, for all the people who were going, "WTF is her problem" when I was going crackerbananas about that craptacular game 4.... I rest my case. It's a slippery slope, babe.
But the Aeros have gotten a smidge better every game since then, so, you know. Maybe they win, maybe they don't.
As frustrating as all the turnovers were tonight (and the turnovers WERE the reason they lost... not the officiating, even though it, too, was a joke), most guys on the team really left it all out on the ice.
Now, I didn't see who tipped that pass right into Dawes' loving embrace for the game winner, so if one of these following guys I'm about to praise did that, don't rip me up. I'm sad enough already.
Here goes: I think Jarod Palmer deserves some unsung hero love. He was all over the place, protecting the puck, going to the dirty areas, and just in general being a huge honey badger. He's one of those guys doing the little things right who doesn't get much recognition for it.
Prosser is another one, though he got some sweet, sweet scoreboard luvin' tonight and that makes it even nicer and easier to point out another guy whose steady game goes so unsung.
I know some folks might want to get after Hackett, but I thought he played a good game tonight. I could quibble, goalie nitpick-style, with a few things he did but none of those things bit him. It was turnovers turnovers turnovers.
And frankly, kudos to him for keeping his composure. Then again, when chances against are so good and your team is being sievy like this, sometimes it's easier to let go of goals. It's crap goals that are all on your head that are hard to shake.
The usual suspects were also out of the world. Ortmeyer was off the chain, and Gillies and Peters followed suit. DiSalvatore has really grown on me in the playoffs. I was never all that sold on his willingness to battle and pay the price, but he really does.
That said, I don't understand what his BFF Sully is doing out there a lot of the time. I guess he's trying to draw guys to him to open up space for a linemate and then pass it, but.... it's not really working IMO.
Maybe he's still dinged up from that hit a couple of games ago, but I don't understand the unwillingness to take the shot, get to the net, and the excessive dicking around with the puck, etc. I dunno.
On the other side, Hamilton is absolutely ferocious in the way they clamp their jaws down on these turnover chances. I worry about that for Binghamton, if The Dream Dies, because they can be KUH-RAZY porous defensively sometimes. But anyway....
And finally, dumb ol' Drew MacIntyre... I can't even make fun of his ugly gear any more. He's really good AND his gear is sharp. That's super annoying. He's making it look ridiculously easy out there, and his composure is unreal as much as the Aeros are up in his kitchen, working him over physically. No retaliation. Just puck stopping. That takes a lot of discipline.
I still think the Aeros can win this and we've established what they have to do to get there. But this whole Binghamton vs. Houston for the cup thing added a level of OHMYF**KINGGOD to this playoff run, and this series in particular, for me.
Even just a couple of months ago, I figured Bingo would get MAYBE through one round of playoffs and then their defense would be exposed and they'd go home.
So, the fact that it's even gotten this close to a Brusty Homecoming absolutely blows my mind. The prospect of it has brought me a huge amount of joy, and no matter what happens Tuesday, it's the Aeros who made that happen on this end. They, too, have been better than I realized they were.
My goal for Tuesday is just to appreciate the amazing ride these guys have taken us on. Win or lose (PLEASEWINPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE), it's been an honor and a pleasure.
Having Binghamton here, whom I've watched from afar all season, really does feel like a dream, so if it stays a dream, I guess that's okay, too. Really proud of what those guys have managed to do, too.
Anyway, enough of my rambling. See you Tuesday.