So, y'all... the Aeros are pretty good.
Scary in the sense that it all seems too easy right now and teams that cruise from the start rarely seem to be cruising by the end. Maybe Hershey a couple of seasons ago. I dunno. Just sorta makes me nervous.
Now, if you follow us on Twitter, maybe you caught my live tweeting of the game in Cleveland against the Lake Erie Monsters Thursday night.
It was the last game of a 9 day trip where I went to a hockey game on 8 of those 9 days, and this game was the only bad one. Mainly because Lake Erie is just a really bad team and it hurts to watch them. And I say that with 2 live games at Quicken Loans Arena under my belt on this trip. I won't go into the gritty details because it'll just come across as mean, but take my word for it.
When I saw them play Syracuse the week before, they got lit up 7-0, with goalie Trevor Cann getting run after 6 goals. It was like watching an ECHL team play an AHL team.
It was so bad, I was actually disappointed the Aeros got scored on much at all when they played them last night. But Mr. C summed it up best: The Aeros got up 2 goals early and cruised the rest of the way.
There was urgency and beautiful hockey for stretches, but also occasional periods of lackadaisical play that burned them pretty much every time. Even with some really big saves by Hackett (The Kid just gets better and better), Lake Erie put 3 on the board.
DiSalvatore scored just seconds into the opening frame, then Ortmeyer got a nice one midway through the first. It was strong period, top to bottom, but they came out for the second with their B-game and the Monsters capitalized early to get within 1.
Warren Peters scored on the power play late in the 2nd to get some insurance and then the Aeros went up 4-1 early in the third with a goal from McIntyre, his 6th of the season.
From there, Lake Erie scored a couple of goals, but not without Taffe putting his mark on the game (for the second time, really, as he assisted on Peters' goal) with his 4th of the season to make the final 5-3.
The Aeros are just so easy, breezy with this system after playing it all last season and then really putting it through the ringer in the playoffs, I still just find it odd to watch an Aeros team succeed like this and make it look relatively easy. I mean, don't change a thing, boys, but still. It's an odd phenomenon this early in the season.
Tonight, I didn't watch so I can't speak to the effort level it took to beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 4-2, but knowing the Bulldogs, it wasn't the cake walk Lake Erie appeared to be.
Still, it was a strong first period, putting up 11 shots to the Bulldogs' 4. But no goals in the frame.
The Dogs scored first, early in the second, with the Aeros answering just a few minutes later on a power play goal from DiSalvatore.
From there, the Aeros scored 2 more unanswered goals (Fontaine from Bagnall and Reid; Peters from Taffe and Wellman [PP]) and the Bulldogs, in spite of an additional power play goal with a 2-man advantage late in the third, couldn't close the gap.
Palmer got his first of the year with an empty netter from Cody Almond, who made his season debut tonight after recovering from a back injury. The final was 4-2 for Houston.
Day off tomorrow as the boys head back to Houston. Then they're back at it Sunday against the Marlies, who are off to a hot start this season, leading the North Division. Now, I can't say whether that's because they're that good or because they've been playing Lake Erie so much.... but either way, it's a good litmus test for the Aeros.
Meanwhile, the boys in the bomber sweaters have 19 points, which leads the division, the conference and the league in points, and have a league leading 8-1-0-3 record. Darn those shootouts!
(Oh, and to recap a little news that may or may not have been posted here yet, Matt Kassian cleared waivers and is being assigned to Houston. Hide your rooster figurines.)
See you Sunday, gang.