The Aeros saw an awful lot of this tonight, Matt Hackett, back turned to the bench, with the Americans celebrating a goal.
The good news tonight: the Aeros didn't lose another game in the shutout.
The bad news: the Aeros lost 6-3 to the Rochester Americans, the team with the worst road record in the AHL. And if not for a burst of scoring in the first five minutes of the third period, the score would have been much, much worse.
There's not much positive to say about this game. Matt Hackett surrendered five goals on just 18 shots, including two first period goals while facing just six shots. The problem wasn't entirely Hackett's as his defense was, for most of his two periods in the game, non-existent.
More than anything, this game seemed to indicate, though not stated by John Torchetti afterwards, that the rash of injuries in Minnesota, which in turn is taking Aero after Aero away from Houston, is really just messing with the team. Jed Ortmeyer and Chad Rau are the latest guys to catch a flight up to the big club -- this time, I believe, they had to fly to Vancouver to meet up with Mike Yeo and the guys. Cody Almond came back down, and Aaron Lee was brought in from Rio Grande Valley to fill out the roster.
But just because there are guys injured in Minnesota doesn't mean that the Aeros should just be expecting to get free minutes on the ice because nobody else on the team is available -- every healthy player suited up and played for the Aeros tonight. Torchetti made it clear that he's not happy with some of the things he saw on ice, and he was clear that there will be some roster changes forthcoming.
"You're getting free ice," Torchetti said. "And some guys need to get some nights off. That's going to be the bottom line after this next game. It doesn't matter how many guys are called up. We'll call up some guys from the other leagues that want to play hockey every night. Some of these guys are getting free ice."
The Aeros did score first, taking the early 1-0 lead, but less than a minute later, the Americans tied it up. Then Rochester scored just before the end of the first period to make it 2-1. They scored 46 seconds into the second period, then made it 4-1 eight minutes later. And by the time the Aeros skated out for the third period, with Darcy Kuemper taking over goalie duties with the Aeros down 5-1, it really just didn't matter.
Sure the Aeros showed some life in the third and made it look halfway respectable, but in the end, respectable doesn't cut it.
The Aeros return to action on Wednesday night when they host the Texas Stars at 7:05. And for the interested, Wednesday night is also the Miss Aeros Bikini Contest, so come out for that if not for the hockey.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:
That was the Aeros first regulation loss since losing in Toronto on December 3rd. And it was their first regulation loss at Toyota Center since losing to Abbotsford 5-3 on November 10. The loss also breaks a six game streak of earning a point.
With the loss the Aeros dropped into second place with a record of 16-5-2-7 (41 points). The Barons grabbed a point in their shootout loss to Charlotte, so they're now 20-7-0-2 (42 points).