With Houston and Abbotsford tied in the standings, this was as close to a playoff game as you can get in the regular season. Both teams played a careful game, which translated to super-defense and no scoring in regulation and overtime.
The sleepiness of the game was maybe a surprise after 44 minutes of roughing and fighting penalties in
Tuesday's match-up, but these were some of the biggest 2 points the teams have played for so far this season.
Both goalies were fantastic, but Fallon in particular saw 15 shots in the third period and a whopping 6 in OT. He made a handful of game-changing necessary saves and you can see the trust he is earning from the guys in front of him. This has to be one of the best, most important games in his AHL career. There's no way the Aeros do this with a goalie whose head isn't in it right now.
And McIntyre, who's been fairly quiet on the score sheet the last couple of months, was super clutch scoring the lone shootout goal in 6 rounds of shooters.
It certainly wasn't the Aeros' best game recently. Loads of turnovers and just unable to keep pressure in the offensive zone, but they won the battles down low in the defensive end, swept away lots of scary rebounds, and just generally honey badgered their way out of it.
If I had to pick one thing that has really gotten this team back on track is simply consistency in the lineup. The Wild have stabilized in their suckitude and call-ups are less frequent or enticing. The focus in Houston is now HOUSTON and less about the parent club and their needs.
It's that time of the season, thank god, where the Aeros can kinda get out of the Wild's dismal shadow and bloom a little. At least I hope that's what's happening. They may lose 6-0 tomorrow and I'll feel like an ass for being so optimistic. But that's the fun of fandom, isn't it? I mean, unless you're Forecheck. :)
Anyway, fun night tonight.... eventually. Nothing like a little history being made.