Earlier this month, when the Aeros were dying on the road, and Matt Hackett was called up and Darcy Kuemper was too injured to plays, the panic seemed to set in. Especially at the thought that two ECHL goalies were now tending goal for the Aeros. But after this weekend, after this past week, after this six game homestand, is there really any reason to worry?
The Aeros took the early 1-0 lead on Oklahoma City as David McIntyre, fresh off his shoot-out heroics from last night, scored 1:55 into the game on what appeared to be a mistake shot that kind of floated past the Barons' Yann Danis -- I would try to offer up a better description of the goal, but Toyota Center only showed replays of nonsense for the night, when they could be bothered to show replays, but refused to replay any of the goals in the game.
The Barons tied it at the 18:47 mark of the second period when they scored on the power play. That came after the Barons dominated the period, outshooting the Aeros 12-4. John Torchetti attributed that differential to the Aeros being sloppy with the puck.
"Every turnover probably brings you a shot-and-a-half," he said. "So if you have nine, you’re looking at 13 shots. That’s the difference. We’ve got to make sure to get better puck control. You kind of get away with a little bit at home because you’ve got your match-ups, and on the road you don’t. That’s the detail part of the game."
That was also pretty much the story in the third period, yet both teams appeared to have trouble standing on their skates, so tired did they appear to be. But Joe Fallon stood tall, stopping another 12 Baron shots and sending the game into overtime where he made one of those saves that's just so special you can't find the words to describe it, so spectacular was it -- essentially Fallon went one way, the puck went across him to the other side on a pass, the shot was made and looked to be the game-winning goal, but Fallon was able to reach back and grab the puck in the air and save the game (tip of the hat to Drew Bagnall who was able to tip the shot and slow it down).
"Let’s just hope next time that my feet are working more so I can get over into position better," was Fallon's basic response to the play.
The game went to the shootout where the Barons made their first two shots. But Fallon shut them down from there while the Aeros came to life. Jon DiSalvatore went top shelf in the third round, Jeff Taffe banged it in the fifth round, and Joel Broda sunk the game winner in round seven.
But exciting as that shootout was, it wouldn't have happened without the excellence of Fallon. And here's the thing, Fallon played all three games this weekend, meaning he played 190 minutes of hockey and went a total of 13 rounds in two shootouts.
"I tell you what, he’s come in and given us a lot of confidence," Torchetti said. "He’s played with a lot of confidence. It just goes to show you, that’s what it’s all about, I think. Giving people chances, and he’s taking advantage of it. He’s got experience. He’s come in and done a fantastic job for us. He likes a challenge. I’ll tell you what, he’s done a great job."
And nobody should argue with that fantastic job bit, especially after this weekend. As to why Fallon went back out today and didn't get any rest, well, as Fallon assured us after the game, that's the way he wanted it.
"Torch asked me if I wanted to go again, and I said, yeah, let’s do it, let’s keep the train rolling, and it paid off today," he said.
In this past week, the Aeros have gone from sitting in 10th place to sitting in fourth place with a record of 32-20-3-9 (76 points) with 12 games to play. The Rivermen sit in fifth with 73 points, percentage points ahead of the Heat who also have 73 points, but fewer wins. The Checkers have dropped down to sixth place with 72 points, while the Americans and Monster are battling it out for eighth with both have 71 points, but Rochester having the better winning percentage. The Rampage are now the tenth place, and they have 70 points.
So while the Aeros were able to make up ground and get some slight spacing on the teams behind them, this season's not over by a longshot. They've got the week off from games (but not off from practicing) before a three-in-three this weekend with two games in Rockford and a Sunday game in Chicago -- hopefully our Midwest Bureau Chief, Chris Jerina, will be able to get some photos and make a report for us from there.
Tyler Cuma was a late scratch from the game. He skated pregame, but had a slight lower body injury. While he could've played, Torchetti said they decided that it was better that he sit out and get the extra rest time....Kris Foucault was a healthy scratch, allowing Nick Palmieri, freshly arrived from the Wild, to play....Also, it is expected that, sometime soon, Matt Hackett will be returning to the team as it's appearing that both Wild goalies will actually be healthy.
Also, I apologize for taking so long to get this posted, but I wanted to post a video honoring Joe Fallon, who had me thinking of Jimmy Fallon, so I went into Hulu watching old Jimmy Fallon skits from Saturday Night Live. And that led me from one video to another to another, and so on, and so on, and so on. Anyway, for your enjoyment, here's one of my favorites, The Barry Gibb Talk Show.