Even without all the playoff implications hovering over this game, it was a thriller, wasn't it?
Though not exactly thrilling in the way you want.
After a first period where it looked like it was going to be one of those exciting, but low scoring, tightly played affairs, the Aeros flipped the script and punched three holes in poor Jacob Markstrom in the first 3:19 of the second period.
The Aeros did a great job getting pucks on the net and traffic in the crease. Two goals were rebounds just jammed right through Markstrom, the first of which was by Jeff Taffe, who brought his A-game most of the night, earning that goal and an assist.
The second goal was just a nice shot by Broda. Markstrom got the tip of his glove on it but it had the momentum to get past and in the net.
Goal #3 was another pretty shot from Foucault that just appeared to beat Markstrom clean and was in the back of the net before I could even get the tweet from Broda's goal out.
From there, Markstrom is pulled in favor of Dov Grumet-Morris, and things settled down, until Rau got another one of those jam goals a few minutes later, to get 4 goals in a period for the first time this season.
He'd been on the doorstep all night, and actually had a goal earlier in the night that the goal judge couldn't see because a player was in the way (yes, in the net) and the ref was in the wrong place to see it. Torchetti was pretty funny on the subject, but let's just say it's been a long season for him when it comes to officiating.
So the Aeros have a nice 4-0 lead and everyone's feeling groovy, right?
But then San Antonio scores with 30 seconds left in the second.
And John looks at me during intermission and says, "If I hadn't been watching this team all season, I'd be comfortable with this lead."
And here they come with two Greg Rallo goals in the third to get within one goal with 4 minutes left. Awesome!
Lucky for the Aeros, with 1:30 left and Grumet-Morris pulled for the extra attacker, San Antonio got slapped with a slashing penalty, effectively neutralizing their extra man and taking the pressure off.
Fontaine picked someone's pocket and got an empty net shot off for the 5-3 win, but boy... a little too exciting for my taste.
Taffe spoke to us after the game and said it's normal to want to sit back and protect a lead like that, but that's when bad things happen. It's a truth in hockey that proves itself out pretty much every time.
But as Torchetti said, "I'll take whatever you give us right now. It's a good gut-check for us."
Tomorrow against the Stars, who have absolutely nothing to lose, will be the gut-check of gut-checks. And with a couple of the games that influence the Aeros' chances starting at 3 tomorrow, we should have a good idea of what the chances are early in the match.
Keep your phones set to @3rdintermission on Twitter for updates throughout the game.