Yep, our bad. I was going to post last night and saw Andrew had a draft of something started, so I assumed he was writing something on last night's surprising (at least to me) 1-0 win to avoid elimination.
My apologies for the delay, because indeed, the Aeros (and you guys) deserve a little snuggle for pulling out a win in what my Negative Nelly mind was certain was going to be a resounding sweep. I didn't think, even if the Aeros played their best, that the Barons would get shut out. But they did and that's what it took for the Aeros to win last night.
First, tremendous kudos to Brett Bulmer on his first professional playoff goal. He played 8 games during the Aeros' run for the cup last season, but had no points for it. This year, he has 2 points (1g, 1a) in just 3 games. Gotta love when a kid can come right out of juniors and make a difference like that.
You also have to love Mike Brodeur, who's played literally just 4 or 5 games this season due to recovering from hip surgery all year, coming in and pitching his first playoff shutout AND first playoff win. Bob Mason told me a few games back that they basically just took a flyer on him, not really knowing what kind of goaltending they'd get if he was called upon.
Well, as it did with Fallon, the dice rolled the right way and Brodeur basically saved the season with his 31 saves.
Not to give too much credit where it should actually be spread around better, because it is a team game after all, and the Aeros did a good job in the first two periods keeping shots close and respectable (11-11 and 7-9 OKC in the first two periods respectively). In the third, the Aeros got slammed with a full 2 minute, 5 on 3 to kill off, and then another 2 minute minor, so that tilted the shots in OKCs favor quite a bit in that period (3-10).
But Brodeur told Joe afterward that the boys kept shooters wide and the posts helped him out quite a bit, too. An inch in the wrong direction and I think we would have see a whole different outcome. Which is to say, the Aeros need to get penalties under control by Tuesday because the hockey gods are only so generous with the bounces.
Back at it at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday, and the Barons are probably kicking themselves for missing out on the R&R they could have been having the next few days if they'd done their jobs Sunday. Do it right and you can golf AND be in the playoffs. Sorry, Oak City. (Not sorry.)