Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bulldogs Bite Aeros, Win 3-2 in OT

John Torchetti was rather calm and collected when he came out to address the media long, long after tonight's 3-2 OT loss to Hamilton. He wasn't so calm in the locker room, however, as shouting and things being tossed could be heard in the corridor outside the locker room.

He's probably right to be angry. The Aeros are now 0-3-2-1 for their last six games, and with this loss, though the Aeros got a point, they dropped to seventh in the standings, and the reason for those losses, according to Torchetti is rather simple: the team's not playing very good hockey.

"It’s tough," Torchettis said. "You know what, our last six games have been that way every night. I would love to give you an explanation, but it comes down to how simple we want to play. We’ve got to simplify our game."

They took the 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the game when Nick Palmieri got the puck back to Chad Rau who stuck the puck into the goal. But Hamilton scored three minutes later tying the game. And like so many of the goals the Aeros have surrendered lately, it came as a result of a defensive breakdown.

"First mistake, first goal – it was two-on-two, stay in our lanes," he said. "Where were you about getting the puck to go on offense when we were not even going to get any offense from it, so we give them the middle of the ice. Just a rookie mistake."

The second Hamilton goal came late, late in the third period, after the Aeros, had again, taken a lead early in the period, this time with Palmieri getting the goal. But then there was another defensive breakdown hanging Hackett out to dry, and the game was tied.

Then the game goes into overtime, there's a turnover, and the game's over.

"The third goal, we turned the puck over," Torchetti said. "Instead of just passing it to the boards, we tried to pass it through the guy, and then we’re not focused because we made the turnover and we didn’t gap up. And now we’re so far back the guy just shoots it, our guy puts a stick in the way, Hack’s playing the shot, it gets deflected, there’s nothing you can do about it. It was over."

The game was about more than just the Aeros own mistakes. The game started nearly hour late because the ice compressor broke down and the ice started melting. But while Torchetti was very upset about the officiating during the late stages of the game, he did compliment the crew when it came to delaying the game and making sure it was safe to skate on the ice.

"Everyone did a good job," Torchetti said. "It is what is. Compressor goes down, you just have to make adjustments. The referees did a good job. [Official] Zac [Weibe] and Carl, Carl Sasyn [linesman] was pretty much like an ice man, so kudos to him. He did a hell of a job. He should have been double-paid tonight."

But late in the game, Cody Almond was sent flying into the boards when he was sent flying by a stick to his skates and no penalty was called. And there seemed to be some officiating confusion, as they were looking at a possible icing call on the play.

"It wasn’t icing," Torchetti said. "It hit his skate. 12,000 people seen it, except there were 12,003 people and only 12,000 seen it."

But the Aeros didn't lose this game because of the AHL's standard sub-par officiating. The Aeros lost this game because of bad hockey on their part. Sloppy defense. Sloppy puck-handling. Lack of discipline. And with the team not playing a game until Friday, they're going to be getting lots and lots and lots of practice time at SLICE.

"This is going to be the hardest week we’ve ever worked," Torchetti said. "Guarantee it. There’s no days off now. I don’t care if you’re tired. This team has to understand what discipline is because we’re not doing it right now."

But it's beginning to look like that, even if the team does begin to understand what discipline is, it's going to be too late to save a playoff spot.


The Aeros are now 32-23-5-10 on the season with 79 points. Abbotsford is in fourth place with 80 points. Charlotte and San Antonio both won tonight with both also reaching 79 points on the season. The Checkers are in fifth place, and the Rampage move into sixth place with the Aeros now in seventh place.

Rochester, Peoria, and Lake Erie are all poised three points behind the Aeros. There are six games left in the season, but for the Aeros, time might be close to being over.


Anonymous said...

You sure are the pessimist aren't you well here is a little sunshine lake Erie only has 5 games to play including tomorrow and there schedule doesn't look favorable. Rochester has a trip to abbotsford coming up and Peoria has 3 in 3 with extreme travel. remember what a difference 2 weeks can make.

Forecheck said...

The playoffs are no longer in question. The Aeros do not deserve to be in the playoffs right now. Even if they do back in as the eight seed, they will be road kill for the Chicago Wolves, OKC Barons, or any of the other real hockey teams in the Western Conference.

I don't think it is totally an issue of lack of desire, fatigue, or bad luck. The issue is this is an AWFUL hockey team right now which is finding ways to lose games. We're talking 2006-7 season kind of awful, maybe worse. They can't pass, they don't play consistent defense, they turn the puck over too often, they don't get in front of the net (in fact , they don't even shoot it on net) and they can't generate significant offensive pressure even on a power play (hard to do when your forwards spend as much time moving the puck backwards as forwards). Now the goaltending is going to pot at critical times, too. The honey badger is now an extinct species in these parts.

I'm honestly wondering about what to do the next two weeks. Between the Aeros' ineptitude, and the incompetence of the referees the AHL keeps sending our way, these games are just too painful to watch anymore. Despite how Joe, the coaches, and ticket reps might spin the party line to the public, for the first time in a long time, Aeros games are no longer fun to watch nor can I consider them bargain entertainment. They are usually just an exercise in frustration (or at best some sort of a sick comedy).

Hopefully things will get better this fall. This season is over as of tonight. And please, get those “unfinished business” commercials off the air. That's a joke at this point.

Over and possibly out.

Anonymous said...

Defense, defense, defense. 75% of hockey is defense.

We were very surprised #39 was on the ice for all three. But then all three goals were on Hackett's left side. Not surprised to see #7 on defense for two of the three. Usually it is #7 and/or #61 you see on the ice for multiple scores. We like Cuma. He plays his butt off, but he is very prone to errors. Fredheim is not only prone to errors, but he seems very indolent and fragile. However, he has been playing much harder the last few games. But then again, you can't really send out the third and fourth line too much. There is a reason they are on that line.

As for offense, you have to catch the puck before you can skate with, pass or shoot it. Same as in football. They are getting too far ahead of themselves. Almost looks like the first week of the season.

Coach T needs to have these guys in practice until they cry for mercy.

Finally what is up with the puck bouncing around like a basketball when we are in control of it? It always seems to just glide around so nicely for the other team.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the guys looked bad last night, and in my opinion, that includes Hackett. Why is everyone so quick to excuse him? He goes down and he's not quick to get up and he just doesn't seem as sharp as he used to. Being 27th on the PP doesn't help either. They are no advantage to us whatsoever. I think it's a bit late for any huge improvements, but one never knows I guess. It's a shame for the guys who are working their butts off...and there are a few of those.

B2B said...

Even if they get there I can't see this team getting past the first round. If that pessimistic, then so be it. I think it just a huge dose of realism.

Anonymous said...

@Forecheck. I was just thinking last night that Joe O. would make a great spin doctor.

Forecheck said...

BTW - No dsirespect meant towards Joe. He likes keeping his job, andI respect that. I've been in the situation of not being able to say exactly what I think too.

facebool said...

Marina Verdun
Ref Wiebe Sucks big time He handed the win to Bulldogs by Failing to call @ least 3 flagrant fouls giving Bullbogs advantage Players injured & down on ice but NO penalties?! He needs retraining in ECHL! Demoted! Biased! Blind! Deaf! Dumb!