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."
"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.