I don't think even my jinxy ways could cool down the white-hot Jason Zucker, who scored the OT game winner in Cedar Park tonight to clinch a 2-1 win for the Aeros.
It's his second OT GWG of the season and he's the only player in the AHL to have more than one so far. He's also the best at scoring power play goals, the third best rookie scorer, and fourth best goal scorer in the league. He's just exceptionally consistent for a young guy.
(BTW, our friends over at Hockey Wilderness did a fun debate on whether Zucker has the stuff to be a top 6 forward for the Wild, you know, should the NHL ever. play. again. aughhhh. Check it out and let them know your thoughts (as folks who've seen a lot of him by now) in the comments there or here.)
Not to be overshadowed was Matt Hackett, who was named first star (usually reserved for OT GWG scorer in these situations). He held off the Stars' 16 shots to the Aeros 5 in the first period, which was essential for the Aeros getting their "been off for a week" legs back under them.
Kris Fredheim got the Aeros only regulation goal in the first period. If I could start chants from the press box, I'd started an "UNDER-RATED *clapclapclapclapclap*" chant for him.
Granlund was back, Cuma was scratched (not healthy). Both Granlund and Genoway got a little dinged up blocking shots but both returned. We'll see if they're in on Sunday once the adrenaline has worn off.
Aeros got into penalty trouble in the first period (hence the ever-so-many shots on goal), but neither team had another penalty the rest of the game. Very unusual, but makes for some nice, quick hockey.
That's about it. Hard to say much not seeing it in person.
Kuemper played for Orlando tonight after being sent down there to get some games in. They lost 5-4 in a shootout (in which no Orlando player was able to score; Kuemper stopped 3 of 4). Somehow Fort Wayne scored an empty net goal with just seconds left even though THEY were the ones who were down and had the extra man on the ice (and presumably an empty net).
Either I'm confused (as are many of my Twitter followers who puzzled over this with me) or the stats folks aren't clear on what constitutes an EN goal. The score sheet: http://echl.com/stats/official-game-report.php?game_id=9865
Anyway, I'm told he'll play again tomorrow night and be back to Houston Sunday. DOG DAY Sunday, the most wonderful game of the year. Woof!....
Followed by the most noisy game of the year on Tuesday morning. Friendly reminder to start coughing at work on Monday so you can call in on Tuesday and come out. I promise not to put your face in the Chronicle.
See you Sunday.