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

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Aeros Storm Rampage, Defeat San Antonio 4-1

Stephane Veillieux (24) and David McIntyre (26) throw souvenir items into the stands as they saluted the fans following tonight's game / photo John Royal
The largest Houston Aeros crowd to ever see a game inside Toyota Center filed into the arena tonight for a very bittersweet occasion. They came to the celebrate the Aeros, to watch the team stomp out the San Antonio Rampage 4-1. They came to watch the team, in it's regular season home finale, move another step closer to the playoffs. But here's the sad part, the fans filed in to watch what's more than likely, pending one final announcement from St. Paul, the final regular season game the Aeros will ever play in Houston.

And the players did realize what tonight meant to the fans in Houston. It's about winning. It's about making the playoffs. It's about rewarding the fans who have stuck with them through the proverbial thick and thin.

"You’ve got to lay it out on the line, especially since we don’t play against till next Friday," Justin Fontaine said. "I thought the guys dug deep and played a 60 minute hockey game. That’s how we thank the fans for all of their years of support."

Fontaine was the offensive star of the game for the Aeros, with two goals and an assist. His first period power play goal put the Aeros up 1-0, assists from Erik Haula and Brian Connelly.

That's where the score stood after one period. The Rampage tied the game 12 seconds into the second period. But the Aeros scored three goals in a 1:21 period, starting with a Dan DaSilva goal off a rebound at 9:36. Chad Rau made the score 3-1 46 seconds later, and Fontaine ended the barrage with another power play goal at 10:22.

"We’re playing good as a team and that kind of energizes everyone on the bench," Fontaine says. "I’m getting some chances, and they’re going in right now. I’ve got to give a little credit to the guys around me."

John Torchetti was very complimentary of his team, and their effort tonight. And he continued to be amazed by the poise and performance of goalie Mike Condon, making just his second AHL start.

"Condon’s come in and done a great job," Torchetti said. "It’s amazing what these kids are doing as goalies. I’m not in shock, but it’s pretty incredible….You don’t just come in and win and American league game."

Torchetti also once again praised his vets, noting that they're the ones who set the tone for how it's done on the ice, and in the locker room. That's similar to the things Mike Yeo said two years ago about his vets. And it bodes well for any playoff run that this team might go on.

"It’s great fan support. We thank them as a team," Justin Fontaine. /Photo John Royal
There are three games left in this season for the Aeros, all on the road. As things now stand, the Aeros are in fifth place of the Western Conference, with 86 points. By my math, and hopefully Andrew will check me on this, the Aeros magic number for the playoffs is four points.

So until we all meet again, hopefully in a couple of weeks with the Aeros hosting a playoff game.


Anonymous said...

I think the Magic Number is now 2.
Houston is at 86.
Rockford is at 83 but their max is 87 since they only have two games left.
Milwaukee and Chicago are 81 each with a max each of 89 but they play each other twice so only one of them can get to 89. The other would have a max of 87.
So there are only seven teams (TEX, GRA, TOR, CHA, ROC, OKC and either MIL or CHI) that can get more than 88).
Which means if the Aeros pick up two points or Rockford drops two then we are in.
I think.

B2 said...

I was glad to see the record crowd last night. It was such a melancholy mood after the game. The realization that there may not be Hockey in Houston and finality of the game was a bit hard to swallow. Go Aeros.