I find it hard to write about the kind of game that was played tonight. The Aeros came out hard, and fast, and physical. They took the 1-0 lead after Clayton Stoner fired in the puck from the blue line at 17:29 of the first. They left their intensity in the locker room for the second and most of the third periods, but trailing 3-1 late in the third, the Aeros still found a way to make it interesting before losing 3-2 in front of 8514 fans inside of Toyota Center.
There’s just not much to say.
Stoner put the fault on the entire team, saying that “we were turning over pucks at the blue line going into their zone and just giving up odd man rushes the other way. Then break downs in our own zones. I think pretty much we just handed them everything they got.”
In many ways, he is correct. But without the play of Texas Stars goalie Brent Krahn, Texas loses this game. The Aeros won the shot battle 35-20. They outshot Texas 12-4 in the first period. They hit Krahn with a six-man rush late in the third. And he made the stops, especially when it counted.
Still, the Aeros could have, should have won this game. But despite the massive off season roster turnover, this Aeros team played like year’s team. Consistently inconsistent. They came out strong, trailed off, then came back at the end.
“We’re a mature group,” Stoner said. “A lot of older guys. If we’re down a goal or two we can always come back.”
But head coach Kevin Constantine doesn’t want to hear comparisons to last year.
“There’s a lot of newness here,” he said. “New management, new players, getting used to things. It’s so much change, our style of play, you would think we would be fairly similar to last year once we all adjust to how we’re going to play. I would summarize the game with saying we had a good start. We had a lot of energy. We had a good first period. We had an average second period with a little too many turnovers. And didn’t manage the puck very good, and let them back into the game because of that.”
The Aeros and Stars go at it again tomorrow night, 7:35, at Toyota Center. And the Aeros will attempt to even up their record at 2-2. Something which Stoner thinks is possible. “I think we need to come out with a bit of an edge,” he said. “We can’t be happy with the way we handed them the game. We’ve just got to come out with an attitude and play like we deserve to win.”
MISCELLANEOUS GAME NOTES:
I’ve got to admit to a little disappointment from tonight’s game. After reading the comments here over the summer, I was convinced that Matt Beaudoin was the second coming of Gretzky and Crosby. Instead, all I saw tonight was the Beaudoin I saw during much of the regular season last year -- nothing. He’s a good guy. He was good in the locker room. He was very good in the playoffs. But you guys have got to get over him already. Mitch Love and Tony Hrkac played as important, or bigger, roles with this team last year than Beaudoin, and I can’t understand the adulation that has been coming his way.
Though, on the plus side, this did give me and Heather a fun way to waste time during the game as we were making “Matt Beaudoin is so great, how great is he?” jokes throughout the game.
The Aeros have really got to let those of us sitting on press row pick the stars of the game. There’s just no justification for Texas goalie Brent Krahn not being the number one star of the game. Hell, he wasn’t even a star. I often asked myself this same question last year: are they watching the same game that I am?
I also think that they ought to turn over game scoring duties to those of us on press row. Heather, Andrew, GM Jim Mill, and myself all correctly identified Clayton Stoner as being the one to score the first period goal as soon as it happened, and verified it by way of replay -- thanks Jamie Spencer for that as, if I remember right, we didn’t always have replays on Friday games last year. But the stat crew gave it to right wing Jean-Michel Daoust. That mistake was corrected during the first intermission.
The Aeros do not have a captain this year. They are using a system of rotating Alternate Captains, which is shared by the veterans, and will rotate among those who are not having to sit out during a particular game due to the Veteran Rule. Tonight's Alternates were Clayton Stoner, Brandon Rogers, and Ryan Lannon.
I was impressed by rookie Chad Rau. He got the team’s second goal, late in third period, and he always seemed to be around the puck for the whole night. And Clayton Stoner was again delivering some quality hits during the game.
And I was impressed by P.A. guy Steve Vidal for correctly pronouncing new goalie Wade Dubielewicz’s name throughout the night. I think I would have nightmares every night if I had to pronounce it on a regular basis.
And finally, before I go, it’s time to play DJ. So I thought I would bust out this little beauty from The Pretenders. First, because it gives me a chance to watch Chrissie Hynde. Second, because it’s a good song. Third, because the first line is the “reason we’re here” which allows me to remind you that, despite everything that’s happened, we here at T3I are here to give you the best game coverage possible. And fourth, as my dedication to Mitch Love who is off in Peoria this year (also, though he probably won't like it, it's also for Mr. Fred).
So here’s The Pretenders with the “Message of Love.”