Okay, I'm gonna try to be a bit balanced here in my game notes:
OMG DID YOU SEE DREW BAGNALL????
You know, when the team picks guys up during the summer, you hear from fans in their previous locations, you read scouting reports, etc. and it's always, "Oh, he's gritty and a good leader and a penalty killer and blah blah blah." And then you get the guy and it's like, "Eh. He's okay."
But Bagnall? Nope. If I'd bought him on eBay, I'd be tripping over myself to give the seller A+++++++. He is as he was represented. Tough, firey, intense. I'm not gonna lie, I went into a full on code red blush at least 3 times tonight watching him out there. That hip check early on that resulted in him just murdering Cracknell was like, Whoa.
Sorry to be talking like a Miley Cyrus song, but I totally had a teenage girl reaction to him. Party in the USA, indeed.
The first period stunk and they knew that--we all knew that--but a little talking between periods and they came out firing in the second and third. I was starting to worry I wouldn't get to scout Peoria goalie Jake Allen, who was making his professional debut tonight, because he was seeing such wimpy shots.
But the Areos did finally start making him earn his money and I was very impressed. I'll save my scouting report for my goalie audience but the bottom line from an Aeros perspective is this: Peoria is very very good and their backup goalie is not going to be a weakness.
Boy do these Aeros not take any shit physically. Doesn't seem like they're looking to start anything, but hey, buddy, if you wanna f**k with us, we're ready for ya. Kassian, Bagnall, Almond, Kalus... heck, even Earl, though his attempt at a scuffle got thwarted by the officials.
You can't help but love seeing that kind of passion so early in the season and, on top of that, I thought I sensed a fairly sparkly level of chemistry among the boys. Maybe more than we ever saw last year. So I asked Earl about it after the game and, maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but I swear his face lit up a little at the subject.
He said this team has gelled on and off the ice faster than just about any team he's been on and it really feels good for that to be happening.
Sometimes I feel like I'm talking about horoscopes or the Easter Bunny when I ask people about team chemistry, so it was nice for him to validate my feeling that it matters. And even nicer to hear that things actually are clicking with this roster the way they appear to be from the stands.
On the coaching front, Yeo said the team has to basically stop passing so damn much and put the puck on the net. There were some awfully pretty set-ups tonight, and against a lesser defense who didn't get in the way so well, I'm willing to bet the Aeros would have run away with it.
But against a good team like this, I think you just have to keep it simple. Noreau had a great game in that respect. He shot and shot and just try to get it deep for a rebound chance or garbage goal or SOMEthing.
That's all. I'm tired. Hoping to get to see Hackett in goal tomorrow so I can finally see him in a game, though Yeo wanted to confirm his choice with the assistant coaches before saying anything. Yeo also said the roster will get shaken up a bit, too, so maybe we'll get to see Broda and Prosser, both of whom I've been excited to see play.
Thanks to everyone who came out. It was decent crowd and it seems like folks are just really happy for hockey season to be back. I know I am.