The Aeros just ran out of gas in the third period. You could see it as precious time ticked off the clock in the final 20 and ultimately on their magical run.
The jump they had in the first period was gone, and the power play that tripled its production in the second 2o minutes of Tuesday's game was nowhere to be found early in the third period.
The two calls against Scandella and Earl were unfortunate, but legit. The tying goal by Bobby Butler was just a result of too much space in the middle of the ice. And the second, what can you say? What a shot ... Ryan Keller had about the size of a hockey puck over Hack's shoulder to shoot at ... and he nailed it.
Two of the Aeros best penalty killers (Cody Almond and Jared Spurgeon) were injured, and I think that made a huge difference when the Aeros really needed to stay out of the penalty box in the third period.
I thought for sure Patrick O'Sullivan was going to tie it up with 50 seconds left in the game. He settled a rolling puck and fired a shot that was going to land in the back of the net. But Geoff Kinrade did what you are supposed to do in the playoffs. He dove in front of the net and saved the game from going into OT.
I know John and Heather will have more later on tonight or tomorrow - there is still much to digest from this series and wonderful season.
But here is my take on the game and on the series - What a series by 19-year old rookie goalie Robin Lehner. The Aeros did not put more than two past him in any game (empty netter in Game 1). Throughout the playoffs, the Aeros won series after series; and they only scored more than four goals ONCE in 24 games. Read that again. The Aeros got to within two wins of a championship and only scored more than four goals one time.
That in and of itself goes to show just how good the Aeros were at grinding out wins in the playoffs. And it adds to the incredible statement Robin Lehner made in the last three games of the series.
He deserves every accolade, and maybe one day he will be known as a great, top-line goalie in the NHL.
But for now, he'll be known as the rogue crime-fighter that stopped the Aeros dead in their tracks.
Like the sign says in the picture above; who needs Batman when you have Robin?