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

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Aeros take down the red-hot Griffins with a 1-0 road win

The Aeros have won back-to-back games for the first time in a month thanks to a 1-0 shutout win over the Grand Rapids Griffins Friday night at Van Andel Arena. 

Kuemper kicks one to the corner / Grand Rapids Griffins photo
The sell-out crowd did little to boost the Griffins, who had won three straight including a 10-plus goal performance against Rockford last weekend. If you're keeping score, the Aeros have 1-0 wins in two of their last three victories. 

The Aeros will complete a five-game road trip tonight in Grand Rapids. Win, and you've got a successful, winning road trip after starting with a pair of losses at Chicago and Peoria. 

Justin Fontaine swept in a loose puck for the only goal of the game, and the Aeros were again perfect on the penalty kill and scored a five-on-five goal. 

Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves, including 10 in the third period for his third shutout of the season. Kampfer was plus-1 on the night, and was paired with Marco Scandella on the goal. Scandella is back after nursing a groin injury, so the Aeros sent Trevor Ludwig back to the Allen Americans (CHL). 

Nick Petersen and Kris Foucault were hurt in the Milwaukee game and did not play against Grand Rapids. 

Scoring a single goal is not going to win games most of the time, but the Aeros really frustrated a Griffins team that likes to send four guys toward the net on what you'd call a fast-break in basketball. 

But Kuemper is hot right now. He's won four of his last five starts (two shutouts) and has allowed more than two goals in just one of those games. Two of his last three wins are shutouts, and he is just playing better than Matt Hackett right now. 

Hackett's been (far too often) a victim of a terrible penalty kill and sloppy play by a banged up defense. He's not playing poorly, and he's got the confidence of the coaches and the team around him. Yes, Kuemper is playing better right now, but it's hard to find any goalie in the AHL that's played better than Kuemper in the last three, four weeks. 

Check on the video below for a highlight of the Aeros goal and some comments about Houston from a Griffins player and the head coach. 

14 comments:

Forecheck said...

Kuemps has won three in a row and has three shutouts this season. I know this isn't Vancouver, but is it time for a goalie controversy?

They look like a different team this week. Part of it is getting healthy for sure, but don't underestimate Steph and Dowell's contribution to the Aeros' resurgence.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ferraro said..."Darcy Kuemper is just playing better than Matt Hackett right now"

From 30,000 feet, looking down.....

It is a fact that the Sunshine Kid has played better than Matt Hackett.....over the PAST TWO SEASONS (when "allowed to start" and not otherwise injured), as Hackett has continued to regress to a mediocre AHL goalie (#27 rank).

To be sure, this BLOGSITE simply cannot (politically) acknowledge that the Aeros wunderkind "goalie-of-the-future" (32 starts) has been unable to pitch shutouts, hold early leads, stop short-handed goals or otherwise win low-scoring games over the past TWO seasons.

Nonetheless, it would be a winable bet that, had Kuemper been given 32 starts (v. 10) this season, the Aeros would be in a significantly better competitive position than they are now.

ICEVET said...

@ Anon:

Aeros fans cannot deny that Torchetti has been given a "Hobson's Choice" by the WILD on which goalie gets the starts, this season.

It is interesting that, with a few more minutes, Kuemper's stats would place him among the top 5 AHL goalies.

Anonymous said...

Although Torchetti has some liberties you can bet being this is a farm team most of the roster decisions are dictated by the powers to be.
The main goal is to groom players for the nhl with winning games secondary

Anonymous said...

It seems as the Aero's have dropped lower in the standings over the past couple seasons Hackett's numbers have dropped but Kemps numbers have only gotten better.

Hackett is 1/8 for wins in his last 8 GP (last win almost a month ago. Jan 1st) while Kemper is 4/5, with 2 shutouts. Why they don't play him more is not understandable. I'm not saying who is the better goalie but they should at least give Kuemper a chance to prove he is, as he is hot as well right now. It'll be interesting to see who plays tonight however.

Anonymous said...

wow, I guess if your comment is not
pro The Sunshine Kid, it doesn`t get posted. Very unprofessional.

Ms. Conduct said...

I haven't seen any come across that were rejected, and I've been waiting for someone to defend Hackett... but I guess I'll do it.

Guys, look at the roster Hackett's been dealing with since the lockout ended and how bad even the good players have been in that stretch. Suddenly, the Aeros get a couple of NHLers, some leadership in the room, some GLUE, which is what this team desperately needed, and now Kuemper's getting credit for the wins?

Sorry, no. Kuemper's been very good, but he also hasn't had the crap play in front of him that Hackett's been suffering. I know people think it shouldn't wear on a goalie to have a team playing in front of you that look like they don't give a crap, but it definitely does. And I think we saw that there at the tail end of that losing streak.

So, yay Kuemps. I'm happy as anybody that he's getting fair playing time now because honestly, he's a terrific goalie whose only knock IMO is that he just straight up needs starts to polish his game. But he doesn't deserve all the credit for slump busting any more than Hackett deserves all the blame for slumping.

There is no goalie controversy, is what I'm saying. The Aeros have two excellent goalies, one of whom was overused and they're correcting that now.

Anonymous said...

Darcy has been the better goalie since the day he stepped into Houston.

Anonymous said...

wow

Anonymous said...

@ Ms. Conduct:

With all due respect, most fans are evaluating Kuemper's "significantly better" performance over the broad time horizon of the PAST TWO SEASONS, not just the last 8-9 games. Your defense of Hackett misses this point.

The Sunshine Kid is a WINNER. AND, as we all know, winning is a TEAM thing and very important (a positive feedback component) to nurturing and developing talent across-the-roster.

Ms. Conduct said...

I think I was pretty clear about the time frame I was talking about. If it misses YOUR point, that's one thing, but it makes MY point, and that was my only aim.

artandhockey said...

Kuemper just has such a sunny smile that everyone seem to like!

Hackett just looks to me like "Cervantes' Don Quichote, The Knight of the sorrowful countenance " ;-)!
Being artandhockey just had to put in a literary bcomparison Lol!

artandhockey said...

Kuemper just has such a sunny smile that everyone seem to like!

Hackett just looks to me like "Cervantes' Don Quichote, The Knight of the sorrowful countenance " ;-)!
Being artandhockey just had to put in a literary bcomparison Lol!

Forecheck said...

My point is that your point misses my point in that my point is pointedly different from your point.