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

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hackett carries Aeros to 2-1 win over Texas

A mere 20 seconds into Tuesday's game, the Aeros were forced to come up with plan B. With three top AHL defensemen already on the shelf with injuries, NHL veteran Paul Mara decided to take the law into his own hands.

The law won.

Instead of getting payback for Mike Hedden's cheap shot from an earlier game, Mara earned a seven-minute power play for the Stars right out of the gate. Hedden did not engage, and Mara got 17 minutes worth a penalties and watched the rest of the game from the stands.

Hackett makes the stop - Texas Stars Photo
At that moment, it was the Stars' game to lose, and they peppered Matt Hackett with 37 shots while the Aeros managed no more than five in any single period. In fact, three Stars players - Jordie Benn, Justin Dowling and Matt Fraser - teamed up to out-shoot the Aeros 19-17 on their own.

But the Aeros got the last laugh, winning 2-1 in a shootout and saved Mara from being an absolute selfish goat. The old-school guy in me wants to shame Hedden for backing away for what he surely knew what was coming. But the Stars, already without many of their best players, took the seven-minute power play and dominated the game from there.

There were questions before the game as to where Matt Hackett's head would be after watching Darcy Kuemper get the emergency recall to Vancouver to make his NHL debut against the Canucks. His playing time already dwindling, Hackett sees the writing on the wall - Kuemper has moved ahead of him on the depth chart.

For now, it's Hackett's net, and he is going to have to keep playing like he did Tuesday to get another shot at the NHL, either with the Wild or another NHL organization down the road.

Carson McMillan tied the game in the second period with a short-handed goal, and the Aeros, after surviving OT, scored three times (goals by Phillips, Larsson and Fontaine) in the tie-breaker to take the extra two points. In the first four games of their eight-game road trip, the Aeros are 3-1; they have won seven of their last 10 games after the six-game winless slide.

Now the Aeros will take their game to upstate New York and Canada. First, they'll play the red-hot Rochester Americans, who seem to score about eight goals per game. Then it's off to Hamilton where they'll get their first look at the Bulldogs, who are the worst team in the West this year. Recently, though, they've won three of four and four of seven.

After that, they'll play a matinee in Toronto on President's Day before returning South for a home and home against the OKC Barons.

It's hard to argue that Matt Hackett was the No. 1 star of the game. And while we don't know how long Kuemper will be with the Wild, it's save to say that every game for Hackett this week will be bigger than the one before.

Let's hope we see more of the Hackett that saved the Aeros Tuesday night in Cedar Park.


Anonymous said...

Being a veteran and with healthy defensemen at a premium, Paul Mara should know better.
If he wasn't needed at the moment I'd seriously consider releasing from the contract.
Hope Torchetti has a one on one talk.
3-1 so far on the road trip is better than expected.

ICEVET said...

Matt Hackett did what he knew he had to do, and ALL Aeros fans applaud his gritty effort.

Prior to the Canucks game in Vancouver, last night, the Roberto Luongo skated over to the Sunshine Kid and wished him luck. While things are not always what they appear to be, this was, at worst, a very "honorable" gesture by one of the NHL's icons.

Mr. Kuemper followed with a very "honorable" performance (stopping all but 2 Canucks SOG...both PP goals) in his WILD Debut.....in one of the "most unfriendly" of NHL venues.

Go Aeros!

Anonymous said...

That is what's so frustrating with Hack, he has talent and can play great when he has motivation and confidence. Not can but will he play like that the rest of the season and into the playoffs or will someone on a pto have to take over again when the team needs him, ex last season playoffs vs Barons.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure darcy will be back by playoffs anyways, and I have more confindence now that he is the more reliable goalie to start each night. The beginning of the year started with him getting no games, to getting a chance and seemingly taking over and then getting called up to NHL. I sure was nervous but excited last night for him. Being put in for a debut against an offensive team like the Canucks was nerving. Good for him though to withholding to 2 goals. The save on Sedins breakaway will be a huge confindence booster for him I'm sure!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Darcy. You deserved this.

Anonymous said...

Really don't understand this move but Charlie Coyle is headed back to Houston.
We should find out later today about Matt Kassian.

Anonymous said...

Matt Kassian has cleared waivers so he's enroute to Houston as well.
Sorry for him but glad to see him again.