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|
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.