With a lead going into the third period Friday night, the Aeros lost their heads, took too many penalties and handed the Heat a "W" on a silver platter in the first of the two-game set. In Saturday's rematch, the Aeros dominated from start to finish and beat Barry Brust and the Heat, 5-1.
Their current standing has them in fifth in the conference, but they still have played more games that just about everyone else. The other teams will catch up, though, in the next two weeks, so Aeros fans will have a better idea of where the team stands for the final month of play.
|Genoway fires one toward the net - Abbotsford Heat photo|
Their next opponent, the Charlotte Checkers, will play two more games before they host the Aeros this weekend at Time Warner Cable Arena. They'll host OKC tonight and then travel to Norfolk Wednesday. The Checkers will be without No. 1 goalie Justin Peters for at least a month, because Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward will miss some time with a sprained knee.
Personally, I think the Checkers will just just fine with John Muse tending the pipes, but we'll see. His numbers are not that great in limited action ... but he did beat the Aeros at Toyota Center earlier this year.
The big picture
Like I said before, the Aeros are currently the 5th best team in the West, points-wise, and would have to suffer a terrible collapse not to make the playoffs. With 19 games left on the regular season slate, the Aeros probably need about 21 more points to make the playoffs. The could accomplish this by just winning nine of those 21 games with a couple of OT points scattered in there.
Obviously a lot could change, but the Aeros are playing quite well over the last month or so, and they have a 10-game homestand coming up in the not-so-distant future. Their schedule is home-heavy, but not easy by any stretch.
While most of their remaining opponents are better at home, they play some of the best road teams in the conference at Toyota Center down the stretch. Just counting Wins and Losses (not OT points), Charlotte and Texas are plus-11 on the road. Grand Rapids is plus-6, and Rochester and Chicago both have winning records on the road.
Of their remaining seven road games, Charlotte is "just" plus-four and is the only team left on their slate with double-digit regulation losses at home.
It's going to be a real fun ride through Mid April!