Monday, November 3, 2008

Aeros v. W-B/Scranton Pengins - Game 10

Unfortunately, the Aeros surrendered their fantastic home win streak today, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Aside from a couple of minutes where momentum shifted against them, the Aeros played hard, shot like crazy (esp. in the final frame), but they just couldn't get the puck in the net enough.

It wasn't even a hot goalie situation. Pen's goalie Curry was fine but wasn't forced to stand on his head by any means. The Pens just brought a hugely physical style of play to the game and the Aeros were forced to spend a lot of energy matching it. I'm honestly not sure they ever really did. Seems like a lot of the really hard checking was against the Aeros rather than by them. This was a game that made you miss Clutterbuck even more than usual.

Each period was pretty distinct:

The first period saw 8 shots for the Aeros and 10 for the Pens, but no goals. The energy was fairly even between the teams, though the Aeros came out guns a'blazing and then seemed to back off a step about 8 minutes in. Sensing blood in the water, about halfway through the first, the Pens turned into heat seeking missiles and were just banging around the ice like wrecking balls. This definitely seemed to get under the Aeros skin, as the Pens had the Aeros pinned in their end for a lot longer than they should have, until Schaefer made a HUGE save to stop the puck and get fresh legs on the ice.

Then, presumably sensing that the game might be due for a little cleaning up by the tough guys, Kassian and Boogaard (that feels weird to say) went toe to toe for a little while. It was pretty much a draw, but did seem to settle things down a bit for the remainder of the period. The momentum in the Pens favor continued after the fight, until the ROL line had a really nice chance on the Pens end. Dietsch also impressed me with his willingness to march right into the dirty areas around the net and get some shots, plus he has a really wicked quick shot. I like that guy.

Second period, the floodgates opened. A little over one minute into the second frame, the Pens' Chris Minard, who was just released from the Pittsburgh earlier in the day, got his first goal. Ironically, it happened just as I was about to put in my notes, "Aeros lacking intensity to start the period." Gold star for me.

From there, the race was on. Kolanos got one of his pretty "makin' it look easy" goals on a long, up-ice pass from Schultz. Krys had a tough game tonight, BTW. Seems like the boys are passing him the puck a little too readily, rather than moving it in themselves... it's understandable because he is so good, but he's also usually got two guys on him because he's such a threat and it doesn't always make sense to pass to him. I think he got manhandled a little more than he's used to tonight.

He's got fantastic hockey sense though... there was one play in the Aeros offensive zone where he skated across the blue line with the puck and 3 Pens hanging off him. He uses his big frame to turn with the puck, getting the other players behind him, thereby protecting the puck while the open man sets up behind him, and then passes the puck to the open man through traffic right to his stick for a shot on goal. It didn't go in but it was a real demonstration of what a strong player Kolanos is. He may be a cherry picker, but he gets the other stuff done. I even saw him lay a pretty hard check on a guy at one point.

And did I mention how good he is at face-offs? Very.

Anyway, with that goal, the Aeros got the momentum back and had a long stint of pinning the Pens in their defensive zone, but it was unproductive. And then the Pens got two goals from Wallace and Minard (his second of the night), but the energy stayed pretty even between the teams for the remainder of the period. The period ended with 13 shots for the Aeros and 6 for the Pens.

Third period, the even energy continued, and so did the scoring on both sides. Insana got one in after some really nice, patient play around the Pens net. Then Rosa immediately got an exciting game tying goal that earned him the third star of the night.* But before you could say, "He shoots, he scores, hey Curry, you suck" for those two goals, Minard busted out with his third goal for the night and a hat trick putting the score at 3-4 Pens. Needless to say, nobody sacrificed a hat for the occasion, in spite of a few boosters from W-B and/or Scranton in attendance. At least they got their money's worth out of the trip, I guess.

Then we were treated to another fight between Clayton Stoner and Ryan Stone. No, I'm not kidding. Stoner and Stone dropped the mitts and, again, it was pretty even, but I'm not sure it did much to ease the chippiness resurfacing in the game.

Constantine pulled Nolan Schaefer from the net with 3 minutes to go, but the Pens killed the extra man advantage very well and the Aeros spent as much time scrambling to keep the 5th goal from going in their own net as they did shooting on the Pens. Never the less, the period ended with the Aeros getting a whopping 16 shots on goal to the Pens 4 shots. So, I think that sort of quantifies the sentiment that the loss wasn't for lack of trying to put the puck in the net.

*I took a nap before the game since I had my own hockey game at 10 tonight and knew I'd be a zombie otherwise. During that nap, I had a dream that my hockey team was playing at some rink somewhere and I saw a few of the Aeros players there, but the one I talked to was Rosa. I don't remember much else but I woke up thinking, "Rosa's gonna have a big game." Well, it wasn't that big, as the Pens were all over his line tonight, but there ya go. I'm only mildly prophetic.

Okay, I'm getting tired and my hockey high from my game tonight is fading, so let's wrap this up with some housekeeping:

Scratches: Crowley, Adams, Falk (all healthy), Hamilton (upper body injury)
(BTW, I saw John Scott wandering around outside the locker room after the game, too, which was a sight for sore eyes. I'm hearing he will be on at least part of the upcoming road trip.)
Starting line-up: Lundbohm, Ryznar, Irmen, Albers, Stoner, Schaefer
Caption: Lundbohm

Attendance: Actually VERY good for a Sunday. Looked like 3x what they've been drawing lately.

Houston Press report
Chronicle report
Royal's blog (who doesn't share my sentiments below for different reasons)

Also, I'd like to send big internet hugs and kisses to the Aeros in-game entertainment people. It is SO much better this season. I haven't heard God Bless America even once! Bless YOU!

Now, Fred, tell me what I got wrong. ;)


Fred  November 3, 2008 at 8:37 AM  

Must be those new glasses ... :)

(begin rant) I want to know how Rosa gets the 3rd star? I thought he had a terrible game outside of that goal (which really should have been stopped by Curry). He was terrible on face offs, he dangled and lost pucks all night long. It was not a typical Marco Rosa game IMO and certainly not one where he should have had a star.

If all you have to do to get a star is get the game tying goal then those choosing the stars can sleep until the end of the game. Or maybe they are doing that already and we see the results.

Also, how does Jeff freaking Taffe EVER get a star in our building? After running Josh Harding and giving him a concussion all he should ever get is a knuckle sandwich and a face wash.
(end rant)

Ms. Conduct  November 3, 2008 at 8:55 AM  

Yeah, I think the physical pressure they were getting on that line wasn't working for him. But the fan in me loved that goal of his... I think Kolanos should have gotten the star but he could get one every game, it seems.

Who decides on the stars anyway?

Kevin Jacobsen  November 3, 2008 at 10:20 AM  

I have a question: Why, under the "what you're searching for" section of the blog, is the first listing "hard and sore"?

You know what? Never mind; I don't want to know.

Also, maybe we should give Minard a look on Sid's line...and Jeff Taffe? Don't get me started.

Ms. Conduct  November 3, 2008 at 10:28 AM  

I just post the funny things that I see people searching for that bring up my blog. Apparently if you google "hard and sore" one of the results is my blog. Amazing to me how vague peoples' searches are sometimes. What the hell were they looking for?

I feel like I didn't even see the Pens goals. There was so much action on the ice, it was all I could do to keep up with the Aeros.

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