That was a painful game to watch tonight. Not because the effort wasn't there tonight, but painful because the Aeros got the 4-2 loss while losing another player, Jared Spurgeon, to injury, painful because of some boneheaded penalties, and painful because of the officiating.
Jean-Michel Daoust was the star of the game tonight, scoring both Aeros goals, and doing so in the fashion he did last season, by being pest in front of the goalie. Daoust's linemate, Pascal Morency, playing for the first time since March, also excelled, forcing action. In fact, if the whole team had played like the fourth line, the Aeros might have pulled this game out.
The first line didn't have the best of games -- though much better than last night -- but they were also messed up a bit with Casey Wellman being put back in that mix thanks to last night's injury to Cody Almond. Chad Rau was dropped by to the second line, and their chemistry seemed a bit off. The third line did what the third line usually does, but most of the really stupid penalties came from that line.
Speaking of penalties, Mike Yeo is usually kind of vanilla when it comes to commenting on officiating, but he wasn't happy tonight, and he said so.
[I'll have those later quotes later tonight.]
In the end, the Aeros probably have no one but themselves to blame for the defeat. The third goal, the game-winning goal, came with nine seconds left in the second period and was on a power play that had been necessitated by a Colton Gillies penalty. Matt Hackett did everything he could stop to puck, but sometimes, there's just nothing that could be done. If the hotel internet connection were better, I'd post the photo showing Hackett's efforts. And the other goals came off of that Aeros speciality known as turnovers.
All in all, a much better game for the Aeros, but still a loss, a loss which finds the Aeros returning home down 3-2 in the series. Frankly, I'm glad I'm not with Heather on the flight home because I think that's going to be one painful charter -- according to Joe O'Donnell, they're supposed to arrive at Hobby around 2:30 in the morning should any of you want to drive out and greet them.
And I'll be back later with the notes, quotes, and observations.