The Aeros and the Admirals are now less than two hours from puck drop in Game Three of the West Division Finals. And, after a much more “Aeros-like” performance in Game Two, it’s now the team with the bomber on their chest that seems to have the momentum.
Momentum, however, can be extremely fleeting in playoff hockey and some coaches will tell you that there is no carryover from game to game. Thus, let’s just look at some numbers / “facts” from the first two games.
In Game One, the Admirals outplayed the Aeros early and were able to hang on for a 3-1 win. In that game, it was the Aeros that hit the post twice and “didn’t get the bounces”. In Game Two, the Aeros won most of the battles and earned a 2-0 win. Yet early in Game Two, the Admirals had some good scoring chances but couldn’t find a way to get one past Matt Hackett.
There’s an old phrase in hockey / sports that “you make your own breaks” and so far, this series may be a prime example of that. The team that’s had the better effort (admittedly from their coaches and players) has won both games. Now it’s the Aeros with home ice advantage and a chance to take over this series.
The start to tonight’s game is pivotal for both sides – the Aeros haven’t had a good start yet against the Admirals and Milwaukee hasn’t been able to sustain their relative first period success, collecting just 19 total shots in the second and third periods of the first two games. In fact, the first thing Aeros’ captain Jon DiSalvatore said to me a few minutes ago when I asked him for the “key” to tonight’s game was: “a fast start”.
Here are some numbers to chew on:
1. The Aeros are 7-8 in Game 3’s in their Calder Cup playoff history
2. The Aeros have scored just five goals in their last three games after collecting 12 goals in their first three playoff games
3. Through the first two games of this series, the Aeros have led for 28:13 and the Admirals have led for 50:11. There have been no lead changes thus far.
I’ll be keeping my eye on the Patrick O’Sullivan-Cody Almond-Jon DiSalvatore line for the Aeros tonight. If they can generate some even-strength scoring chances, the Aeros will be in good shape. Also keep an eye on Aeros’ goaltender Matt Hackett early in tonight’s game – he told me after Game Two that he really focused in on starting strong in Sunday’s victory and that he wanted to give the Aeros a chance to take over the game….which they eventually did.
Enjoy tonight’s tilt!
– Aero Joe