Aeros’ center Warren Peters told me just a few minutes ago that the Aeros must “be prepared” for today’s Game 2. No surprise there really, since neither side was pleased with their Game 1 performance on Friday night, a 2-1 win for the Aeros.
The Aeros felt they played well until they got a 2-0 lead and then they got away from their game plan, allowing the Bulldogs to rally late in regulation. On the flip side, Bulldogs head coach Randy Cunneyworth told me his team wasn’t consistent enough in Game 1 and that they need to be “cleaner in the neutral zone”. I asked him about his top line of Dustin Boyd at center with Nigel Dawes and Aaron Palushaj on the wings and he said they need to get some of the dirty areas to be successful after going scoreless in Game 1. For more on that, check out today’s Game Day Audio.
Aeros’ goaltender Matt Hackett was exceptional in Game 1, and in his last two starts, he’s stopped 68 of the 71 shots he’s faced. The Aeros certainly need that to continue moving forward, especially since the Bulldogs are a team that like to shoot from all angles. The evidence…their 21 shots in the third period on Friday…however, I think their third period barrage was a combination of the Aeros taking their “foot off the pedal” coupled with the Bulldogs late game desperation.
Despite not having the nastiness or animosity that most playoff games have, I thought the physical play in Game 1 was evident from both sides and it should continue to ramp up as this series progresses, which will mean a growth in the hatred factor as well.
I get the sense that the Aeros are approaching today’s game almost like they are trailing this series and that’s crucial. As I mentioned earlier, the Aeros aren’t pleased with their performance from Friday despite getting the victory. So, that should mean a desperate performance by the home side as they look to hang onto home ice advantage in this Western Conference Final.
Just one lineup change for the Aeros – Matt Kassian comes in to replace the injured Brett Bulmer, who got banged up late in the first period the other night. No lineup changes for the Bulldogs from what I’m being told.
Enjoy today’s tilt!
– Aero Joe