Throughout this postseason, this Aeros team has grown by leaps and bounds. They’ve faced adversity, they’ve taken their opponent’s proverbial best shot and they’ve persevered through some trying situations. And with the team now in Hamilton for the middle games of this series, they are in a great position leading the series, 2-0. And quite frankly, their series lead is well deserved.
However, the Aeros shouldn’t have to look too far back for some first-hand experience on how tonight’s game may go. Take Game 3 in Peoria, where the Rivermen headed home trailing 2-0 in the series and came out flying to take an early 2-0 lead. Granted, the Aeros came back and won that game, but the energy and effort the Rivermen brought will most likely be equaled if not exceeded by the Bulldogs tonight. Thus, I really believe that Matt Hackett is going to have to make some big saves for the Aeros tonight, especially in the first period.
Both games of this series have been extremely close and the margin between winning and losing has been extremely slim. And with back-to-back games staring both teams in the face after a lengthy travel day yesterday, tonight’s game could be a big momentum-swinger in this series.
I think the Aeros need a big game from Patrick O’Sullivan tonight (read: multiple points) and it’d sure be nice to have Cody Almond find the back of the net for the first time in the playoffs. The sense I got from the Bulldogs is that they are a little frustrated after the first two games and their head coach Randy Cunneyworth talked with me and the rest of the local media about the poor mental decisions the Bulldogs have made in this series. He also talked about his team needing to simplify their game, support each other more (read: puck support) and their need to tighten up defensively.
On the Frank’s Pizza post-game show following Game 2, Aeros’ assistant coach Darryl Sydor touched on how well the team’s defense went back and retrieved pucks in their most recent victory, which is a great sign for the Aeros moving forward. In talking with defenseman Jared Spurgeon today, he said the Aeros really stress their “retrievals” and that coming out cleanly on their first breakout is extremely important against a good skating and forechecking team like the Bulldogs.
For more, check out today’s Game Day Audio. Good stuff up there as usual…
– Aero Joe