Win, lose or draw (which you obviously can’t do in the playoffs) from here on out, keep one thing in mind Aeros’ fans: this has been a special ride and this shouldn’t be taken for granted. All the Aeros need is one more win to head to the Calder Cup Final, which would be their second trip in 10 AHL seasons. There are only a few teams playing pro hockey at this point in the spring, and as a fan base, you should savor these times…after all, this team missed the playoffs just one season ago.
Now, I’m not trying to manage your expectations because I really believe that this team can win the Calder Cup and it’s something I’ve believed for a while now. This team continues to display passion and a willingness to do whatever it takes – their unselfish, team style is contagious and for months now, this group has been “playing for one another”. It’s rare you find a group this special – talented and hard-working, yet cohesive and extremely motivated to strive towards greatness.
With that off my chest, here are some quick thoughts reflecting back to last night’s 3-2 win in Game 3…
- Prior to Game 3, Bulldogs’ head coach Randy Cunneyworth talked about tightening up defensively, yet the Aeros had several odd-man rushes and a partial breakaway early in last night’s affair
- It was great to see Jon DiSalvatore strike twice – he’s usually a streaky scorer (KNOCK ON WOOD) and that certainly bodes well moving forward
- Jared Spurgeon is sick. I mean, the kid has an uncanny knack for winning battles, blocking shots and doing the little things in the defensive zone that go a long way this time of year
- Colton Gillies is playing his final games in the AHL in my humble opinion. At the least, he will start the season with the Wild, so appreciate him and his efforts while you can, Aeros’ fans
Now, let’s take a look at some numbers heading into Game 4:
- The Aeros are 3-0 in Game 4 situations when they lead a Calder Cup series, 3-0.
- The Aeros are 5-2 on the road this postseason
- The Aeros are 5-1 when scoring first, something they’ve done in all three games this series
- The Aeros are 6-0 when leading at the second intermission
All these numbers are extremely impressive, and there’s no surprise there – when you are one win away from the championship round, you are doing something right.
The Bulldogs will be ultra-desperate tonight, make no bones about it (get it – bones – OK, stop laughing now). Thus, the Aeros need to crush their opponent’s hope and will early tonight. As we’ve heard so many times in this postseason from various Aeros’ players, the last one to get is the hardest one. No one wants to go home for the summer and the Bulldogs have nothing to lose at this point. Let’s hope the Aeros are focused and determined to get this thing done tonight and that they bring a passionate and physical presence to this game.
– Aero Joe