Heading into this Calder Cup Finals series against the Binghamton Senators, I really felt like the Aeros need to win Game 1 to give themselves the best opportunity to win it all. Thus, I was pleased (to say the least) that a great third period effort helped the Aeros to a 3-1 win last night.
Having not seen the Senators prior to last night, it’s sort of difficult to say with certainty that the Senators didn’t play their game, but I find it hard to imagine that they won’t be considerably better tonight in Game 2 and throughout the rest of this series. In talking with Senators’ head coach Kurt Kleinendorst today, as well as former Aeros’ goaltender Barry Brust, they both (in their own ways) said the Senators were very poor in Game 1. Kleinendorst told me that he counted 15 neutral zone turnovers last night, and that in a “normal” game, the Senators won’t commit more than five.
However, I do think the Aeros can improve too – and I think they will be better just based on the fact that the two teams know each other and the “feeling out process” should be in the rear view mirror. I also think the Aeros need another strong start tonight – the longer they keep the Senators off-kilter, the more they will start doubting themselves, and that could prove huge for the Aeros. Remember, all the Senators want is a split from downtown Houston and with a win tonight, they’d take over home ice advantage in this series.
No lineup changes for the Aeros (as far as I know). For the Senators, defenseman Patrick Wiercioch is in, and Bobby Raymond is out.
Let’s hope that tonight’s atmosphere is just as rockin’ as last night’s was and that the Aeros find a way to match / exceed the desperate effort that will most likely be put forth by the visitors.
Oh, one more thing – tonight’s 1070 AM, KNTH broadcast will be picked up by “NHL Home Ice” on Sirius 207 and XM 92. I’m pretty stoked about that!
– Aero Joe