After conducting some interviews at yesterday’s practice day and today’s morning skate, here’s a a simple way to sum up what I’ve gathered:
- The Aeros are playing great hockey right now and they’ve got their “opponent on the ropes”
Now, here’s the deal – the above statement can change at any moment and can change drastically. Just look back to the Aeros series against the Hamilton Bulldogs and know that one win, one loss, one good play, onebad play, etc. can shift a series. One missed opportunity or one big break can give your opponent all the hope and belief in the world. Still don’t believe me, then look back to last year’s Calder Cup Final, where the heavily favored Hershey Bears lost the first two games on home ice and trailed in Game 3 before finally finding their game and never looking back as they beat the Texas Stars in six games.
Back to why I made the above statement…all of the Aeros’ players I talked with spoke of doing the little things, of grinding it out, of sacrificing themselves for the good of team, while Senators’ head coach Kurt Kleinendorst and forward Colin Greening kept saying how they need to be more consistent and need to go to the “dirty areas”…but, in addition to that, they also both gave credit to the Aeros multiple times.
Look, this series is FAR from over. The Aeros can’t afford to relax for a second, because the Senators are just too damn skilled to be given time and space and allowed to generate scoring chances at will. And I honestly believe the Aeros understand that – they’ve learned from their previous lapses at other times in this postseason – and I think they are ready to compete every night, to bring the battle level and execution needed to be successful. Now, that doesn’t mean that they will win this thing even if they bring / execute “their game” tonight, tomorrow, whenever…but it gives them the best chance to be successful and that’s all you can ask for.
The Senators are close to, if not already frustrated. The longer the Aeros “impose their will” as captain Jon DiSalvatore likes to say, the better. Matt Hackett needs to continue his strong play in net, the specialty teams must improve AND the Aeros’ best players must be exactly that as this series continues.
14 wins down, 2 to go…
Game Day Audio is up.
Enjoy tonight’s game, wherever you may be watching / listening from.
– Aero Joe