Boy, for a while there it seemed as if the Aeros just couldn’t get a bounce or a break, or a win for that matter. But last night’s 3-2 win in Milwaukee, at least in the short term, alleviated some of the recent concerns around the team.
The victory a night ago was hard fought. It was “detailed” (John Torchetti’s favorite coaching term). And, it was much needed.
Sure it was great to have Justin Fontaine back in the lineup…same with Jonas Brodin. But more than that, this team found a way to get two points, in regulation, on the road, to end a nine-game winless streak away from Toyota Center.
The penalty kill, which has struggled mightily as of late, was perfect in four tries. Yes, the Milwaukee power play is now zero for it’s last millennium (28, to be exact), but the hope is that the PK gained some confidence last night and builds from there. Look, Jake Dowell and Stephane Veilleux will help the shorthanded unit as long as there here. Couple that with the pending return of captain Drew Bagnall and forward Nick Palmieri, as well as the possibility of getting Marco Scandella back soon and maybe the Aeros can rattle off some wins and climb back into the top four in the Western Conference.
Another positive sign from last night’s game was the sustained offensive zone time by the Dowell line and the McIntyre line. That puck possession-type game is key for this team to have success long-term.
Finally, I’m looking forward to seeing if goaltender Darcy Kuemper gets the nod on Friday in Grand Rapids. If he does, and he wins, does the coaching staff roll him out there again on Saturday? The Aeros need both their goaltenders to keep playing well considering there’s about half the season left – but if Kuemper can steal a little of Hackett’s ice time over the next few weeks, it will be interesting to see how he fares.
Granted, last night was just one win – but it was a huge monkey off the team’s proverbial back – and another few points before the all-star break are just what this team needs to make a solid run in the stretch drive.
– Aero Joe