Greetings from frosty Chicago. I come to you tonight with news of another Aeros win. This time they get a rare victory in Oklahoma City against a very offensively talented (and very freaking fast) Barons team. What is that you say? It's not rare? Oh, really? They have won all four games they've played there? Interesting.
All kidding aside, the Aeros picked up a huge win thanks to a stellar offensive night from Robbie Earl. He scored two third period goals and nailed the only one in the shootout for the extra point in the standings.
Here is a link to the Oklahoma City paper's recap of the match. Some good stuff in here about the game. This is not the first or even second time their head coach, Todd Nelson, has called the team "dumb" and "undisciplined" after a loss to the Aeros. One player even said "that team has our number."
I did not watch any of the game, but I kept hitting refresh on my BlackBerry while I was at dinner, and this is how I reacted to the game tonight:
What you don't get from my recap above is the fact that Anton Khudobin stoned Liam Reddox like three times on shorthanded breakaways tonight. Mike Yeo is always talking about getting that big save from his goalie in the third period of close games. Well, he got three of them tonight, all while Jon DiSalvatore was getting scuffed up by Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers. (Maybe Heather saw that part and can comment for you....)
Khudobin kept the Aeros in the game long enough for Earl to get going in the third period. And then Khudobin stoned all five shooters he saw in the tiebreaker. Good stuff from the Aeros' netminder tonight.
Now let's take a look at the big picture. Because each of the last four Aeros win have all been in OT/SO, they are not really distancing themselves or gaining ground on the rest of the West. What they DO have is the team's best record after 27 games since 2005-06. Yes, this is their best start since Daum took the Aeros to a 18-7-1-1 mark during the O'Sullivan, Law and Westrum year.
Right now, the Aeros are on pace to finish with about 91 points. That is probably 39-40 wins or so, maybe more if they keep winning all these OT games. Sure they could still collapse and fall back into the basement. But they could continue to get better. (Since Oct. 30, they are 12-5-1-1).
What Aeros fans need to do right now is thank Jim Mill and Mike Yeo for turning this bunch into a fun, exciting group to watch. And even more important to the organization, when these guys are needed in Minnesota, they go up there, and they do a great job of filling in.
Who knows where they go from now? The West division is really good. Really. Freaking. Good. The West is the only division in the AHL that features seven (SEVEN!) teams with at least 13 wins. The crappy North has two. They East is more respectable with four, and the Atlantic has three.
For those of you who still need something to complain about, you can still complain about being in the West division and the fact that the Aeros have one of THE worst schedules I have literally every seen in professional hockey.
Starting Friday against the best team in the AHL, the Aeros are going to play seven games in 11 days. If they can squeak three or four wins out of that, I will give them a very good shot at being their when this thing is all said and done.