The Aeros season can best be summarized by two moments from the game against the Rochester Americans. The first is Krys Kolanos, at about 12:30 into the second period, behind the net having just made a pass to the wide-open Morten Madsen, hands to his head in disbelief as Madsen has just missed the tap in.
The second moment is after the game, in the Aeros locker room, Barry Brust, his head to the floor, telling me and Andrew Ferraro, after giving up three straight goals in the shootout, saying that “I don’t know. I have no answers for you.”
The Aeros lost again tonight by the score of 2-1 before a crowd at the press table, about half of the Lady Dynamics, and some friends and family, and that’s about it. And during the first period, what crowd there was in the stands was almost as dead as the play on the ice. There was no movement, no hitting, and very few shots. But the one first period shot that counted came from Rochester when Dan Collins found a way to get the puck past the flying body of Barry Brust at 17:30 for the 1-0 lead.
The Aeros knotted the score at one-all when Maxim Noreau fired a laser on a power play at 8:45 of the second. And that’s where the score stood until overtime.
The Aeros had their chances. They had multiple breakaway chances, but the shots wouldn’t go in. The Aeros best chance to go ahead came in the second period with about 12:30 on the clock when Krys Kolanos (who else?) got free on the breakaway, taking Morten Madsen with him. Kolanos had the puck, then faked a shot, then faked a pass to Madsen, then faked a shot, and so on until the goalie had no idea what was going on. Kolanos passed the puck to Madsen who had a wide open goal in front of him, then proceeded to miss the shot. Kolanos had skated behind the net, looking as if he thought he and Madsen had just put the team up 2-1. Only the light didn’t go off, and Kolanos turned, looked at Madsen, and put both hands to his head, bewildered, shocked.
Neither team scored in the third or in overtime. Then came the shootout.
Barry Brust hasn’t been very good in the shootout. And tonight was no exception. He faced three Rochester shooters. And all three easily got the puck past Brust while only Krys Kolanos (who else?) was able to score for the Aeros.
The Aeros play again tomorrow night against the Quad City Flames.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS GAME NOTES:
“I don’t know. It’s embarrassing,” Brust said about his shootout failures after the game. “That’s all I can say. It’s embarrassing.”
And coach Kevin Constantine is not quite sure about what to do, either, though he and his assistants have been talking about going with Nolan Schaefer whenever a shootout situation arises.
“It’s something we’ve thought about,” Constantine said from his office. “It’s just a really extreme thing in hockey. We talked about it and considered it after the last one. We’ll consider it stronger now, just for Barry’s sake.”
Constantine stressed several things about Brust after the game. He’s playing fantastic hockey during regulation and overtime play; the problem is just with the shootout. He was also very clear that his job is to support careers and help his players, and that he and his coaches have to find some way to help to Brust. But, and most importantly, he was clear that Brust’s shootout problems are, at this moment, only mental.
But, when walking out of his office, Constantine refused to answer who would be in the net for the Aeros on Thursday night. And I’m also pretty confident that, if Brust is playing in goal the next time the Aeros come to a shootout, Nolan Schaefer will be skating out to take a position between the pipes. I wouldn’t have thought so, but Constantine stated clearly that this is a topic that’s been of much discussion amongst the coaches.
With his power play goal, Maxim Noreau took the lead among AHL defensemen for goals scored this season. He also has the lead for power play goals amongst AHL defenseman.
Not only was this a loss for the Aeros, it was another overtime/shootout loss for the Aeros. The loss to Rochester also accounted for Rochester’s first road win of the season, as well as Rochester’s first shootout win of the season.