The Aeros pulled off a minor upset, defeating the Milwaukee Admirals 2-1 on Thursday night to win the first game of a best-of-seven series. And though they lost 4-1 on Saturday to Milwaukee, with the series retuning to Houston for three games this week, it's the Aeros who have the home-ice advantage.
But for that to happen, the Aeros are going to have to play a better game than they did on Saturday. The team on Saturday looked tired, looked slow, and made way too many stupid mistakes. Head coach Kevin Constantine was happy with the Game One win, but he wasn't pleased with the team's effort on Saturday. He felt the things the team wants to be good at, they weren't good at on Saturday, and that they spent more time reacting to Milwaukee than they did going on the attack.
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One thing the team is dealing with, and has been dealing with for much of the last couple of months, is injuries. Third-string goalie Anton Khudobin, who spent most of this season playing in the ECHL, has been between the pipes pretty much every game for the last couple weeks of the season and the playoffs. And while his play has improved, he's still dependent on the team playing good hockey in front of him.
The team's number one goalie, Nolan Schaefer, was thought to be close to returning to action as team doctors had originally thought he would be healthy enough to play in the last games of the regular season. But it now looks as if his lower body injury is worse than thought, and he might well be out for the rest of however long the Aeros playoff run lasts. And Schaefer's back-up, Barry Brust, has been out of action with a broken foot. It's thought that he's also out for the length of the team's playoff appearance, but Constantine said Brust would be able to play before Schaefer.
Right wing Jesse Schultz, the team's third-leading scorer, and one of the keys to the team's offense, hurt his ankle in Game Six against Peoria, and a return to action while still playing against Milwaukee is also very doubtful.
Game Three is tonight at 7:05 at Toyota Center. Game Four is Thursday at Toyota Center, and will start at 7:05. Game Five is Saturday night, and it will start at 7:35.