When last Iwrote
about the Houston Aeros, they had just lost a game at home to move their record to 6-4-0-0 for the season. The team was playing some excellent offensive hockey, but the defense wasn’t quite clicking.
Then the Aeros’ best offensive weapon, Krys Kolanos, was called up to the Minnesota Wild. Though the team supposedly had some other options it had acquired during the offseason, it suddenly forgot how to score on the road.
The Aeros started their current five-game road trip by defeating the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-1 on Friday night. Ryan Hamilton got his third game-winning goal of the season, and Barry Brust stopped 25-of-26 shots. But they lost to the Rochester Americans by a 3-2 score on Saturday night. The loss was disappointing in that the Aeros vaunted offense was held scoreless for most of the game and because the Americans are one of the worst teams in the AHL – that win was only the Americans’ second of the season.
The Aeros then lost Sunday afternoon’s game to the Syracuse Crunch 2-1 as the Crunch scored two third-period goals for the victory. And on Tuesday the Aeros lost their third straight game, this time falling 1-0 to the Grand Rapids Griffins.
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The losses have dropped the Aeros’ record to 7-7-0-0 for the season – this after starting the season at 5-0-0-0. They are 2-6-0-0 on the road. This is the first time their record has been at .500 since November 28, 2007.
I haven’t seen any road games, so it’s kind of hard to get a sense of what’s wrong with this team, besides the fact that they can no longer score. Their defense, which was lacking to start the season, has reappeared, but the goal-scoring has vanished. And while Kolanos was seemingly a one-person offensive machine, it’s hard to believe that he was the only thing powering the Houston Aeros.
Corey Locke and Jesse Schultz were big scorers with Hamilton and Chicago last season. And early this season, while playing on the same line with Ryan Hamilton, they showed a spark that indicated they were going to continue scoring in Houston. But something just doesn’t seem to be working. I don’t know if it’s that they’re trying too hard. Maybe it’s just that they’re not thriving in coach Kevin Constantine’s system. That’s kind of hard to see – Kolanos wasn’t exactly a fit for Constantine’s system, yet he seemed to have no problems playing within its boundaries. I probably won’t be able to get an idea about what’s wrong until they return home and I can see them play and talk to them and Constantine.
The Aeros have one game left on this road trip, a match-up against the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday in Cleveland. After this, the team returns to Houston where it will play five of its remaining six games this month, starting with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 4:05 p.m. Sunday at the Toyota Center. – John Royal