This third weekend of the season for the Aeros once again saw them play three games in three days. This third weekend of the season for the Aeros saw them lose three games (one in OT). This third weekend of the season for the Aeros saw them fall into the basement of the standings.
While it's too early to say that the season is over, perhaps it's not too early to say that this third weekend of the season offered up a chilling vision of what this season could turn out to be. And that vision isn't pretty.
Friday night saw the Aeros host the Peoria Rivermen for the second time this season. This was easily the best game of the weekend for the Aeros as the team showed some glimpses of what head coach Mike Yeo wants from them in the offensive zone, but the glimpses led to absolutely no goals and the Aeros lost 1-0 in overtime to Peoria, a team quickly establishing itself as one of the best in the AHL.
"I think that that game looked a lot more like our game is supposed to look," Yeo said Friday night. 'There was a lot of times where I felt like we were really taking it to them. We were getting good shifts in the offensive zone. Our forecheck was really effective, and the way we were attacking pucks and creating turnovers was a lot better. Shooting pucks and going to the net."
Saturday saw the Aeros travel to San Antonio and lose 2-0 before returning to Houston on Sunday to host the Lake Erie Monsters, generally, and yearly, acknowledged as one of the worst teams in the league. The Monsters were ending a seven-game road trip, and their play was slow and sluggish for the most part. Unfortunately, the Aeros play was slower and more sluggish, and the Aeros lost their third game in three nights by the score of 3-2.
There were some positives for the Aeros on Sunday. Positives like scoring a goal for the first time in 150:30, a streak which went back a week and three games. The other positive was the Aeros scoring two goals and actually holding a lead after two periods, because the Aeros holding a lead after two periods hasn't happened too often in the team's seven games this season.
The lead didn't last as a defensive lapse only seconds into that third period led to the Monsters tying the game. Minutes later, the Monsters scored again to take the 3-2 lead which they would not relinquish.
"That's a very disappointing way to lose a hockey game, right there," Yeo said on Sunday. "For three games in three nights I thought, for two periods we'd done a lot of good things. But to come out -- there were three mental lapses on the first goal, and there were two on the second. You've got to know -- to be a winner you've got to know what the situation calls for. And we didn't there in the third period."
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There were positives for the Aeros over the weekend. There was a semblance of an offensive system in place during both home games -- strangely, the team looked better on the offensive side in Friday's 1-0 overtime loss than they did on Sunday when they actually scored goals. The team's defense, for the most part, was stellar -- Marco Scandella in particular is a joy to watch on the ice. And as is usual for the Aeros, the goalie play was good enough to keep the Aeros in all of their games.
That said, at some point, the Aeros need to start scoring on a consistent basis.
"I think part of it is accepting that this is who we are," Yeo said. "It doesn't mean that we can't create offense, we just have to do it a certain way. We have to be a team that shoots the puck. We have to be a team that goes to the net hard."
The Aeros, with a record of 2-4-1-0, get a chance to work on that whole crashing the net thing again this weekend as they once again play three games in three nights. They'll be in San Antonio on Friday, Austin on Saturday, and then they'll host the Texas Stars at Toyota Center for a little Halloween action. And if the play on the ice on Sunday doesn't start to look a bit better, then the hockey will, indeed, be a scary sight to view.