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Aeros-Wolves: Say Hello to Dane Crowley and Krys Kolanos

Krys Kolanos tips in a laser shot from Morten Madsen for the win / Photo by Fred Trask

The story of game one of the Houston Aeros 2008-09 season is about the new guys. Sure, Nolan Schaefer turned in a stellar performance between the pipes. And Marco Rosa and Peter Olvecky were constantly attacking the net. But the Aeros won Saturday night against the Chicago Wolves 2-1 because of rookie defenseman Dane Crowley and newly acquired forward Krys Kolanos.

The crowd of 7,380 fans in Toyota Center was still settling into their seats when Crowley scored at 10:35 of the first period. And the goal was so bizarre that it took awhile for the score to sink into the crowd. Crowley was dumping the puck back in the Chicago zone when the puck hit a partition and rebounded across the ice into the back of the Chicago net to put Houston up 1-0.

And it was new guy Krys Kolanos who tipped a laser of a shot from Morten Madsen past the Chicago goalie to give the Aeros the 2-1 overtime victory. To Kolanos, the goal was all about being “in the right place at the right time.” And to him, the win was the result of a “solid, hard working team effort.”

No one, though, appeared to be more relieved by the victory than head coach Kevin Constantine. “I think first nights are really hard to play,” he said. “The guys are nervous. They don’t really play the way they’re gonna play within the next month once they get used to things.”

The guys might have been nervous. They might not have played the way they’re going to play within the next month. But they played better than Chicago. They played good enough to win the game.

So for the first time in three seasons the Aeros start off 1-0. Their next game is Monday night when they take on the Milwaukee Admirals at Toyota Center. Let’s see if they can get off to a 2-0 start.

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Speaking of the new guys, how about the new radio announcer Joe O’Donnell? O’Donnell, who was the radio voice for the ECHL Idaho Steelheads last season, joined the Aeros on September 18 to take the spot of Jason Shaver who took a TV broadcasting gig for the Chicago Wolves. O’Donnell was first contacted about the Aeros about two hours before his wedding day. On the day after his wedding, he booked a flight to Houston to meet with team officials. One week after his wedding, he took the job.

He’s yet to take a honeymoon. So let’s hope his wife is a kind and understanding lady.

****************** The Aeros only scored two goals on Saturday night, but the team looked a lot better as a whole in this game than they looked in most games last season. The starting line of Marco Rosa, Peter Olvecky, and Krys Kolanos did a good job of attacking the net and forcing the action. And the second line of Ryan Hamilton, Jesse Schultz, and Corey Locke also looked very good. For the most part, the execution was evident on offense; there was just some very good goalkeeping from Chicago’s Ondrej Pavelec.

I’ve seen two games – the preseason game with San Antonio, and this game. And I like what I’m seeing. Of course, it’s still really early. But offensively, the team seems to have taken a huge leap over what it was last season. -- John Royal

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