Photo by Fred Trask
Krys Kolanos scores the game-winner.
Morton Madsen is not exactly the first person one thinks of when thinking of great Houston Aeros pugilists. Yet it was Morten Madsen who received the game puck after Sunday's 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals, and it was Madsen who received that puck because his teammates felt that it was Madsen leaping into the defense of teammate Peter Olveckey and pummeling Milwaukee's Scott Ford that ignited the team and set them on the road to victory.
Coming into the game, the Aeros were winless in Houston for November, and the players and fans were all feeling a bit restless. A feeling that wasn't improving as the Admirals jumped out to the quick 2-1 lead with barely eight minutes gone in the game.
"We came out flat," said goalie Barry Brust. "They got most of their scoring chances in the first ten minutes." Brust didn't start the game in goal, but coach Kevin Constantine later sent Brust out onto the ice.
"It was just one of those things where I just wanted to try something to get the momentum headed a different direction," Constantine said afterwards. And the goalie change did appear to stem the tide a bit, but the players saw the key momentum shift coming about midway through the second period, and that was when Madsen jumped into the first fight of his career.
"I just saw Peter [Olvecky] getting killed, and I just felt like I had to do something about it. It was my first fight ever, so I didn't know really what I was doing," Madsen said. "I was just trying not to get killed."
"It rallied the guys," Brust said. "He got the game puck for that reason. The boys loved that."
Not long after the fight, John Lammers tied the game at 2-2. And the Admirals would never be able to get back into the game. The scoring machine that is Krys Kolanos got off on a breakaway at 11:08 of the third to put the Aeros up 3-2, and Kolanos fired a pass about half the length of the ice to a wide open Corey Locke at 18:52 to ice the 4-2 Aeros victory. Their first victory in Houston for November coming in the last game of the month.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS GAME NOTES:
Krys Kolanos scored four points over the weekend with three goals and an assist. He didn't score a goal in Friday night's loss, but he netted two of the Aeros' three goals in Saturday's victory over the hapless San Antonio Rampage. The two goals in that game marked Kolanos' third multiple-goal of the season. He has scored a goal in 12 of the 13 games he has played this season.
But his abilities with the puck aren't what are impressing Kevin Constantine. He's impressed by Kolanos' willingness to adapt and change to fill the needs of the team. Kolanos has "added a lot of little dimensions to his game that we've asked," Constantine said.
Sunday's win marked the end of a five-game home winless streak while making the team's record 10-9-1-1 for the season. They're now in a tie for sixth place with the Quad City Flames, and they are one point behind the Admirals and the Peoria Rivermen.
I'm sure that being the arena announcer for hockey isn't the easiest of jobs, especially because of all of those funny sounding foreign names. So it's understandable if he gets a name or two or three wrong when it comes to the visiting teams. But it's not understandable when it's the names of the players on the Aeros.
The current announcer can't pronounce the last name of John Lammers, which isn't the hardest of names. It really shouldn't be that hard anyway. All he's got to do is ask Kevin Constantine or Joe O'Donnell, the Aeros' radio guy - they seem to be able to pronounce it. Or better yet, ask John Lammers himself. Further, it's Krys Kolanos, not Krystofer Kolanos. His given name might be Krystofer, but he prefers Krys, and all of the notes that come out from Aeros PR reference Krys, not Krystofer.
And finally, if you depend on the announcer to know about players in the game, then you're generally out-of-luck when it comes to the Aeros. You can't understand the opening lineups because the guy screams, which causes a distortion which isn't helped by the incredibly loud music. And if you depend on the announcer, then you also wouldn't have known that Barry Brust replaced Nolan Schaefer midway through the first period on Sunday because it was never announced to the crowd.
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Maybe it's just me. But is it really asking too much for the guy to pronounce names correctly, to use the right names, and to make sure the lineups are accurate?
The Aeros play three more games this week. They play the Manitoba Moose on Tuesday night and Thursday afternoon, both games at Toyota Center, and they play the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night, also at Toyota Center.
-- John Royal