Wild lazy and undisciplined in 4-0 loss in Dallas

Erik Haula

Sometimes the toughest thing to do is to move on from a good moment.  its like a hangover.  You keep living in that moment of glory from the past, you become distracted from the present.  I hope the Wild are not going to be living too much in the afterglow of the dramatic overtime victory on Saturday against the Stars to not take care of business on Monday against that same Dallas squad who will no doubt be feeling they were robbed.  So perhaps the team's biggest challenge will tempering that feeling of overconfidence.  The Wild certainly had it within them to have played better than they did on Saturday.  

Ryan Suter

Presently, the Wild are sitting in 8th place in the super competitive Western Conference, tied with Vancouver with 59 points.  They hold a 4 point advantage over the Phoenix Coyotes who have 3 games in hand on the Wild.  We might as well get used to the game by game standings watch because its just the nature of the race.  In case you are curious, we'd be 4th in the Eastern Conference.  Can the Wild continue to hold serve in this great race or will their weekend's good fortune mean they will stumble in big D?  

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Jason Pominville

1st Period Thoughts:  Not a good start for the Wild, Minnesota was not anticipating the play well and the Stars were looking motivated and full of energy.  The Stars intensity combined with the hesitant play of Minnesota started to lead to Dallas creating a plethora of scoring chances early.  A long stretch pass by Ray Whitney up to Erik Cole saw the veteran speed behind the Wild defense and he'd race in but just before he was going to pull the trigger he lost the puck and the puck would lay in the blue paint before Darcy Kuemper was able to sweep it aside.  A minute or two after that, the Wild would have some more good fortune in their own zone as Jamie Benn set up Tyler Seguin for a quick shot that went off the base of the right post and back towards the middle of the crease where it was eventually swept out of danger.  Minnesota was not able to get much of anything going offensively.  One hard wrist shot by Nino NIederreiter was really the only offensive chance to speak of for the Wild.  Frustration was starting to build and Vernon Fiddler would get into a near fight with Stephane Veilleux.  Part of the Wild's problems stemmed from poor passes out of the zone which made it tough for the Wild to attack through the neutral zone with speed.  The Stars kept pressing and their pressure would draw a penalty as Torrey Mitchell would earn a minor for high sticking as he got his stick into the face of Antoine Roussel.  On the power play the Stars 29th ranked power play looked very sharp and dangerous.  Minnesota's penalty killers just couldn't seem to clear the zone and that feeling of panic would be amplified when Marco Scandella broke his stick forcing Stephane Veilleux to give up his twig.  The loss of the stick would allow the Stars to create some prime chances as they set up Seguin on back door passes that Kuemper made some great saves on.  The Wild would somehow escape unscathed on the man advantage but Minnesota did not seem to gain any energy after the big kill.  The Stars kept attacking and their effort would be rewarded as a long range shot from the point by Vernon Fiddler that was going wide of the net would deflect off the leaning body of Roussel and by Kuemper to make it 1-0 Dallas.  Minnesota had no pushback at all after Roussel's goal, and the Stars would apply pressure on the forecheck and this would draw another Wild penalty as Justin Fontaine sent a puck into the stands for a delay of game call.  Dallas' power play would add to the Stars' lead as a blocked Alex Goligoski shot by Torrey Mitchell who was hobbled by the block, the puck stayed in the zone where Goligoski fed Erik Cole and he'd snipe a shot by a well-screened Kuemper to make it 2-0.  Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo called a timeout to chew out his team and I can't say it worked.  Minnesota still looked timid and uninspired and the Wild would take another penalty late as Niederreiter would spend two minutes in the box for interference.  The Wild would thankfully escape the period without any further damage, but it was a paltry 1st period effort against a team that had played the night before.  There is no excuse the Wild should've been outshot 12-3.  

2nd Period Thoughts:  The Wild started the 2nd period on the penalty kill as they had nearly 1:30 of power play time to kill on Niederreiter's penalty.  Minnesota looked a lot sharper on the kill as they were able to clear the zone and even showed a little anticipation as they stole a puck in the neutral zone that led to a shorthanded shot from the blueline by Nate Prosser that drew a save from Kari Lehtonen.  The Wild were showing more initiative as Jason Zucker as worked a nice little play with Charlie Coyle that was denied by Lehtonen.  The Stars would counter attack as Ray Whitney was set up perfectly by Rich Peverly only to be stoned by Kuemper.  Minnesota would answer back with a great chance of their own as Matt Cooke set up Justin Fontaine by Lehtonen managed to make a big leg pad save.  The Wild would earn its first power play of the game on the play as Antonie Roussel took Kyle Brodziak aggressively into the end boards where he'd earn a roughing penalty.  Yet on the power play it was a complete buzzkill for Minnesota.  Poor passing, lack of focus led to a power play that had great difficulty even entering the offensive zone to say nothing of registering any shots on goal.  The Stars seemed to gain momentum from Minnesota's poor execution and they would draw another Wild penalty as Justin Fontaine got his stick into the face off Seguin.  The Wild penalty killers did their best to deny the Stars from having the middle of the ice, using good active sticks to help clear the zone and prevent the back door plays.  Minnesota nearly escaped, but in the closing seconds of the power play Ray Whitney would manage to sneak a shot through Kuemper to make it 3-0.  The penalties kept coming for the Wild as Mikael Granlund would take a lazy high sticking penalty as he got his stick into the grill of Sergei Gonchar.  Minnesota's penalty kill would try to get some offense going of its own as Kyle Brodziak blocked a shot and raced in on a shorthanded chance but he didn't have the wheels to turn it into a breakaway and instead fired a heavy wrist shot that was steered aside by Lehtonen.  The Wild got another big kill but the penalty woes conotinued.  This time from the bench as their heckling of the officials would be noticed by NHL referree Gord Dwyer who had enough of it and Minnesota found itself on the penalty kill again.  Wild alternate captain Ryan Suter tried to talk to Dwyer who clearly was a little upset and Minnesota wasn't going to find any relief.  Kuemper would make some more great saves in the closing seconds of the period, but Minnesota still trailed 3-0 going into the 3rd.  A tiny bit better than the 1st period; but still too many guys standing and reaching instead of skating and hustling.  After an extra day off, that kind of (lack of) effort is inexcuseable.  

3rd Period Thoughts:  The Wild were still not winning the races for the loose pucks as they appeared tired and just sort of going through the motions.  Dallas was still taking its chances to rip shots on goal to keep Minnesota defending instead of mounting some kind of feeble attack.  Maybe feeble isn't the right adjective to describe it, degenerative sounds more appropriate.  The Wild would have another power play as Jamie Benn was tagged with a roughing minor.  On the power play Minnesota would create a few decent scoring chances on some strong play by Charlie Coyle to use his big frame to protect the puck and work it back to the point for a shot by Jonas Brodin and then moments after that it was Keith Ballard ringing a shot off the post and out.  As Minnesota's power play couldn't bury the goal the puck would leave the zone where Darcy Kuemper tried to race out to the boards for the puck but he'd lose the race to Jordie Benn who tried to stuff it into the open net but his attempt was thwarted by Kuemper tossing his paddle to disrupt the shot and that would be whistled for unsportsmanlike play and Dallas would have a penalty shot.  Jordie Benn was the unlikely shooter but he'd make the most of it as he moved in patiently and getting Kuemper to guess and drop early before beating him with a slick backhand goal, 4-0 Dallas.  Ouch.  The frustration would boil over with some more Wild penalties in the closing minutes of the period, personified the Wild's lack of focus and discipline in this game as theyw were shutout 4-zip.  Pathetic.  

Darcy Kuemper cannot be blamed for the outcome as he made 32 saves in the loss with questionable help in front of him for most of the game.  Defensively the Wild were giving up a number of prime chances to the Stars.  On the penalty kill, the Wild were far too passive as they gave the Stars' power play far too much time and space.  Most of the defensive issues were caused by the Wild's lack of hustle and not moving their feet.  There was a lot of standing and reaching out there and the fact the Wild committed 7 lazy penalties tonight.  

I am not going to bother to talk about the Wild's offensive problems.  The team simply never showed up.  They had an extra day off and they looked like the exhausted club out there and not Dallas who had played the night before in Nashville.  There is no excuse for that.  None at all.  The team should've been rested well enough to at least battle for the two points tonight.  There needs to be some serious soul searching after this debacle of an effort.  KFAN's Brandon Mileski quipped on Twitter, "Perhaps the Dallas GM should hold a closed door meeting with the Wild after this game" in reference to the effect the meeting seemed to have on the Stars tonight.  All kidding aside, how in the heck can you be that woefully unprepared to play?  

The Wild's challenge won't get any easier on Thursday when Chicago comes to town.  You can bet the Blackhawks won't allow themselves to come to St. Paul as uninspired as the Wild did in Dallas tonight.  Sounds like it might be time for a bag skate if they don't want to work hard during the games.  

Wild Notes:

~ The Wild roster was as follows: Jason Pominville, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Dany Heatley, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Kyle Brodziak, Matt Cooke, Justin Fontaine, Torrey Mitchell, Stephane Veilleux, Erik Haula, Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, Nate Prosser, Keith Ballard and Clayton Stoner.  Johan Gustafsson backed up Darcy Kuemper.  Mike Rupp was the lone healthy scratch tonight.

~ The 3 Stars of the Game as selected by Mike Heika were: 1st Star Alex Goligoski, 2nd Star Jordie Benn, 3rd Star Kari Lehtonen

~ Attendance was 11,191 at American Airlines Arena.

Iowa Wild Report:

Recent Score: Iowa 1, Lake Erie 0

It was a tale of opposites in the Wild's 2-game weekend series with the Lake Erie Monsters.  On Friday night, the Wild crushed the Monsters 6-1.  On Saturday night, goals were in very short supply but the ultimate result was the same.  Lake Erie played the game with the kind of fire one would expect from a club that had been embarassed the night before.  The Monsters peppered John Curry with shots on goal.  Lake Erie kept up its siege but Curry kept shutting them down.  The stalemate was finally broken early in the 3rd period on the power play when Warren Peters bang home a rebound off a point shot by John Landry to make it 1-0 Wild.  Lake Erie did all they could to score the game-tying goal but Curry stonewalled the Monsters to earn a huge shutout win for the Wild.  Curry had 45 saves in the shutout.  Iowa's next game will be on Wednesday against Texas.  

Wild Prospect Report:

LW – Mario Lucia (Notre Dame, H-East) ~ The Fighting Irish finished the weekend with another win as they swept former CCHA foe Lake Superior State in a 4-2 win on Saturday night.  Lucia had a goal to finish what was an impressive weekend for the former Wayzata star.  He is 2nd on the team in points (20) and tied for first in goals with (12) in 23 games played this season.  

D – Dylan Labbe (Shawinigan, QMJHL) ~ The St. Benjamin, Quebec-native keeps finding his way onto the scoresheet as he chipped in an assist in the Cataractes 5-2 loss to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.  Labbe also dished out two hits in the victory.  The 6'2" defenseman has 5 goals and 20 points and 16 PIM's in 43 games played this season.  

D – Mathew Dumba (Portland, WHL) ~ It was an eventful evening for the Wild's blue chip prospect defenseman on Sunday.  The Winterhawks rolled to a 5-0 victory, and Dumba chipped in two assists as well as dropping the gloves late in the 2nd period and finished the game a +2.  Dumba has a goal and 4 assists and is a +6 with 11 PIM's in just 3 games played this season.  

Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette

About Derek Felska

I am a lifelong hockey fan from Minnesota who loves and appreciates the game at all levels. I have been blogging about the Minnesota Wild since 2005. I cover just about every aspect of the organization from the team itself, its coaches, its management, its broadcast as well as its AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild and the club's pool of prospects. In addition to the NHL I occasionally time time to cover college and high school hockey as well. We are the State of Hockey and I want to make this blog informative and objective from the eyes of a fan. I am a fan of the Minnesota Wild, but I am no homer. I hope what you read reflects this approach!

Wild finishes season with playoff dagger to Dallas in emotional 5-3 win at home

Wild vs. Stars

As I was watching the NCAA Men’s Final between the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Michigan it sort of dawned on me about halfway through the 3rd period, this game was going to be the last game played in the Xcel Energy Center until next fall’s pre-season match ups.  No more high school hockey, no more college hockey, and now after today no more NHL hockey in this state.  Obviously there are the playoffs to watch but it isn’t quite the same.  It has been a long 2010-11 season, with plenty of ups and downs; and while the bad taste from the conclusion of this season will likely linger into the summer there have been some good signs.  I will probably write about that later this week.  However, a game played earlier today between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings turned this game between Dallas and the Wild from a ‘who cares’ rubber match to a game with some pretty serious implications.  The Blackhawks lost 4-3 and that means their playoff chances hang on the outcome of today’s game.  If Dallas wins this game in regulation or in overtime it goes to the playoffs, if the Wild win or force a shootout no matter the outcome the Blackhawks go to the playoffs.  For the 2nd year in a row the playoffs hang on the last game of the regular season, unfortunately its not the Wild playing for its chance at the post-season.  Last year, if you remember it came down to a shootout between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Flyers prevailed and came within two games of winning a Stanley Cup in the process.  It is literally the last regular season game in the NHL, can it be staged any better than this?  The Wild just got a huge new array of fans as Chicagoans are now rooting heavily for Minnesota to pull off the improbable upset. 

The Wild have a great opportunity to change the face off the playoffs, but do they really want to?  The Wild at this point are looking forward to rest and relaxation as well as the NHL Entry Draft which will be here in late June.  Being bad will give the team its best chance at landing a quality player in the first round.  So do the Wild roll over take the loss to help their chances in the draft or do they relish the role of spoiler and do whatever they can to deny the Dallas Stars of its prize? 

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1st Period Thoughts:  You could tell the Wild realized the implications of this game right away as they started the period with some great jump in their skates.  Minnesota’s energy resulted in 3 quality scoring chances in the first 3 minutes of the game.  The first scoring chance was a quick little chance for Mikko Koivu who fired a shot that was turned away by Kari Lehtonen.  The next chance came off a turnover in the neutral zone that resulted in a 3-on-2 for the Wild and a pretty passing play by Cal Clutterbuck who feinted at a shot and dropped it back to Matt Cullen who had Lehtonen guessing big time but he couldn’t get off a quick shot and his backhand bid would slide into the sprawling goalie.  Moments after that it was Pierre-Marc Bouchard making a nice little move where he took a wrister short side that was stopped by the shoulder of Lehtonen.  Minnesota was outworking Dallas who seemed to be a bit surprised at how determined the Wild’s effort was proving to be.  The Wild were persistent and they would strike first on some great work moving the puck along the perimeter before setting up a blast from the point by Brent Burns that was stopped by Lehtonen but he’d give up a rebound that was collected by Brad Staubitz who backhanded a shot into the goal to give Minnesota a lead and no doubt sending Chicago into a mini-pandemonium.  The Stars were suddenly feeling the urgency of their game and they started to go on the attack.  As their level of hustle increased the Wild started to find themselves winding up in the penalty box as Drew Bagnall was called for hooking.  Minnesota’s penalty killers were caught chasing the Stars’ power play a bit and the Wild would get lucky as Stephane Robidas would wire a shot from the point that beat Theodore that struck the right post and the puck just sat in the crease until it was swept out of harm’s way by an alert Jared Spurgeon.  The Wild seemed to be in rope-a-dope mode and Minnesota would give up the tying goal about midway through the period as an attempted shot from the point by Maxim Noreau was blocked by Brad Richards who set up a shorthanded rush that was executed perfectly before setting up Richards for a one-timer that Theodore had no chance on.  The Stars could sense the momentum shift and they continued to pour it on and there pressure would draw another Wild penalty as Greg Zanon was tagged with a high sticking call.  Dallas made quick work of the power play and a heavy snap shot by Loui Eriksson was tipped by Brendan Morrow and eluded Theodore to give the Stars a 2-1 lead and sending Chicago Blackhawks fans into a state of depression.  The Wild tried to strike back, and in the closing minute nearly tied the game on a hard shot by Cullen which created a rebound that had Lehtonen attempting a snow man and the puck was picked up by Bouchard who slid a backhander that skittered harmlessly through the crease and Minnesota would trail by one going into the 2nd.  I like the initial hustle but after Dallas scored the Wild started to play hesitantly. 

2nd Period Thoughts:  Minnesota really carried the play throughout the 2nd period, as they were hustling well early.  The Wild’s hard work would pay off with a plethora of scoring chances as they were winning the races to the loose pucks, as well as the battles along the wall.  The hard work would be rewarded with a power play as Brandon Segal tripped up Chuck Kobasew as he was racing into the Dallas’ zone.  Minnesota would capitalize on the man advantage after struggling through the first minute of the power play, the Wild worked it down low to Andrew Brunette who fed to just below the right faceoff dot where Jared Spurgeon fired a shot by Lehtonen to tie the game at 2-2.  The goal really got the home crowd into it and you could sense the players were feeding off the momentum as well.  Minnesota was taking every opportunity to press the attack as Kyle Brodziak carried the puck in the zone where he tried to spin and take a shot but didn’t get much of it and the puck reached Colton Gillies who spun and let go a backhander that eluded Lehtonen to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead and probably sending Chicago into a state of anarchy (briefly).  You could feel the anxiety growing in the crowd and a sense of deflation in Dallas, and Minnesota kept pouring it on and it was Colton Gillies charging towards the goal and he had Jeff Woywitka with him and the Dallas blueliner knocked into Lehtonen.  As that was going on, Adam Burish skated over to Greg Zanon standing near the Wild bench at the blueline was slashed viciously, but apparently this was not seen and Chicago would go on the power play.  Dallas would waste little time on the power play as Alex Goligoski took a draw from Richards and he unleashed a wicked slapper that beat Theodore cleanly to tie the game 3-3 going into the 3rd.  This game is really becoming a barn burner, reminiscent of the NCAA game on Saturday night. 

3rd Period Thoughts:  The 3rd period sort of was reminiscent of the 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ game in a way as the Wild just would not be denied.  Minnesota looked hungry to start the 3rd period, you could just see it in the way the Wild were skating.  It was Dallas hoping to get lucky and take advantage of a turnover, to be a counterpuncher while the Wild were attacking.  This counter punching style nearly worked as Steve Ott choked on an opportunity near the Wild crease where he pushed a shot wide on what seemed to be a certain goal.  The Wild’s hustle though was causing Dallas problems and Colton Gillies would draw a tripping penalty when his work behind the Stars’ goal had him be hauled down by Stephane Robidas.  On the power play the Wild really struggled to get much of anything going as Dallas was challenging the entry into the zone very well causing the Wild to go offsides or quickly turn the puck over.  Just after the penalty expired the Wild kept working and Brunette turned and threaded a pretty pass from the wall that was slammed home by Antti Miettinen to give Minnesota a 4-3 lead and send most of Chicago into heart palpitations.  With Miettinen playing the role of Mike Eruzione, the Wild now had to defend their lead.  With Wild Head Coach Todd Richards doing his best Herb Brooks impression reminding his team “to play their game” as the Wild simply hoped to hold on.  Jose Theodore meanwhile was relishing the role of Jim Craig, making a great save on a breakaway by Loui Eriksson.  The effort was obvious, Wild players diving to block shots, diving to cover pucks and in the case of Chuck Kobasew losing his stick and making two huge plays with his skate to clear the zone.  Minnesota was doing all the right things, keeping their shifts short and dumping the puck deep into Dallas’ zone and forcing them to come up the full length of the ice.  The Stars would pull Lehtonen with nearly a minute and a half left, and they poured it on by the Wild kept working and battling along the boards and near the crease and their effort was rewarded by Pierre-Marc Bouchard driving the final nail into the Stars’ season coffin with a hard slapper into an empty net to seal a 5-3 stunner!

Jose Theodore was tremendous, making 26 saves in the victory.  Theodore made a number of saves with a lot of traffic near his crease and the goals he gave up were the kind any goaltender probably would’ve given up.  He was very solid down the stretch.  Defensively the Wild had a great game.  Jared Spurgeon, Greg Zanon, Brent Burns and Clayton Stoner had big games tonight.  Moving the puck well, being strong along the wall and clearing the zone and the crease area when need be.  Spurgeon especially really seemed to come into his own the last few games, showing some offensive spark as well and his comfort level was very apparent. 

Offensively the Wild got contributions from players you certainly wouldn’t expect to be heroes in a game like this.  Brad Staubitz really had a great finish to this season, providing a surprising amount of offense including a goal tonight.  Colton Gillies had a great game on the forecheck and in the offensive zone where he used his body effectively to protect the puck and deliver hits.  You could really see the effort all game long and Minnesota was playing hard as if they were the team with everything to lose. 

Wild Head Coach Todd Richards was smiling as one would expect in the post-season, but with a definite hint of regret as he said, “It was a great game, lots of fun, but the game leaves us with a bitter taste and it would be nice to have had 15 or 20 more like that.”  He admitted knowing that Dallas’ playoff hopes were on the line got him and his team more motivated for the last game of the season.  The question now becomes, will this be Todd Richards’ last game.  Two seasons in a row without the playoff revenue that owners claim are what make owning an NHL team payoff may be too overwhelming to keep Richards around.  However, in the short term this victory sure feels sweet.   

Wild Notes:

~ The Wild roster for this early evening game was: Mikko Koivu, Antti Miettinen, Andrew Brunette, Eric Nystrom, Brad Staubitz, Carson McMillan, Chuck Kobasew, Kyle Brodziak, Matt Cullen, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Cal Clutterbuck, Drew Bagnall, Jared Spurgeon, Greg Zanon, Clayton Stoner, Maxim Noreau and Brent Burns.  Niklas Backstrom backed up Jose Theodore.  Cam Barker, Martin Havlat, Marek Zidlicky, Marco Scandella and Guillaume Latendresse were the ‘healthy’ scratches.  Nick Schultz (post-concussion syndrome), Josh Harding (knee) and James Sheppard (knee) are on injured reserve. 

~ The 3 Stars of the Game as selected by Let’s Play Hockey were: 1st Star Colton Gillies, 2nd Star Jared Spurgeon, 3rd Star Loui Eriksson

~ Attendance this evening was 18,504 at Xcel Energy Center.

~ The State of Hockey News wishes to congratulate the University of Minnesota-Duluth on winning its first NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey title in school history last night in a 3-2 overtime thriller at Xcel Energy Center last evening.  It was Hermantown, Minnesota’s Kyle Schmidt scoring 3:22 into overtime for the win; it is ironic that Schmidt was named the Derek Hines’ Unsung Hero Award just prior to the game.  Schmidt will not have to worry about being an unsung hero any longer!  One of the intriguing aspects of the win was that it starred many undrafted college players in Junior Travis Oleksuk who was causing havoc all over the Michigan zone as well as Rosemount, Minnesota’s J.T. Brown who had a motor all game long, and lastly the most dangerous offensive player on the ice in Mike Connolly and I thought senior Mike Montgomery looked very solid and mobile on defense.  Note to the Wild, you might want to talk to some of these guys about a contract. 

WHL Playoff Update:

Red Deer Rebels 0, Medicine Hat Tigers 5 ~  I must admit, I am completely shocked at the total dismantling of the Red Deer Rebels at the hands of Medicine Hat.  The Tigers have a dominating 2-0 series lead, after outscoring the Rebels 14 to 1 in those games.  For the second time in the series, the Rebels out shot the Tigers 33 to 21 but it didn’t matter.  You hate to point fingers, but perhaps the biggest disappointment has been the performance of Wild prospect goaltender Darcy Kuemper who was the top goalie during the regular season but has been shellacked so far; giving up 10 goals in two games on just 38 shots for a rancid .263% save percentage!  Ouch! 

Houston Aeros Update:

Like the Wild, the Houston Aeros finish their regular season today with a game against Oklahoma City.  The only difference is the Aeros season will continue after this game; as they are going to finish 2nd in the West Division regardless of today’s outcome.  Today’s game would start out innocently enough as Houston looked a little rusty after nearly having a week off.  Oklahoma City was carrying the play early on; as they were on their 3rd game in the last 3 nights.  The Barons would strike first late in the 1st period as Mark Arcobello scores.  Houston would answer back in a big way in the 2nd period as Chad Rau fired a shot underneath the crossbar on a nice pass by Robbie Earl.  Houston continue to apply pressure and the Barons would get into penalty trouble and the Aeros would make Oak City pay the price for their lack of discipline.  Houston would strike on the power play as Patrick O’Sullivan fires a missile from the point that beat Martin Gerber cleanly to make it 3-1 Aeros.  The Barons cut the lead back to one on a goal by a bullet shot by Phillippe Cornet.  Penalties would continue to haunt Oklahoma City as the Aeros would strike two more times on the power play on goals from Cody Almond and Warren Peters.  Peters and Jed Ortmeyer would strike twice more on the power play in the 3rd period before Colin McDonald scored late as Aeros win going away, 6-3.  Matthew Hackett had 30 saves in the victory.  Houston’s first playoff game is Wednesday. 

About Derek Felska

I am a lifelong hockey fan from Minnesota who loves and appreciates the game at all levels. I have been blogging about the Minnesota Wild since 2005. I cover just about every aspect of the organization from the team itself, its coaches, its management, its broadcast as well as its AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild and the club's pool of prospects. In addition to the NHL I occasionally time time to cover college and high school hockey as well. We are the State of Hockey and I want to make this blog informative and objective from the eyes of a fan. I am a fan of the Minnesota Wild, but I am no homer. I hope what you read reflects this approach!