Per usual, Andrew brings us this weeks run-down on how the Aeros are fairing.
The Aeros (29-21-4-3) played just two games last week, splitting a pair of matches in Abbotsford, B.C. against the top affiliate of the Calgary Flames.
For 100 minutes, the Aeros were the better team, but they only got two points out of the weekend because of penalty trouble. Leading 2-1 on Friday, the Aeros watched Ben Walter score two power play goals in the first four minutes of the period. The Aeros never tied it up, and Matt Hackett took the loss. Steve Kampfer, who has completely turned his season around and Dave McIntyre both finished on the plus side for the game. Perhaps the biggest and best news to come out of the match was the return of puck-moving defenseman Brian Connelly. He hurt his shoulder on Jan. 5 against San Antonio. Connelly was back doing what he does best, dishing out two helpers over the weekend.
On Saturday, there would be no meltdown against the Heat. Johan Larsson, who you’ll read more about down the page, notched his first four-point game (2g,2a) and looked really good on the power play with Zack Phillips.Phillips, Chad Rau and Justin Fontaine also scored for the Aeros, who scored more than four goals for the first time since Feb. 8 against Milwaukee (Nashville). Hackett stopped 24 shots to get the win, and former Wild prospect Barry Brust did not play well. He’s struggled quite a bit since the Flames picked Danny Taylor over Brust to back up Leland Irving with Mikka Kiprusoff got hurt.
But I digress …
The Aeros looked good last weekend, even without their key players. They’ll travel to Charlotte (Carolina) this weekend for two games on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The Aeros caught a break with the schedule here, because the Hurricanes had to recall Charlotte No. 1 goalie Justin Peters when Cam Ward got hurt over the weekend. The Checkers can score, so I’d expect a high scoring games in at least one of the matches.
And now for more on last week’s player of the week, Johan Larsson!
Em's Houston Aero of the Week- The honor this week goes unquestionably to Johan Larsson. Larsson has been on fire since he returned from a short stint with the Wild. In the Aeros last game, Larsson had 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) including the GWG to lead the Aeros past the Abbottsford Heat Sunday 5-1. For people who have a hard time with math, that means that Larsson scored points on all but one of those goals. Larsson also had an assist in the Aeros loss to the Heat on Saturday.
Currently, Larsson is sitting in 12th place for rookie points, but 4 of the players ahead of him are currently playing in the NHL. Larsson is tied for 2nd on the Aeros roster in goals scored at 15 (Zucker is 1st with 19) and is third on the team in total points at 32. He’s had 4 GWG this season, and has a 20% shooting percent, which leads the Aeros current roster and is tied with Coyle and Granlund for first on the Aeros overall roster.
The best part of Larsson’s performance is that he is doing exactly want a great player does after being sent back down to the farm team. He picked up some ways to improve his game, and then translated those ideas to his game playing for the Aeros. When the Wild need to call up another player to fill a role in a forward position, Larsson will have the best shot based on his continued excellent play.