The Houston Aeros lost a heartbreaking game on Thursday night, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Lake Erie Monsters. Heartbreaking simply because the Monsters scored the game winning goal with just over one minute remaining in the third period. A difficult way to lose on any night.
This was the first of a two game mini-series for the Aeros and Monsters and with the Charlotte Checkers also winning on this night, the loss further slides Houston down the conference standings to sixth place. More importantly they now trail the Checkers for the division lead by five points, despite having two games in hand.
The teams traded goals in the opening frame and it was the captain, Drew Bagnall potting his first of the season for Houston. Matt Hackett had a light period in goal, only facing three shots and unfortunately still gave up that lone Monsters goal.
Just seventeen seconds into the game things got ugly quickly when Mitchell Heard of the Monsters was given a major penalty for boarding that prompted Nick Palmeiri to answer the bell and defend his teammate for the dirty hit. The bad blood carried over throughout the rest of the game as two more fights would ensue and multiple penalties were called all night long.
Lake Erie took control of the game in the second period, building up a 3-1 lead after forty minutes before Houston settled down and came roaring back in the third to tie the game.
Jarod Palmer and Joel Broda scored for the Aeros and just when the game appeared to be heading to overtime, Andrew Agozzino netted the winner with 1:04 remaining.
You could argue that the Aeros lost their cool right from the start of the game, a trend that followed suit throughout the rest of the contest. Houston was penalized six times and Lake Erie cashed in on two of those powerplays. We’ve seen Houston get in penalty trouble early on in the season and it’s a flaw they need to stay away from.
These two teams will take Friday night off before getting back at it on Saturday night, the last game for Houston before the Christmas break.