Aeros Make Deadline Trades to Gear Up for Playoffs

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The Athens Aeros continued their 2014-2015 Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League season with seven games in the month of December and eleven games in January. The Aeros entered December in last place in the Rideau Division, two points behind the fourth-place Gananoque Islanders. After a tough loss to the Tikis at the end of November, December didn’t start off any better for the Aeros, as they began with a 5-1 road loss against the Islanders. The loss was the Aeros second in a row and left the Aeros with just two wins in their last twelve games.

Looking to start a streak in the opposite direction the Aeros returned home the following night to host the Winchester Hawks. Goaltender Alex Daley finished with 30 saves to lead the Aeros to a 4-1 win.

The Aeros enjoyed a week off after their win over the Hawks, before continuing their season with a home game against the Morrisburg Lions. Josh Maley scored with just over two minutes remaining in the third period to break a 3-3 tie to give the Aeros a 4-3 win, the Aeros second straight.

The Aeros took their two game winning streak on the road to face the first-place Prescott Flyers. A tough second period resulting in all three Flyers goals and some undisciplined play sent the Aeros back into the loss column dropping a tough 3-0 decision.

The Aeros would alternate wins and losses over the next four games beating the Westport Rideaus 6-2 and the Gananoque Islanders 3-0 while dropping a 4-2 decision to the Brockville Tikis and a 6-5 overtime decision to the Westport Rideaus to begin January.

January 10 meant trade deadline day and the Aeros were very busy making final touches to the roster for the playoff push. The biggest of the trades was acquiring Karson McCartney, a player affiliated to the Junior “A” Smiths Falls Bears. “We made a couple of key moves leading up to the trade deadline including getting Jack Chudleigh, Owen Grant, Joel Ferland and Harrison Jacobs all of whom have performed above our expectations. But acquiring Karson McCartney at the very last minute of the trade deadline was huge for sure. What a player of Karson’s magnitude brings to our club is not only leadership on the ice but a calmness in the dressing room that can only come from the experience of having played on a top team that went to the finals. He is a role model and although we definitely respect his on ice skill it’s the overall package that we always look at when bringing in deadline players,” said team General Manager Norm Racine.

While Racine was busy touching up the roster, the players were getting ready to host the Alexandria Glens that afternoon. Chudleigh, Grant and Jacobs made it to the game but it wasn’t enough as the Aeros dropped a tough 2-1 decision to the Glens. The loss was the Aeros second in a row. The Aeros would go on to lose three more in a row, 6-5 to the Char-Lan Rebels, 3-1 to the Casselman Vikings and 4-3 in overtime to the Prescott Flyers.

The rest of the month went well for the Aeros who finished with four wins in their final six games, beating Brockville, Winchester, Prescott and Gananoque while losing to Akwesasne and Prescott.

The Aeros finished their two-month stretch with eight wins, seven losses, two overtime losses and a shootout loss. Despite playing .500 hockey Racine is still pleased with their record considering the circumstances. “I’m quite happy to have played .500 hockey during that time frame. How many clubs can lose their #1 goaltender then get him back only to lose their top scorer for a month? These adversities we faced made us a better club. Players like Emerson Moulton and Parker Grant to name a few had to raise their game. The last 2 months were a total team effort to stay in the playoff race,” he said.

The Aeros will wrapup their 2014-2015 season with five more games. Their next game is on Wednesday (Feb 4) in Brockville against the Tikis. Their next home game is Saturday (Feb 7) against the Gananoque Islanders, puck drop is at 8:15.

Rideau Division Standings (as of Feb 2)

Team                            Games Played          Wins          Points
Prescott Flyers                        41                   30              64
Brockville Tikis                        40                   18              40
Athens Aeros                        39                   16              37
Gananoque Islanders               40                   16              34
Westport Rideaus                     40                   16              33

Top 5 Scorers
(as of Feb 2)

Player                    Games Played       Goals       Assists       Points
Drew Powell                    35                14            25             39
Emerson Moulton             39                19            16             35
Nathan Foster                  30                15            19             34
J.P. Augustine                  39                16            17             33
Parker Grant                    29                 6             17             23

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