Oklahoma City Loves Them Some 2nd Period, Beat Charlotte 7-2

It’s an eye opening experience when you win against a really good team. Regardless of the sport, the ranking, the squad – a good win against a quality opponent means something. For our beloved Barons it means that the team has found a stride, albeit one that took some gentle coddling, warm hugging, and sleepless nights to attain, but it has been found. And the time for a momentum swing couldn’t have come at a better time. Pre-Christmas, pre-NHL lockout return (possibly), and with the Barons chasing that first place title, the team from Oklahoma City has found a new gear.

This afternoon, the Oklahoma City Barons dismantled the Charlotte Checkers 7-2 on away ice.

The boxscore reads like a who’s who of future scoring legends, but not necessarily of the American League variety.

Anton Lander, scoring his first goal of the season, kicked off the offensive outburst at 4:12 of the first. Assisted by Teemu Hartikainen and Magnus Paajarvi, it was a joyous moment for Lander who’d gone pointless for 14 straight games despite two really solid wingers on his left and right. Tim Wallace would tip in a shot to put the Checkers back into the thick of it near the halfway mark of the first frame. With Alex Plante committing a terrible interference call right in front of the Checkers net, the Barons would have to kill a penalty as time dropped below 10 minutes left. Chris VandeVelde decided to take matters into his own hands, and net a short hander. This would ignite a bit of a scoring run for the Barons because 4 minutes later Jordan Eberle would score his 10th of the season, and the third of the night for OKC. The period would end with the Barons on top with a score of 3-1. The 2nd period would be unkind to those in the Charlotte zip code.

The lone highlight for the Checkers in the 2nd period came courtesy of a power play goal, something they couldn’t accomplish against the Barons the night before. Zack Boychuk gets the tally, assisted by Zac Dalpe and Justin Faulk. From that point forward OKC flexed its muscle. Dane Byers, Justin Schultz, Jordan Eberle, and finally Teemu Hartikainen scored for Oklahoma City which put the Checkers, and their starting goaltender Dan Ellis, in white flag mode. The Barons only suffered one penalty the entire third period, and they looked red hot, dominate even.

The Barons would win 7-2, and beat the #1 team in the Western Conference on back-to-back nights. That’s a thing to behold. Charlotte is a very good team from the net out, but the Barons simply made them look silly.

Paul Branecky, whom works within the digital fortress in Charlotte, had these lovely quotes via his twitter from some highly respectable Checkers players:

Random Thoughts

The team looked really good tonight. That may be the understatement of the year so far. But what we did see is the secondary scoring we (I mean me) all thought would be important in key divisional games. Lander, CVV, Byers all getting the job done. This amplifies things for Oklahoma City in terms of whom and where the shots and scoring will come from. A team that can hit you in the mouth while also in the shins is a deadly one.

Justin Schultz is on pace to have 122 total points this season. Let that marinate. The liklihood of that happening are slim, but his dominance is apparent and abundant. Don’t discount a 90+ season is he stays healthy and the NHL stays locked out.

Yann, I mean c’mon. The guy has been good. Many thought it worth considering to place Olivier Roy in net to give him some road testing. However, in the key divisional matchup, and chasing the team in front of you in the standings, Coach Nelson went with the consistent netminder. I like that. But I think we see Roy and Danis share time over the next two weekends.