The first period was another where the Oklahoma City Barons would out shoot their opponents, but end the 20 minutes down by two goals. Kristians Pelss had at least two really strong moments in front of the net, and Jonathan Cheechoo proved his step was still fresh and his stick still active. But it was the Griffins that would make the most of their opportunities. Tomas Jurco and Mitch Callahan each scored their sixth goals of the year to overtake the Barons on the scoreboard in the first frame. The opening goal came in the first five minutes, the second one in the last ten seconds. 2-0, Griffins after one.
The second period began with two early Barons goals. Mark Arcobello on the doorstep accepts a pass from Josh Green to net his 11th of the season in the first minute of the second 20 minutes. Two minutes later, Antti Tryvainen scores to even the game with an intense shot on net. With the two goal deficit erased, the Griffins would answer with a power play goal that came just seven seconds into the man advantage. Defenseman Adam Almquist took a long distance shot that was screened by two players, one a Baron. They’d take the lead momentarily. After a semi-lazy line change for the Griffins, Tanner House surged down the left wing and received a pass beautifully in stride. He’d wind up and net the third of the game for OKC. The game was again tied at 3 all. But quickly the Griffins did a give and go on the Barons defenders and snuck one behind Olivier Roy. Tomas Tatar made it 4-3 for the Griffins after two.
So the third period was to be another moment where the Barons crawl out of a goal deficit. Of all the people to push their way towards saving a game for his team, I’d not had picked Martin Marincin. Nonetheless, Marincin made a power play move down the right wing that makes minor league angels cry. After the Barons won the face off, he’d skillfully dance the puck down the right wing unmolested. His sneaky move would go in behind the rookie tender for the Griffins. The game was tied at 4-4. The final ten minutes of the period were strong for both teams, but each goaltender was willing to budge. The teams would head to a overtime.
Eight shots for Oklahoma City and three shots for Grand Rapids would end the overtime period still knotted at 4-4. The game was highly favoring Oklahoma City at that point, and to see it go down in a shootout was a bit off putting. Nonetheless, that’s where it would head.
Toni Rajala, Mark Arcobello, Jonathan Cheechoo and Martin Marincin all missed on their shootout opportunities. In that same four round stretch, the Griffins netted two goals. One from Chad Billins, the other a spectacular one from Gustav Nyquist. The Barons would lose 5-4 in a shootout, but really charged hard after falling down by two goals.
The line of Toni Rajala – Anton Lander – Kristians Pelss is steadily becoming my favorite. They are gruff and tough, and able to produce a scoring chance even more exhilarating than the line above them. And it’s young. So fun to watch, and very capable of unloading equal parts tenacity and offensive jockeying. Well done.
Likewise, Martin Marincin looked like Marin Marincin in November with Justin Schultz. He, at least for one game, gave us hope that he’d be a solid NHLer one day. Like.
Outside of the Arcobello goal to start the second period, the final three goals came from the second line on down. That hasn’t happened in ages; where secondary scoring outdoes the top line. Good sign.
Roy was good, but still not great. He seemed un-phased by the first two goals and really made some key stops to keep his team in the game. In the shootout, he was just terrible. As evidenced by the schooling he received from Gustav Nyquist. He’ll fix that, I have no doubt.