With standing points at a premium for virtually every team in the American Hockey League, the Oklahoma City Barons were needing at least two more (with some help) to jump to the head of the every-spinning carousel of “playoff spots”. It seemed that they’d again get a dogfight from fellow point chaser, San Antonio, but eventually they’d seal the deal in a shootout. Recording their third shootout victory of the month of March. Games are getting close down the stretch, and the Barons are slowly starting to win them. That’s a good sign.
A scoreless first period began with a furious first shift from Josh Green, Chris VandeVelde, and Dane Byers. It was tough, punishing, and stout – everything the Barons seemingly want to do against the Rampage early. But at the tail end of their shift, San Antonio gave it right back. The teams would go back and forth, back and forth for much of the quickened first twenty minutes. The Barons would give away only two first period power play chances, and they’d kill them both. But it was the power play that struggled early. Two opportunities at a man advantage, and another with a full two things proved to be undone by the pesky Rampage, and their strong goaltender, Dov Grumet-Morris. And both teams would complete the opening twenty without a goal.
With the absence of Brett Clark (who officially signed with the Minnesota Wild), and the Barons continuing to own the worst penalty kill unit in the AHL, they’d need to stay out of the box. This didn’t happen. And more importantly, San Antonio was able to capture two straight power play goals albeit at opposite ends of the period spectrum. Tyrvainen, Plante, Cheechoo, and Hotham all led the charge in the penalty department. It was Jed Ortmeyer and Jared Gomes scoring for the Rampage. With a two goal lead, and the Barons slightly playing on their heels, the Rampage seemed in full control. But a late period Taylor Fedun goal would place the Barons closer to equaling the Rampage. Period two would close with a 2-1 San Antonio lead.
In the third period, a line change that put Mark Arcobello with Toni Rajala earned the young Finn another solid goal, his ninth of the year. As the two worked the puck up the ice together, it was a thing of beauty, and put a smile on the face of Barons fans as the team would tie the game up in the early moments of the final frame, 2-2. Each team had highly successful opportunities in the third period, but Olivier Roy and Dov Grumet-Morris were fantastic. The game would end in a tie. To overtime we go.
A pretty impressive overtime for the Barons would end the extra time in yet another tie. To the shootout we’d go.
Here are your results:
Oklahoma City Shootout
Josh Green Goal
Mark Arcobello Goal
Jonathan Cheechoo No Goal
Toni Rajala Goal
San Antonio Shootout
Zach Hamill No Goal
Evan Barlow Goal
Greg Rallo No Goal
Eric Selleck No Goal
Captain Josh Green continues to be impeccable in the shootout. The Barons have gone two for three in the SO this month, and we’re only halfway through March. A 3-2 win by the Barons puts them back into a playoff spot. For how long, is yet to be determined.