Unintentionally, I felt as if I had jinxed the Oklahoma City Barons’ chances of winning a game against the Texas Stars on Friday night. After all I did write about Lionel Richie, and also mentioned The Commodores. In a twist of fate, Brett Ritchie and Mike Commodore would make their debuts in Cedar Park facing the OKC Barons, and even more creepy – they’d both score, and do so back to back.
Ritchie, of course, is becoming a prize pony in the Dallas Stars big green barns. Signed in 2011 to an ELC, but remaining with the OHL Niagra IceDogs until only a few short days ago, he instantly would make some noise in his first pro game.
On the other end of the spectrum is Mike Commodore, the guy who was drafted while I was still in high school. A career spanning many leagues, and nearly 500 NHL games, Commodore was signed recently to a PTO with the Stars, and the defenseman staked his claim on importance, by scoring his first goal since becoming a Star.
And so the Freaky Friday feeling I got when both scored early, and my eerie feelings of doomsday as I remembered my own Richie and Commodore, I’d be surprised how this one ended – with a 3-2 Barons victory.
For over 35 minutes in the game, the Texas Stars proved to be the dominate team. Back-to-back goals by Brett Ritchie and Mike Commodore gave the OKC bench (and fans tuning in) unncessary heart palpitations early on. Visibly shaken, somehow the team ressurected itself on the wings of the least likely of men – Curtis Hamilton. A guy who’s criticism is far and wide, he’s done some really nice things lately. On a line with the now healthy Krtistians Pelss and Ryan Martindale, Hamilton would score a pretty solid breakaway goal around Jack Campbell. It wasn’t a dazzling breakaway, but he fought hard, and skated fiercely to beat the defender to the puck. Not only did the Barons get back within a goal, but also gained a little bit of confidence along the way.
That goal, at the 15:22 mark of the second period would really change the way with which the Barons played. No longer gobsmacked, they snapped out of a potential fade, and were able to create some really good offense.
In the third period Mark Arcobello would return a centering pass to the “cresting on net” Philippe Cornet who bent on one knee and one-timed the puck past Jack Campbell, with time just expiring on a Mike Hedden hooking penalty. Keep in mind, that it took another fifteen minutes in a period for the Barons to score their second goal, but when Cornet did so, he put the Barons neck and neck with the Stars and that’s all that really mattered. As it appeared that the teams were destined for an overtime period, I was content knowing that OKC would notch at least a point in the standings. But Tanner House had other ideas. Chris VandeVelde would draw Stars defenders like a bug zapper, and somehow the puck would end up with House, who’d angle in a semi-slow-wrister that would eek past Campbell.
The Oklahoma City Barons defeated the Texas Stars, earned two important points, but more importantly learned a valuable lesson called “tenacity”.
Two this weekend against Chicago – tomorrow and Sunday. BIG GAMES!