After being pushed to the brink of elimination, the Oklahoma City Barons played a highly motivated game that was as dominate as it was incredibly impressive. They’d score six straight goals across two straight periods before Charlotte even hinted at a whisper of life, and eventually OKC would win 8-1. That’s right, 8-1 on away ice. In the playoffs. With their backs against the wall.
Tyler Pitlick was the only multi-goal scorer for the Barons, which is impressive on its own. Secondary scoring has been non-existent with this team for much of the season, but it clicked on Friday night, and it was a welcome sight. Teemu Hartikainen, Josh Green, Philippe Cornet, Anton Lander, Martin Marincin, and Chris VandeVelde all pitched in on a wow evening. I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t see this coming, but I’m sure glad it did.
The games up to this point were won/lost by Rob Madore, a goaltender for Charlotte that we all assumed would struggle greatly. He hadn’t, the Checkers played solid, and it appeared that after game two, Charlotte might be the better team. Truthfully, they were every bit the better team except for one important spot – goaltending. Madore simply ran out of gas on Friday, John Muse came in, and even he couldn’t muster the strength to hang tight, giving up four goals of his own.
The power play was fantabulous for OKC. Three for five is a number that most coaches find titillating. The goal scorers on the power play were Pitlick, Green, and Marincin a group that just doesn’t score a whole bunch with a man advantage. Likewise, the penalty kill didn’t allow a goal in four chances as the Barons locked down forwards in a special way.
In all it was a beautiful evening of winning for the Barons. Beating the Charlotte Checkers, at home, with no games to lose is very impressive. The question is this…can they keep it up?
Have we seen the weakness in net of Charlotte, and is Madore in trouble? I’m not sure. Consistency has been a problem for both teams for much of the season. OKC is equally as capable of losing by four goals as they are winning by the same margin. However, the momentum seems to have switched completely in favor of the Barons. And that’s good.
Game five is tomorrow evening at 6:00pm, and it’s another do or die moment for the team. If they were to win, chances are they’d play the Texas Stars in the second round. Go Barons!