The digitized ink has dried on the scoresheet between the Oklahoma City Barons and the Texas Stars, and if you’re like me, you notice some interesting things. Yes, it was an entertaining game between two very promising teams. Yes, it was what we expected for the most part. Yes, it’s going to be a long series. But take a good hard look at that scoresheet, and tell me it isn’t interesting.
The Stars took 35 shots compared to 26 by the Barons. That’s not a huge differential gap, but dig deeper, and you’ll discover that the Barons failed to shoot the puck in double digits in a single period until the final twenty minutes of the game. You’ll also notice that the Stars delivered on fifteen shots in their second period alone.
Texas only took one penalty for the entire game, a two minute hooking call at the 12:01 mark of the first period. That’s it. They remained penalty free for the rest of the game. OKC didn’t take that many penalties either, but six was enough to give the Stars three separate chances on the power play – and remember, the Stars are second only to the Barons in PP success for the regular season.
Speaking of power plays, the Stars had three chances to the Barons one. No one scored, no one gave anything up.
Teemu Hartikainen, Martin Maricin, Josh Green, and Jonathan Cheechoo each only recorded two shots the entire game. So did Matt Fraser, Alex Chiasson, Luke Gazdic, and Francis Wathier.
As we all know (and this guy wrote about), this was a series that would be built on small battles that led to an eventual victory in the war. Game one, on Thursday evening was exactly what we expected, but maybe the outcome was a bit surprising.
On paper, the Barons lost this game. Then again, the closeness of the game for a full sixth minutes was in part due to some stops and starts care of both sides of the fence.
The game started with some heavy momentum from Texas, where Danis needed to be ready to face the eleven shots that the Stars laid down in front. An early shift by Reilly Smith almost sunk the Barons early, but Danis was there. Likewise, a thick shot by Jamie Oleksiak was denied (just barely). It took fifteen minutes for someone to score, and ironically enough, it came from the Barons’ Mark Arcobello with five minutes remaining in the period. The 1-0 lead would carry over into the second period.
The Barons would kill their second penalty of the game, and seem pretty content to own the momentum. Then the Stars awoke to the realization they were behind, and played the back ten minutes of the second period vastly different to the first ten. As the Barons did the period prior, Texas would score with around five minutes left in a period as Francis Wathier caught Taylor Fedun and Martin Marincin watching the puck move around the ice, rather than containing the forward group. The second period would end with a 1-1 tie hockey game.
The third period was a typical third period of playoff hockey. Both teams making plays, getting pucks on the net, and goaltenders being careful (enter other cliche here), and the final moments of the third period were highly energized hockey. However, the period would end with a 1-1 tie, and the AHL would have their 11th overtime game of the young playoffs.
It ended quickly when the shifty Anton Lander buried a goal after some solid work by his line mates, Teemu Hartikainen and Toni Rajala. Ninety seconds of grest hockey was all it took, and the Oklahoma City Barons would steal away game one from the Texas Stars in Cedar Park. Game two, again in Texas, is Saturday evening. Eat your veggies.