In the first three games of the series, Oklahoma City won two games and Grand Rapids one. In those three games it was the Barons that outscored the hot hot offensive-minded Griffins nine goals to five. They owned the goaltending battle, the puck possession, the shot totals, etc., etc. In game four things were vastly different.
After a postponed Friday night game (moved to Sunday) due to weather and flooding, the Oklahoma City Barons were dumbfounded in the wake of Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson being re-assigned to the Griffins. The home team would lose 4-0, and the series would be tied 2-2.
Three periods, four goals, two on the power play, and some other-worldly play by Nyquist, Andersson, and goaltender Peter Mrazek were more than the Barons could take. The first goal of the evening, a dandy of a series by Andersson, resulted in a mid-period 1-0 lead by the Griffs. The Barons, increasingly tentative defensively, allowed two more in the middle period at even strength to look bland and lifeless after dominating Grand Rapids in the previous two games.
The end results was a 2/2 power play endeavor by the road team, and an 0/4 night for the home squad. This isn’t good, and becoming an increasingly bad omen for OKC.
Nyquist and Andersson had help in this one, mainly from goaltender Petr Mrazek, but they are NHL players through and through, and it was evident from the first shift to the last. They dominated the puck possession game, and the Barons “stop gap” line was unable to do anything to slow them down.
With a 2-2 series, and one game remaining in OKC, the heat is immediately on the Barons. After showing moments where they appeared to be unbeatable, suddenly all bets are off.
Oklahoma City Starting Lineup:
Philippe Cornet – Mark Arcobello – Jonathan Cheechoo
Toni Rajala – C.J. Stretch – Teemu Hartikainen
Josh Green – Chris VandeVelde – Tyler Pitlick
Ben Eager – Ryan Martindale – Antti Tyrvainen
Martin Marincin – Taylor Fedun
Brandon Davidson – Garrett Stafford
Randy Jones – Andrew Hotham
Scratches: Ringwald, McFaull, Plante, Ewanyk, Hamilton, Lander, Martindale, Musil, Leach, Pelss, Teubert, Hordichuk