It just wasn’t the Oklahoma City Barons night…again. After an opening weekend where the Barons were out hustled by the Charlotte Checkers, they’d again struggle to keep pace with a feisty Iowa Wild team on Saturday night. Oklahoma City would officially start the season on a three game pointless streak.
Richard Bachman would be a bit wobbly in the first two games of the season, but not here, where he would stop 29 total shots with 13 of those coming in the first period alone.
In the first, both teams were a bit uncomfortable offensively, but found enough of a groove to equal shot totals at 13. The forecheck was in high demand for both squads, and in anticipated form, caused some pretty solid scoring chances at both ends. A lone Iowa holding penalty gave the Barons their first power play opportunity of the evening, and it was an un-glamorous showcase. After the first 20 minutes, the good news for OKC was that they escaped knotted with the Wild at 0-0. Richard Bachman was a huge part of that.
In the second period, things were a bit more offensively awkward, and perhaps a bit more mindful of defense. Yet both teams struggled to make consistent passes, and the Barons turned the puck over at least half a dozen times. The early second period forecheck by Iowa again spoiled the opportunities of OKC forwards. No rhythm on the offensive side of the puck put some pressure of the defense to move the puck with authority. Left winger, Brett Bulmer, would score the first (and only goal) of the game with an incredible assist from a familiar face in Jason Zucker. A boarding penalty by fourth line winger, Kale Kessy, led Steven Kampfer to hog-tie him, earn an instigating penalty, and be escorted off the ice. The fight meant very little, and in the end gave no fuel to the Barons in the second period. 1-0 Iowa after forty minutes.
The third period began, and the Barons were only down a goal, but it felt like a 3 goal deficit. Again Bachman was strong, stopping all 9 shots he faced. Tyler Pitlick, the one really good forward on the evening, would take a goofy hooking penalty that the Barons would kill quickly. But it was the Wild that would give the Barons a chance late in the game with a delay of game penalty at the 16:15 mark of the third period. OKC looked soggy, spent most of their man advantage trying to move the puck through neutral ice, and eventually they’d have their chances ruined by a strong and pesky Iowa killing unit.
Late in the game, the goaltender pulled, the Barons couldn’t assemble any good offensive chances, and they would eventually lose the game 0-1 to begin the season on a three game winless/pointless streak.
Here were the lines and pairs on the evening:
Same two teams will face off on Sunday at 4:00pm central time.
What did YOU think of the game in Iowa?