Photo by Rob Ferguson.
The Chicago Wolves touched down in Oklahoma City for the first time this season. With the home team still missing important pieces (injured or Edmonton mainstay), the outlook was sunny as the Wolves have struggled mightily to begin the season. But it was Oklahoma City that would struggle the most on the first November night of 2013, as they’d get clobbered in a five goal second period en route to an eventual 6-0 loss.
Olivier Roy, despite his tendencies to give up far too much space behind him on occasion, was solid in the opening period for the Barons. Couple that with two really fine penalty kills, and you have a pretty decent first period for OKC against the Wolves. The problem remains offense.
Jake Allen, the Wolves starting goalie, was equally as fine, and a large target to overcome. A semi-okay power play for Oklahoma City earned a few really fine chances, but held the first period to a scoreless end.
The second period was unkind to Olivier Roy, and for as good as he was in the first period, he was equally as questionable in the second. Although the defenders in front of him gave little assistance, four straight goals on only seven shots during the period is pretty terrible. Rough enough to place a bit of blame on the tender alone. But it was a complete unravelling by the defensive core that systematically gave the Chicago Wolves a major leg up. Shane Harper and Alex Bolduc each scored a pair with Ty Rattie adding one more to give the Wolves a five goal second period. The Barons looked sunk.
Tyler Bunz would lead the Barons onto the ice to start the third, and all fingers were simultaneously crossed by every fan in the Cox Center. However, with the five goal second period in the not-so-distant past, there was little mojo remaining for OKC. Bunz himself would give up a goal in the final twenty, again care of Ty Rattie, to nail the coffin shut on an awful defensive performance and a gargantuan offensive fail by the Barons. The good news / bad news? Same two, tomorrow night.
To the thoughts
– The Barons can kill penalties, and that’s one of the brightest spots on an otherwise gnarly start for OKC. They gave one up on the power play tonight, but looked absolutely spot on for most of the night completing the evening 1/7. They now sit second in the entire league with an 88.1% PK rate.
– In stark contrast, the power play is falling to the wayside. One or two awful nights on the PP, and you will dip you in the league standings. This will continue to be a problem until it isn’t. 11/52 on the season isn’t all that awful, but tonight they went 0/6 with nary a fight.
– Phillip Larsen, absent from the OKC roster due to a late afternoon recall, could have helped a bit with his offense/defense minor league smarts, but Corey Potter and Denis Grebeshkov were around. There’s no excuse for the defense tonight. Oscar Klefbom was on the ice for four even strength goals. Yikes. Just a poor defensive night all around.
– No forward for OKC took more than three shots. Linus Omark took none. That’s a problem. 9-6-6 were your shots per period for the team. Low shot totals aside, the offense was deeply wounded tonight. Credit coach Anderson for prepping his Chicago team. They moved the puck quickly out of their defensive zone, and the OKC forwards were unable to match their upbeat play.
– Olivier Roy looked really good in the first twenty minutes, and then looked like Frankenstein’s monster in the second. He can make a great first save, but has a lean to his game that allows way too much empty space between himself and the net. The rebounded shot has always been his downside. Season after season this has remained a huge problem. He has to figure out a way to recover quickly or discover ways to not give up rebounds…or else.
Oklahoma City Lines, Pairs, Goaltender