Tom Rowe, in his first game as head coach of the Rampage, trotted out Michael Houser to square off against Tyler Bunz. The gameplay was simple, and it included both squads being quick up the ice. Three straight periods notched a handful of goals, quite a few shots, and some pretty good goaltending. The late game nap the Barons took while owning a one goal lead led to an eventual shoot out loss to the San Antonio Rampage.
The first period was highly energized as each team bounced back and forth with OKC running a light-hearted forecheck. However, the Rampage would strike first with Steve Pinizzotto cradling the puck off the wall and tucking it in behind Tyler Bunz.
On their second power play opportunity of the evening, Brad Hunt would take a shot from the blue line. The rebound stuck to the goal crease rather than the goaltenders glove, and Kale Kessy, C.J. Stretch, and Denis Grebeshkov jabbed at the puck until the latter finally punched it in. His first goal as a Baron, promoted OKC to a 1-1 game.
An almost giveaway by Ben Eager, followed by a goofy penalty, put the Rampage back on the power play. Kessy, having a smart first period, would nearly notch a short hander, but it crested just above the top goalpost.
Newcomer to the Barons, but certainly not to the AHL, Ryan Hamilton, would do his best Omark impression. He’d cling to the puck, knife through defenders, and emerge from the left wing with a wide open shot on the Rampage goaltender. He’d just miss his intended target.
The goaltenders would remain sturdy towers for the remaining minutes of the first twenty minutes, and the period would close with a 1-1 match.
The second period saw the OKC Barons score their second straight goal, and it came courtesy of Derek Nesbitt, Nezzy if you’re nasty, and it put the team ahead of San Antonio by a goal.
There were plenty of chances for both squads, but they were either quietly deflected by defenders or way too off the mark. Even another too many men penalty against the Rampage in the closing minutes gave OKC an unbalanced power play opportunity.
The Barons slowed their offensive output after scoring the second goal, and only mustered seven shots in the period to the Rampage’s ten. A post-horn rough by Brandon Davidson placed the Barons on the PK to start the third period.
Tyler Bunz looks sharp against 21 shots. Good news.
In the third period the Barons played protect-o-lead magnificently as Bunz spoiled chance after chance. Things were going well until Corey Potter and Ben Eager double dipped penalties and Vincent Trocheck scored a goal to even the game at two a piece.
With nearly five minutes remaining OKC would have to kick things into overdrive to overcome a bit of momentum by the Rampage.
Some awful puck work on two occasions gave San Antonio players all alone shots, but Bunz came up big in a pinch. Trocheck would high stick Klefbom around the 16:00 mark, and the Barons suddenly had a chance. That chance quickly ended, and the third came to a close with a 2-2 tie.
Brandon Davidson would take a heavy shot to start overtime, but Houser thwarted it quickly. C.J. Stretch would make a marvelous move towards the Rampage net, but couldn’t finish. The Trocheck line slingshot the puck the other direction and nearly beat Bunz. Time would expire and the shoot out would arrive.
Here are the results:
Oklahoma City Shootout
12 Ryan Hamilton Goal
17 Derek Nesbitt No Goal
23 Linus Omark No Goal
16 Anton Lander No Goal
20 C.J. Stretch No Goal
18 Andrew Miller No Goal
San Antonio Shootout
32 Drew Shore No Goal
14 Vincent Trocheck No Goal
10 Jon Matsumoto Goal
37 Joey Crabb No Goal
3 Alex Petrovic No Goal
12 Jared Gomes Goal
The Barons lose in a shoot out which is too bad because Tyler Bunz played very very well stopping 34 of 36 shots.
Tonight’s Barons Lineup: