Two games. Same opponent. Nearly two wins for the Oklahoma City Barons. Three points rewarded. That’s not a bad. Considering how unsightly the Barons have been in the last ten games, stealing three out of four on Saturday and Sunday is a bit of a victory in and of itself. With Christmas rapidly approaching, the Barons are looking to go full steam ahead in the face of a challenging lineup and ever changing roster.
The Oklahoma City Barons split two games with the Chicago Wolves this weekend, yet the team still remains under .500.
The Wolves are in the same boat, rowing a similar direction as the Barons. A struggle of a season, they have been challenged with consistent hockey play. So when the two met it really was a roll of the dice when it came to picking a victor.
Goaltending was going to be huge for both squads, and we saw two really great tenders in Chicago, and one suddenly successful prospect for Oklahoma City. The two-some of Matt Climie and Jake Allen should be way more head strong than they have been, but to quote every coach on the planet, “that’s why we play the games”. Indeed. For Oklahoma City, Laurent Brossoit has been sullied with a high GAA the last couple of outings, and that was enough to bench him, and bring in Ty Rimmer. He was really good for two straight nights facing 41 shots on Saturday and 39 on Sunday. Welcome to the OKC Barons circa 2013-14, kid. He would only give up seven goals in that span, and although not earth shattering, it was just enough.
Game one featured an opening goal by Barons defender, Brad Hunt, but quickly would turn in to a chess match. From the Hunt power play goal scored at the 6:34 mark of the first period, no goals would exist until the explosion of offense in the third period. Ironically it was the Wolves that would notch two straight goals in the first eight minutes of the third period to open the flood gates. However, Oklahoma City would score four goals (two empty netters) in the final six minutes of the game to win the game with ferocity. Roman Horak scored a pair, Matt Ford and Andrew Miller one a piece.
Although four Barons scored, and four players had multiple point nights, it was Ty Rimmer that stole the show. He only let in two goals on 41 shots (including sixteen in the third period alone), and was really a big part of the second period shutdown. The Wolves owned the offensive zone possession, and that was bothersome. However, for the first time in several weeks, a Barons goaltender wins one on their own.
Less than 24 hours later, the two teams squared off again, but the Barons would come up just short. A ping-pong like affair was in order as Linus Omark added to his goal totals for the season. Oklahoma City scored first, on the Barons power play, but Chicago would roar back with two of their own. With the seconds ticking away on the first period, Linus Omark scored his second of the period to put the Barons even with the Wolves. Roman Horak would get a power play goal of his own, his third in two games, and it felt like maybe, just maybe, OKC would gain control of the lead and keep it. We know better. Ty Rattie would score his seventh of the season with seven minutes remaining in the game. Ryan Hamilton would tie it up with his third goal since becoming a Baron. Ty Rattie, in a last ditch effort by the Wolves, would score the game-tying goal with nearly fifteen seconds remaining in regulation. A lazy-dazy OT led to a shootout where the Barons would again go scoreless. The Wolves only needed to beat Rimmer once, and the win would go to Chicago.
The Barons earn a point in the final game after winning two the night before. Four out of four would have been nice, but…baby steps.
Next up! Oklahoma City plays another three games in three days road swing through Milwaukee and Rockford. Both opponents are above .500 themselves, but