Photo by Rob Ferguson
After a multi-game, multi-weekend road swing, the Oklahoma City Barons returned home for a pair of games just prior to the holiday break. Facing the stout Texas Stars at home on back-to-back nights was a daunting task. Even more so than in years gone by. In December 2013, the Stars from Cedar Park are a highly skilled bunch. Young, but intelligent. Smart, focused, assured, everything you want in a hockey squad. So the goings were bound to get tough.
It was a weekend where you cheered mightily as often as you wept. We’ve been told it’s the season of joy, of giving, of goodwill, not agonizing highs and lows. Like many Christmas expectations in life, highs and lows come with the territory.
We would witness one game where a goaltender played out of his mind. Where the offense came to life from various other regions of the roster. Where the defense seemed capable.
We would watch another game where a goaltender would get pulled for poor play. We would watch forwards suffocate. And a defense develop a knack for hanging themselves out to dry.
It was a weird weekend.
Game one on Friday night was remarkably positive. Richard Bachman would stop all 39 shots faced to defeat his former squad. An Omark-less roster would be a jumbled mess, but it netted two goals in the second period. One via Andrew Miller and another, on the power play, from C.J. Stretch.
Kale Kessy, playing on the top line, would have a weird night where he would play like a fourth liner, elbow a player, and go a fightin’. It was a strange evening. Nonetheless, the Barons would win the first half of the set, and it was solely on the shoulders of “The Biz” in net.
On Saturday evening the script was flipped. Richard Bachman let in five goals in 40:00 on only 26 shots. This included three straight in the second period. Chet Pickard came in to mop up the mess, and let in two more on twelve shots.
The Stars’ red hot power play continues as they would net two on the evening. Travis Morin would score twice, as would five other Stars as they’d run OKC out of their own barn, 7-2.
Ryan Martindale and Will Acton posted the only goals for OKC, but the night was mostly highlighted by a Steve MacIntyre “butt ending” penalty that earned a ten minute game misconduct penalty. In the end, this squelched any momentum the Barons had, and put the game firmly in the hands of the visiting squad.
The Barons will play this coming Friday and Saturday in Abbotsford after a brief Christmas break. Here’s hoping all goes well…on both nights.