Photo by Rob Ferguson
There is very little chance (actually zero) that we see Andrew Miller and Curtis Hamilton this evening in the finale of the home three-in-three that began Thursday. Broken hands and tweaked knees aside, the Barons will be dealing with a quick Checkers team without two quick players of their own. Will they be okay?
C.J. Stretch, Ben Eager, and Steve MacIntyre were scratched last night which points to them being active today. With Steve Mac playing defense lately, this leaves very little wiggle room for Todd Nelson and crew to ice a competitive roster. If the Barons want physicality against Charlotte, adding Stretch and Eager might not be a bad idea.
Austin Fyten will probably make a return very soon (currently in Idaho) once we get a good read on the severity of Miller and Hamilton’s injuries. Also worth exploring is Joel Broda, who exited the team when the roster was thick. Regardless of who comes in to complete the roster (with wiggle room), the Barons will strive to earn standing points by playing a full sixty minutes nightly.
Last night the Charlotte Checkers dropped four straight goals on the Oklahoma City Barons in the first period, and in under fifteen minutes. This feat was accomplished thanks to a snoozy first period by the home team whom allowed Checkers forward Matthew Pistilli to nearly earn a hat trick in the first period.
Chet Pickard, the AHL contracted tender for OKC, was out of his element, but was also a product of the brutal defense playing in front of him. Richard Bachman soared to the rescue stopping all 22 shots faced, but the damage had been done.
The 0 for 5 Barons power play had moments of near greatness, but they were constantly a step behind even with an extra skater. It was that kind of night.
Beating the Charlotte Checkers is about being sharp and playing a muscle-bound game – crisp passes, strong boards play, and quieting their speed. Normally a good forecheck might give the Checks a run for their money, but Hamilton and Miller were the two wittiest forecheckers, and so we might scratch that idea.
With Oscar Klefbom tweaking his shoulder injury again in practice this week, he will likely be a game time decision. If he can play, he will get huge minutes.
Should be a game worth tuning in to. Go Barons!