There’s something about the Marlies that always brings out the feisty in the Barons. Thursday night at the Cox Center would be a similar meeting, and an as advertised feisty tangle.
Both teams suffered through a ton of time in the box with Oklahoma City tapping out at 42 total minutes, including 21 in the third period (inflated by the David Musil five minutes + ten more for a gnarly check from behind). Nonetheless, the Barons would score multiple goals in the final two periods to keep the Marlies in check with a final score of 5-3.
Ryan Hamilton, former Toronto Marlies captain, scored the games opening goal in the first ten minutes of a dandy first period by the Barons. Beating Drew MacIntyre is a tough thing to do, and OKC broke him early. Likewise, Richard Bachman put together a solid first twenty to keep the score 1-0.
Tyler Pitlick would place OKC in seemingly full control as he’d give the Barons a 2-0 lead nearly halfway through the second period. A pair of power play goals scored by Spencer Abbott were sandwiched around one by the Barons courtesy of fourth line hustler Travis Ewanyk. As the second period came to an end the trips and slashes gave-way to the roughs, boards, and fisticuffs. Yet the Barons would again end the period with a one goal lead, 3-2.
Marlies leading scorer, and leading scorer among AHL defenseman, T.J. Brennan, would post his 19th goal of the season to tie the hockey game early in the third period. Newcomer Jack Combs would score the lone power play goal for the Barons (on five tries), and lift his team over the Marlies. The rough stuff kicked in, Pinizzotto would take a very late elbowing penalty, but the Barons would stay focused on doing the simple things right. Anton Lander sealed the deal with an empty netter to push the squad past the Marlies.
The 5-3 victory for OKC was an important one. The power play was okay, the penalty kill could have been much worse, the team gave up a ton of penalties – yet they won. Recent history would have pointed to a close loss for the Barons so to see them win this one was huge.
The team plays Texas on Sunday and Tuesday, and they’ll get Will Acton back. With the Mark Fraser acquisition in Edmonton look for Corey Potter or Phillip Larsen to return to the AHL.