The Olympic break was quietly good to the Barons. As the days rolled by, and the Olympic ice hockey began, the Oilers farm team in OKC suddenly roared to life. Now only a few standing points out of a playoff spot, the Barons were in need of more good timin’ hockey.
Tyler Pitlick, back in the lineup after being banged up, would be joined by Mark Arcobello who missed a couple of games based on the NHL games played rule for players earning Olympic breaks.
It was a winning night for the Barons as they’d defeat the Griffins in Grand Rapids, 4-2.
Richard Bachman again had a great night, but has begun to receive the necessary help from his blue liners including Fedun and Klefbom.
Grand Rapids is a team that scores a lot, and gives up few penalties. Through fifteen minutes of the first period, the action was quick, and led to half a dozen good scoring chances. Nearing the end of the period, a Jack Combs interference penalty led to a power play goal via Calle Jarnkrok for Grand Rapids. Despite the lead for the Griffins after one, it felt like an intelligent game being played by OKC that fit well into Tyler Pitlick’s mode of operation, and kept the pressure off the young defense.
The second period was Oklahoma City’s finest. Brad Hunt would score two power play goals sandwiched around the first ever AHL goal from Oscar Klefbom. The booming shot from Oscar was one we had seen brief flashes of, but on this particular Friday, it paid off dearly. Grand Rapids would get an even stench goal before all was said and done, but the Barons had built a one goal lead thanks in part to their defensemen finding the goods offensively. The second period ended, 3-2 OKC.
Roman Horak would score the lone goal for either squad in the opening moments of the third period. The now 4-2 lead for OKC didn’t stop the Griffins from charging hard. Richard Bachman played beautifully, and again got shot blocking, and defensive positioning help. Only seven shots were faced in the final twenty, and the Barons would go toe to toe with the fisticuffs of the Griffins. Nonetheless, the dust settled on a 4-2 victory for OKC. The team has now won seven of the last eight, but earned standing points in every game since January 30th.
A repeat performance would be greatly appreciated on Saturday as the teams square off once more.