It’s rare that the Oklahoma City Barons travel to play the Toronto Marlies. When they do it feels special, and it usually happens at a point in the season when wins are needed. Rolling out of bed following a 4-3 loss at the hands of the Grand Rapids Griffins, our beloved Oklahoma City Barons traveled to Toronto to hopefully survive a stout three-in-three.
Richard Bachman would get another start in net, a rarity in a three-in-three on the road, and he would be excellent to start. Likewise, back-up Marlies’ tender, Garret Sparks would be surprisingly good in the first twenty minutes. Back and forth the teams would go, and although the shots would be ten a piece after twenty minutes, the chances were strong for both clubs. The Marlies, in particular, challenged Bachman in close, and he was stellar. Sparks was good too, but had some assistance from a goalpost clank, and a few long-distance shots from Barons defenders. One slashing penalty from Toronto allowed the Barons to unfurl a power play about as dynamic as a wet blanket, and the mud-skating would continue for much of the period. As Bachman continued to save the bacon of his defensemen, the period would end. A scoreless game after twenty minutes of play.
The Marlies came out swinging to start the second period, and Bachman again kept his team in the game. The game hadn’t been entirely physical up until this point, and that certainly favors the Barons just a bit more. A high stick in the first three minutes by the Marlies allowed Anton Lander to score on the power play for the Barons. Hunt and Arcobello would notch assists, and the Barons would take a 1-0 lead. After a penalty to Anton Lander expired, defenseman Stuart Percy cradled the puck on the right wing, and centered it to Greg McKegg to give the Marlies the game tying goal. Moments later, Jamie Devane would whistle a shot past an out-of-position Bachman, and the Marlies would suddenly be up 2-1. Even though the Barons would unleash seventeen shots in the second period, they’d mostly be turned aside by Sparks. To the third period we go, with our eyes closed.
In the final period the Marlies pounced on the sluggish Barons scoring another two goals. McKegg notched another as well as Brandon Kozun to evaporate the Oklahoma City scoring threats. The Marlies protected the lead, Bachman was good when he needed to be, but in the end it was just too much for the Barons to swallow in back-t0-back-to-back games, and they would suffer their second defeat in two days, 4-1 to the Toronto Marlies.
OKC Barons starting lineup: