Oilers Sign Defenseman Jordan Oesterle; Joins OKC Barons

<iframe src=”//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/459673477?et=oZ_bWJxGiUO6eXOXKDI-Lw&sig=TkSyg8YBykIvJgYx1GC7bOowaR75Qq8mg6EduVL5_xA=” width=”594″ height=”465″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”></iframe>The Edmonton Oilers announced the signing of d-man Jordan Oesterle today, with his Entry-Level Contract beginning next season. In the meantime, Oesterle heads to the Oklahoma City Barons on an Amateur Try-Out for the remainder of this season.

Oesterle is coming off of three seasons with Western Michigan University, his best coming on this most recent season. In 34 games this season, the Dearborn Heights, Michigan native earned 17 points. His previous two seasons with WMU, he earned 17 points in 79 total games. In 2012, Oesterle was part of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association championship team with the Broncos, the school’s first since 1986.

Oesterle becomes the second Bronco to leave the school with a year of eligibility remaining after Danny DeKeyser left last season to join the Detroit Red Wings.

Oesterle will wear number 38 with the Barons.

Rimmer to Quad City; Brossoit to Bakersfield

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.

After Laurent Brossoit was called up and swapped with Tyler Bunz, he found himself in Edmonton after Viktor Fasth was injured during an Oilers practice where he was run into by Barons captain Anton Lander. To fill the void left by Brossoit, the Barons brought up Ty Rimmer from the CHL Quad City Mallards. Since then, the Oilers reassigned Finnish goalie Frans Tuohimaa to the Barons, giving the Barons a three-headed monster last weekend in Charlotte.

With Fasth back in playing condition, the Oilers sent down Brossoit and gave the Barons four goalies. But with the CHL playoffs starting next weekend, Tyler Bunz getting injured, and Tuohimaa joining OKC, moves were made to help out the lower-level teams and alleviate the jam-up in OKC.

Brossoit heads back to the Bakersfield Condors where he has gone 19-9-2 with the Condors with five shutouts. Adding in his time with Alaska, Brossoit is 21-9-2 on the season, earning a 2.06 GAA and a .924 Saves Percentage.

Rimmer heads back to the Quad City Mallards, where he earned the honor of being on the CHL’s All-Rookie team this season. Rimmer is 18-14-3 on the season with a 2.84 GAA and a .906 Saves Percentage. Quad City takes on Rapid City in Round One, with games one and two on April 4th and 5th.

OKC Barons Sign Defenseman Graeme Craig

The Oklahoma City Barons announced the signing of undrafted free agent Graeme Craig. Craig joins the Barons from the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, and previously the Saskatoon Blades. He joins the Barons on an Amateur Try-Out for the remainder of this season. He’ll be on an AHL deal next season.

A third round pick in the Bantam Draft, Craig started his WHL career with the Swift Current Broncos where he played for three and a half seasons, earning 25 points in 200 games. In 2012, he was traded to the Blades, finishing off the season with 15 points in 51 games and was held pointless in four playoff games. Named the captain of the Blades this season, he was traded after 44 games – earning 24 points – to Prince Albert. With the Raiders, he earned seven points in 27 games. Towards the end of the season, Craig missed seven games with an upper body injury, but was able to get in one playoff game, going scoreless.

Craig will wear number 2 for the Barons.

Oklahoma City Again Loses In The Shootout, Gives Another Two Points To Charlote

Grumble, grumble, grumble. The Oklahoma City Barons, desperately needing a victory in regulation, pushed their chances of making the playoffs down the long staircase yesterday afternoon in Charlotte. The Checkers, having defeated the Barons in a shootout the day before, would again out-skill OKC, and gain two points in the standings. As it stands today, the Oklahoma City Barons are in desperate need of points. Charlotte is ahead by four, Oklahoma City has an extra game to play, and suddenly my stomach feels sour.

Matching first period goals, scored less than a minute apart, had the team looking neck and neck with the Charlotte Checkers for twenty minutes. Taylor Fedun, with an active offensive stick, would net his ninth of the year while centerman Victor Rask placed one in goal for the Checkers to bring his tally to fourteen. Richard Bachman would stop a whopping fourteen shots in the first period. Oklahoma City somehow only took five shots, but ended the period in a 1-1 tie. Both teams were extremely careful not to give the opposition a “leg up”, and thus stayed out of the box for the most part across multiple periods.

The second period featured goals by Will Acton, Steve Pinizzotto, and Ben Eager. The Checkers matched that total before the eleventh minute o of the period arrived. That’s six goals scored in 10:25, and suddenly we had a very interesting game. With matching goals, and a ping-pong-infused game on our hands, the remaining thirty minutes were executed with precision as neither team was willing to break nor take a major chance.

The shot totals were thirteen to fourteen with Charlotte just squeezing out the extra shot. The goaltending dual was steady, and Bachman looked poised.

This was a game, that after sixty minutes of play, felt like one that could last an eternity. OKC had some magnificient moments in the five minutes of OT, but alas a shootout was had.

Here are the lackluster results:

SHO-results

For the second night in a row, the Barons would give away two points to the team they are chasing in the standings. Despite adding two points to their belt by heading into OT, OKC desperately needed all four points. The hill gets steep and treacherous from this point forward

By The Numbers: Barons at Checkers, 3/30/14

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.

OKLAHOMA CITY AT CHARLOTTE
BARONS CHECKERS
   
30-27-2-8 RECORD 35-30-1-2
2-6-0-1 VS. 7-1-1-0
4-3-1-2 LAST 10 7-3-0-0
1-0-0-1 STREAK 3-0-0-0
2-3 SOL VS. CHA LAST GAME 3-2 SOW VS. OKC
RANKS
18TH LEAGUE 17TH
9TH OFFENSE 8TH
29TH DEFENSE 27TH
3RD PP% 2ND
29TH PK% 19TH
OKC OVERALL STATS CHA
70 POINTS 73
0.522 RECORD % 0.537
0.609 HOME WINNING % 0.500
0.443 AWAY WINNING % 0.576
.111 SHOOTOUT WINNING % .600
-0.31 GOAL DIFFERENTIAL PER GAME -0.03
-2.16 SHOT DIFFERENTIAL PER GAME -0.24
16.8 PIM PER GAME 14.9
14.7 OPPONENT PIM PER GAME 17.3
OKC OFFENSIVE STATS CHA
3.10 GOALS PER GAME 3.07
2.12 ES GOALS PER GAME 2.06
0.99 PP GOALS PER GAME 1.01
31.82 SHOTS PER GAME 32.21
10.25 SHOTS PER GOAL 10.48
9.76% TEAM SHOOTING % 9.54%
22.0% POWER PLAY % 22.6%
OKC DEFENSIVE STATS CHA
3.42 GOALS AGAINST PER GAME 3.10
2.43 ES GOALS AGAINST PER GAME 2.32
0.99 PP GOALS AGAINST PER GAME 0.78
33.99 SHOTS AGAINST PER GAME 32.44
9.94 SHOTS AGAINST PER GOAL 10.45
10.06% OPP TEAM SHOOTING % 9.56%
78.1% PENALTY KILL % 81.2%
OKC GOALIE STATS CHA
0.903 SAVE % 0.908
3.25 GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE 2.97
1 SHUTOUTS 4
GOALIE CAREER VS. OPP GAA SV%
Richard Bachman 2-4-1 2.94 0.911
Ty Rimmer 0-0-0 0.00 0.000
Frans Tuohimaa 0-0-0 0.00 0.000
John Muse 6-2-1 2.61 0.918
Mike Murphy 4-2-0 2.40 0.914

Oklahoma City Clings To A Point, Charlotte Wins Two

Saturday night, the Oklahoma City Barons were in control of their own destiny as they faced the Charlotte Checkers. The feeble nature of the Barons squad, with its missing pieces in various shapes due to callups and injuries, has meant that offense, and threat have needed to come from unlikely sources. As they have fashioned offensive lines and defensive pairs the best they could, the OKC coaching staff has had its hands full down the stretch. Saturday was a prime example.

As time ticked off the clock in a 2-1 game led by Charlotte, Taylor Fedun would unleash a rocket to put the game into overtime at Time Warner Arena. In the end, the Checkers were too much, and the Barons would lose another shoot out to move to a 1-8 record in the skills competition.

For much of the game, the Barons played to their strengths – good on the edges, stingy in the middle, tough without the puck – but Charlotte was able to score twice, once in the second, and again in the third. For OKC all their offense came in the final three minutes of regulation.

After going 0 for 3 on the power play for much of the game, the Barons own Matt Ford was able to notch a goal, his 21st of the year.

Charlotte tender, John Muse, was really good stopping 32 shots, and allowing only two goals. Likewise, Richard Bachman would face fewer shot goals than usual (30) to stymy the Charlotte offense that is usual quick, and shot happy.

As Taylor Fedun put in the game tying goal, it felt like a bit of destiny for a brief moment. Both teams were extra careful in the OT frame, and to the shoot out we’d go where the results looked like this:

Oklahoma City Shootout
23 Jack Combs No Goal
18 Andrew Miller No Goal
17 Alex Lavoie Goal
20 C.J. Stretch No Goal
29 Brad Hunt No Goal
10 Curtis Hamilton No Goal
Total: 1

Charlotte Shootout
15 Matthew Pistilli No Goal
12 Brody Sutter No Goal
25 Chris Terry No Goal
14 Justin Shugg Goal
23 Victor Rask No Goal
24 Matt Marquardt Goal
Total: 2

The lack of “skill” for the Barons has forced them to stumble in shoot outs where they really seem raw and emotionless, but we know better. This is a squad with heart, they just lack the intangibles to compete in the shoot out without players like Linus Omark, Mark Arcobello, Roman Horak, or Anton Lander. Then again, the team has struggled when those gents were present as well, so perhaps it’s just dumb luck that they can’t win post-OT.

Oklahoma City Barons Lineup:

Fyten-Stretch-A. Mille
Eager-Acton-Pinizzotto
Combs-Lavoie-Ford
Curtis Hamilton-Ewanyk-G. Miller

Gernat-Fedun
Davidson-Hunt
Leach-Musil

Richard Bachman

Scratches:
Tuohimma, Arcobello, Horak, Ryan Hamilton, Kessy, MacIntyre, Leach

The same two teams battle tonight. Fingers crossed.

The OKC Barons Desperately Need Two Wins This Weekend

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.

With four of the next five games against the Charlotte Checkers, the Oklahoma City Barons are in a four-dog fight for two playoff spots, one of which is occupied by the Checkers.

Rank Western Conference GP W L OTL SL PTS PCT GF GA STK P10 S/O PIM
7 Rockford IceHogs 66 32 25 5 4 73 0.553 204 223 2-0-0-0 4-4-1-1 4-4 1045
8 Charlotte Checkers 67 34 30 1 2 71 0.530 206 209 2-0-0-0 6-4-0-0 2-2 1000
9 Rochester Americans 67 30 27 6 4 70 0.522 183 197 0-7-2-0 1-7-2-0 2-4 1031
10 Oklahoma City Barons 66 30 27 2 7 69 0.523 206 226 1-0-0-0 5-3-1-1 1-7 1117

Rochester is off both tonight and tomorrow after a loss against Toronto last night. Rockford has two games this weekend, taking on the Grand Rapids Griffins (on a two-game losing streak) tonight and the Chicago Wolves (on a five-game point streak) tomorrow afternoon.

So the best case scenario is pretty simple – two wins by the Barons, two losses by the IceHogs – and OKC finds themselves tied for 7th in the standings come Monday morning. If all three teams split and earn one win this weekend? Well, then we just get to re-visit again next weekend.

Charlotte Wounds Iowa In 7-0 Blowout, Now In 8th Place

You had one job, Iowa! And, no, it wasn’t to grow better corn or groom better wrestlers. On Wednesday night, an evening where playoff jockeying was taking place league-wide, the Charlotte Checkers punished the lowly Iowa Wild in a 7-0 blowout that featured four power play goals, four goals in the third period alone, and 248 penalty minutes. The first two periods only saw 8 total minor penalties with a spicey side of 10 minutes for an abuse of an official. After that, well, you know the story. To the score sheet!

[one_half]

IA Winchester, 0:53 – Cross-checking, 2 min (PP)
CHA Blanchard, 4:05 – Fighting, 5 min
IA Bussieres, 4:05 – Game misconduct – Third man in, (46.16) 10 min
IA McMillan, 4:05 – Cross-checking, 2 min (PP)
IA McMillan, 4:05 – Fighting, 5 min
CHA Flood, 5:48 – Fighting, 5 min
IA Dowell, 5:48 – Fighting, 5 min
IA Dowell, 5:48 – Misconduct – Continuing altercation, (46.5) 10 min
IA Hagel, 5:48 – Goaltender interference, 2 min
CHA Corrente, 6:21 – Fighting, 5 min
CHA Corrente, 6:21 – Misconduct – Continuing altercation, (46.5) 10 min
CHA Bro. Sutter, 6:21 – Fighting, 5 min
IA Bulmer, 6:21 – Instigating, 2 min
IA Bulmer, 6:21 – Fighting, 5 min
IA Bulmer, 6:21 – Misconduct – Instigating, (46.11) 10 min
IA Bulmer, 6:21 – Game misconduct – Secondary altercation, (46.7) 10 min
IA Winchester, 6:21 – Clipping, 2 min
IA Winchester, 6:21 – Fighting, 5 min
CHA Boychuk, 8:33 – Goaltender interference, 2 min
CHA Boychuk, 8:33 – Unsportsmanlike conduct, 2 min[/one_half] [one_half_last]

CHA Boychuk, 8:33 – Fighting, 5 min
CHA Lowe, 8:33 – Fighting, 5 min
CHA Lowe, 8:33 – Game misconduct – Secondary altercation, (46.7) 10 min
CHA Bre. Sutter, 8:33 – Fighting, 5 min
CHA Bre. Sutter, 8:33 – Game misconduct – Secondary altercation, (46.7) 10 min
IA Brace, 8:33 – Unsportsmanlike conduct, 2 min
IA Brace, 8:33 – Fighting, 5 min
IA Cuma, 8:33 – Fighting, 5 min
IA Cuma, 8:33 – Game misconduct – Secondary altercation, (46.7) 10 min
IA Foucault, 8:33 – Fighting, 5 min
IA Foucault, 8:33 – Game misconduct – Secondary altercation, (46.7) 10 min
IA Medvec, 12:09 – Misconduct – Unsportsmanlike conduct, (75.4) 10 min
CHA Blanchard, 12:37 – Fighting, 5 min
CHA Dolan, 12:37 – Misconduct – Unsportsmanlike conduct, (75.4) 10 min
IA Miskovic, 12:37 – Misconduct – Unsportsmanlike conduct, (75.4) 10 min
IA Peters, 12:37 – Clipping, 2 min
IA Peters, 12:37 – Fighting, 5 min
IA Winchester, 17:02 – Boarding, 2 min
IA Winchester, 17:02 – Misconduct – Unsportsmanlike conduct, (75.4) 10 min[/one_half_last]

[bra_divider height=’40’]

That took two columns, folks. Keep in mind that is just the third period infractions – all 39 of them. So what does this have to do with the Oklahoma City Barons? Good question.

Charlotte looks like a juggernaut lately, while Oklahoma City a purring kitty. That is all well and good, but the Barons next opponent is none other than the Charlotte Checkers. So a statement victory, if such a thing exists, has just been proclimated. That either energizes the Checks down the stretch or it inflates the ego (could be both I suppose). Either way you slice it, Charlotte probably isn’t the squad anyone wants a piece of in late March.

The defeat of Iowa also positions the Checkers in the 8th spot, jumping Rochester momentarily. If Charlotte is the juggernaut, OKC the purring kitty, then Rochester is the lazy beagle. They have crested in terms of outcome, and are now 2-6-2-0 over the last ten.

Oklahoma City is momentarily jammed in 10th place, but with a game in hand (lasting only 48 hours). So the 8th spot is the spot the Barons are gunning for. Although, with the race now a three-way battle, the Barons could lock down 7th. But at this point, getting in the Calder Cup postseason is the focus regardless of seed.

The Stars or the Griffins – choose your poison – is whom the Barons could face if they attain the 7th or 8th seed in the West. That’s not all that promising, but this team (like virtually every other Barons team in four seasons) has a way of getting things done. Big games ahead against Charlotte. Buckle up.

Frans Tuohimaa Assigned To The OKC Barons

Photo source: www.hpk.fi

There’s always been a bit of an air of mystery surrounding Frans Tuohimaa in my eyes. It’s that way about a lot of Oilers prospects that spend some years after the draft playing over in Europe. The coverage isn’t as in-depth, the stats are harder to navigate, you have to know where to look to find out things about these guys. But finally, we get to see our first look with our own eyes at Tuohimaa.

Tuohimaa has spent the past three seasons playing in the Finnish Liiga (formerly SM-liiga), two seasons with Jokerit, and this season with HPK. It’s not been without its own trials as he was demoted and played in the second-tier Mestis league in all three of those seasons as well.

His stats via EliteProspects (I changed his save percentage for the 2013-14 season with HPK to reflect the Liiga site. EP states a .894, Liiga states .889):

 2011-12  Jokerit  Liiga 18 2.65 .898 |         
 Kiekko-Vantaa   Mestis 16 2.82 .921 |  Playoffs 4 4.56 .881 
 2012-13  Jokerit  Liiga 13 2.29 .912 |  Playoffs 2 0.77 .960 
 Kiekko-Vantaa   Mestis 16 2.47 .915 |         
 2013-14  HPK   Liiga 19 3.12 .889 |         
 Sport   Mestis 5 2.52 .925 |  Playoffs 5 1.81 .923

 

It’s definitely been a winding road for Tuohimaa. Played average to respectable in the 11-12 regular season and then had issues in the playoffs with Kiekko-Vantaa. 12-13 was a very good season for Tuohimaa, coming up very big for Jokerit in the playoffs, but only getting into two games. He seems to have taken a step back this season with HPK, but finished off the season nicely with Sport, and hopefully that’s how his trend continues as time goes on.

The Barons head to Charlotte to take on the Checkers in what will be a huge weekend for both teams as they’re tied in the standings, one point back of a playoff spot. I imagine Bachman gets both starts, but with a 6:00 Central time start on Saturday and a 12:30 Central start on Sunday, there’s a very good chance that he may get in on Sunday. If not, a midweek contest against the currently-13th place Hamilton Bulldogs may be his chance.

Rochester Loses, Charlotte Survives, Barons Win

Recently Frozen made it’s way on to DVD and into the hearts of the children in my home (previously into my wallet via the theaters), and if I’ve learned one thing from Olaf the Snowman it’s this…”all good things, all good things”.

On a rare Tuesday game in the minor leagues, the Oklahoma City Barons were able to outlast the San Antonio Rampage on the wings of two power play goals, and some really smart goaltending by the Wizarding World of Richard Bachman. THIS in fact nudges the Barons just a bit closer to a playoff spot, but with a few wrinkles.

I say that it was a rare Tuesday night, but it was nothing short of extraordinary for the six teams playing, three with serious playoff hopes. Rochester, currently in that coveted 8th spot in the West, was defeated by the burly Toronto Marlies. Charlotte, currently tied with Oklahoma City for the 9th spot (but own the tie breaker), beat Iowa by one goal to stay put in the standings. With the Rochester loss, it opens the door for the Checkers and Barons to duke it out in the finality of the 2013-14 regular season.

I mentioned this in the pre-game ramblings, but Charlotte is next on the sked for the Barons. They’ll face each other twice at home (OKC), and twice on the road (Charlotte) four of the next five games. Sandwiched in between is a Hamilton game played in the Cox Center. The league is salivating with the final playoff spot likely coming down to head-to-head matchups this late in the season. For the fans of both squads, we salivate, but then quickly reach for barf bags. NERVOUS.

The great news for OKC is that the team will play six of the next ten at home. After squaring off against Charlotte they make the gruelling trip to Abbotsford then back to Bricktown for three straight where the opponents are Texas (boo), and Iowa twice (yeah).

Charlotte has an equally as interesting schedule over the next couple of weeks. They play Iowa again tonight, head to OKC for two, followed by an appearance in San Antonio before heading back to their home ice for two more against OKC. Grand Rapids twice (eek), Milwaukee once (eek), and Rockford once (okay) has them rounding out the season with some really angry competition.

All things considered, Rochester is fading, but the Checkers and Barons seem to be headed towards greatness. The Barons need to escape better than 50% of the standing points in those games against Charlotte (duh), but they’ve gotta beat Hamilton in between. This really could come down to whether or not the Barons can beat Iowa twice in OKC. As insane as that sounds, sometimes the teams playing for nothing have a way of sneaking up on you. Let’s not do that.

The game won by OKC on Tuesday night featured only two power play goals, no even strength scoring, and lower-than-usual shot totals. The high chance offense that teams own for most of the season seemingly wanes as the postseason approaches. The careful approach to playing smart has benefited the Barons of late. Two different power play units scored on Tuesday, the first going to Matt Ford the second to Will Acton. Ford, a Rampage killer, now has eleven points in eleven games against San Antonio this season. He has been stifled in the lineup when Lander / Pitlick / Arcobello / Horak are healthy so to see him pick up the offensive slack lately is a really nice thing.

Ponder this statement for a moment. What if the Barons make the playoffs without Lander / Pitlick / Arcobello / Horak, are we ready to claim that he’s one heckuva coach? No Klefbom. No Marincin. One good goaltender. No Linus Omark. Nothing short of remarkable. As the team gets thinner the wins either increase or stay the same. How is this possible? Two constants – goaltending and coaching. Give Todd Nelson a gold star.