The Oklahoma City Barons needed standing points, and they needed them desperately. Seemingly unfazed by the moment, Todd Nelson rolled with a bunch of youngsters on forward lines, and continued to triumph the defensive skills of Darnell Nurse. It began as most Texas vs. OKC games begin, and that was with a “feeling out period”. Yet in this circumstance, on this night, the Stars felt nothing but stone cold intensity. Meanwhile the Barons were withering away in the possession department. The final 2-1 victory by Texas makes me frightful.
The first period, if you hadn’t already surmised after reading that headline, was a tepid offensive performance. Cristopher Nilstorp was writing his memoirs most of the first period as OKC only mustered two shots, and they were unenthusiastic shots. Two penalties gave the Stars two power play opportunities, but it was an even strength 2 on 1 by Toby Petersen that began the Stars domination. The first period would end with that one loosey-goosey goal given up, and somehow the Barons escaped the first period with only a one goal deficit.
The Stars would tempt fate in the second and third periods with some undiscipled play, thus giving the home team in OKC multiple chances on the power play. Steve Pinizzotto (more on him later) would net the only goal of the evening by the Barons. The power play goal, assisted by Taylor Fedun and C.J. Stretch, gave OKC life early in the second. But Nilstorp would remain stingy as the Barons emerged with double-digit shots (10) in the second period. As the period was winding down, Texas left winger Kevin Hendersen notched his twelfth of the season.
The third period was testy, and seemingly a spirited event. The good news for OKC is that they would contain the really solid power play of the Stars en route to keeping them 0 for 3 with an extra attacker. That’s huge. What isn’t huge is that they were unable to keep their poise against the pesky Stars defense. Things got heated when Pinizzotto disagreed with an embellishment call made by an official and was issued a game misconduct with over ten minutes remaining in play. Oklahoma City never recovered, and the Stars would win the game 2-1
The Darnell Nurse experiment continues, and quite honestly he’s getting better. If we are talking about liability here, I think Gernat is less of one down the stretch, but Nelson REALLY likes Nurse. That probably bodes well for Darnell’s future. Regardless, sitting Gernat still troubles me when he’s been lined up with Fedun for most of the back-half of the season.
Steve Pinizzotto let his team down in this one with the goofy embellishment of a high-stick. The game misconduct that ensued forced a rage in me like no other. He did, after all, score the games only goal. Yet he cost his team in the end. Not good.
Bachman gave up a 2 on 1 early that wasn’t really his fault, but he needed to stop it. Giving up goals early has been “his thang” lately, and I don’t like it one bit.
Texas was stifled on the PP, that’s fantastic news for OKC.
First period preview or not, this was a dominate game for the Stars who really had nothing to play for. They are the best team in the league, both in standing points and in our brains. The scoring threats, and defensive posturing coupled with good goaltending have this team a dangerous lot.
The regular season finales are Friday and Saturday in Oklahoma City. The Barons MUST win them both in my eyes, they are just too close to the edge of the 19th green for my comfort. Win. These. Games.