The Oklahoma City Barons traveled to San Antonio to face the Rampage in what was the team’s first game of the regular season. Facing only opponents from Texas for the entire month, OKC nestled in to their gameplan against a team they’d see regularly moving forward.
Coming off a heroic finale against Iowa the night before, San Antonio would switch to Michael Houser in net. Considered Dan Ellis’ backup, Houser and company would play very well against the unorganized Barons. The game was exciting, but ultimately the misgivings of a young squad were too many as OKC would steal a point, but lose in overtime.
Former Flame, Brett Olson scored the games first goal as he exposed some defensive problems for the Barons directly in front of starting goaltender Richard Bachman.
Following a closing the hand on the puck penalty, Ryan Hamilton would receive a point blank pass from Iiro Pakarinen and slam home the tying goal towards the end of period one.
Bachman and Houser were both pretty sturdy to start the game, and indeed would continue the trend throughout.
Again the teams would trade goals in a period with San Antonio notching one first. Centerman Vincent Trochek would put his team up by one while the Barons stood by and watched him jump into position.
Mugging for the puck around the boards, Andrew Miller would win the puck battle, pass to Martin Marincin who would take a shot. That shot rebounded off Houser and on to the stick of Iiro Pakarinen who tied the game at two. Iiro’s second points of the night, and his first AHL goal, helped propel the Barons through the second period.
It would take a scoreless third, a huge save by Richard Bachman, and some very lucky moments to send the game in to OT. Rocco Grimaldi, scoring his first goal of his pro career in San Anronio, would nudge out the Barons on this night, and a secure the win for his team. The Rampage defeat the Barons 3-2 in overtime.
The Barons went 1/4 on the PP, gave up one early penalty themselves. Nelson displayed the five forwards 1-3-1 unit that consisted of Lander, Williams, Pitlick, Miller, Ford. It gave up at least two near shot handed chances, and that’s expected in a scheme like that. This isn’t new for Nelson, it’s just going to take better execution.
By comparison, the 4 on 4 overtime lineup was 3F-1D, and more protective in nature. It ended up costing the Barons in the odd-man rushes. That’s gonna need some work.
Iiro Pakarinen looked really good. How do Finnish hockey players know where to stand in front of the net? DNA!
Mitch Moroz was impressive in limited minutes. Hung on to the puck well, managed his moments beautifully, and even had two really good setups. He’s a keeper.
Defensively it was a stew of question marks. Marincin and Gernat really struggled, got better, struggled again. This is to be expected. One player, however, who looked more right than wrong was Dillon Simpson. Had a really nice game saving breakup of a rush up ice care of Rocco Grimaldi who will speed around you if necessary.
Richard Bachman continues to be Nelson’s “NHLer in the AHL” as he stopped 27/30 including 11 in the first period.
OKC gets nearly a week off before hosting the Stars next Friday.
Congrats to Arcobello (goal and assist) and Hunt (goal) for their roles in last night’s Oilers game. Despite the loss, good to see these two get accolades, but more importantly produce.