Photo by Steven Christy
After a two-goal loss on Sunday to the San Antonio Rampage, the Oklahoma City Barons hosted a them in return for a 10:35am puck drop on Tuesday morning. As I mentioned in the pregame comments, this is a game each year that sort of separates the men from the boys in terms of preparedness. Veterans seemingly don’t struggle, but youthful prospects do, and perhaps it nudges the latter group to re-configure their night-before rituals. Regardless, it is always a feisty game, in front of the children no less.
So the Rampage would come out swinging, pressuring the puck well, and for the second straight game score on a Barons goaltender in the first minute of play. Defenseman Steven Kampfer would score his fifth of the season for the Rampage on Barons goaltender Richard Bachman. Some sideways defending early on from Oesterle and Simpson would force me to slightly hit the panic button, but they would certainly become more comfortable. Indeed we all breathed a sigh of relief when Will Acton scored a goal to tie the game at the 13:00 mark of period one. His first goal since returning to the Barons this season from Edmonton, with assists to Brandon Davidson and Brad Hunt. A sluggish start for both clubs, but only one PP opportunity was afforded for the first twenty, and that was awarded to OKC. But the un-organized tendencies of an early start made the power play look bashful. A later period goal by the Rampage, which was poorly defended by C.J. Ludwig and Martin Gernat, gave the Rampage a 2-1 lead after the first period.
In the second things got a bit more angsty as the penalty minutes rose, the shots climbed, and goaltenders had to become much better. Luke Gazdic, in a fourth line winger role, scored his second goal of the season with assists again to Davidson and Hunt, and the Barons would be saddled with a tie game. Despite the elbows, cross-checks, and roughs, both teams would have great opportunities on the PP, but neither could score an extra skater goal for the duration of the game. The second period ended in a two all tie.
The third period was an exercise in break, but don’t bend for both squads as neither was able to generate huge amounts of offense. There were great saves indeed by Bachman, and Rampage tender Dan Ellis, but we would head to a full overtime frame and then some.
So the overtime four on four which would give way to the three on three was a timid adventure. Cautious around each bend, the teams would head to the suddenly rare AHL shootout where things would get odd thanks to some early morning officiating.
Scheduled for three rounds, the officiating crew nearly let the shootout go to four and five rounds. Not a soul on the bench insisted this was wrong, and it just played out. Unfortunately for the Barons, on this day, even a five round shootout might not have helped too much, and the Barons would lose their second straight while gaining an extra point anyways.
The SO looked like this:
9 Rocco Grimaldi Goal
11 Steven Hodges No Goal
Oklahoma City Shootout
19 Jason Williams No Goal
16 Anton Lander No Goal
12 Ryan Hamilton No Goal
Three straight skaters without a goal puts the Barons into an official losing streak of sorts, but the lone point was secured, so not all is wrong in the world. A 3-2 shootout loss at the hands of the Rampage stings, but it also reminds us of the pending roadtrip this weekend.
Oklahoma City Barons Lineup:
Scratches: Musil (healthy), Kessy (healthy), Khaira (healthy), Pitlick (concussed still)