Photo by Steven Christy
With 32 points in 22 games the Oklahoma City Barons are looking mighty fine these days. The funny thing about this pretty lady is that she hasn’t always been pretty. Sometimes she is unsightly, withered, unhinged, complacent, and timid. But she always has a great mind, incredibly bright for the most part, and seemingly relishes in her transformation to a beautiful creature. That’s the beauty of this thing we call the Oklahoma City Barons.
This past weekend they dismantled two very good teams in Grand Rapids and Milwaukee.
The Griffins have had a bumpy start to the season, but had entertained the notion of getting better recently. The Barons scored three straight including one on the power play, and the defense handcuffed a dandy of a prospect in Teemu Pulkkinen (who scored the only goal for the Griffs). They killed all three penalties, got good work out of Richard Bachman, and Brandon Davidson found another really good gear in his game. Overall it was the crippling of a quality opponent that impressed me the most. The well-rounded feeling you get from this squad gives me chills.
The Ads are a burly joint in the same vein as their parent club in Nashville. Although this game wasn’t the stuff of legend, it pointed to the continuing ability to rattle off scoring after the halfway point of the game. With four goals coming past the 15:00 mark of the second period (including a PP goal and an empty netter) this is a Barons squad that can play deep, protect a lead, bend, not break, and manage to come out on top. Again good defense was the key in this one, and although it looked like they were going the way of the awful for a half-period, they roared back to life. Brossoit would face 9 then 12 then 15 shots over three periods, only letting in three, while the PK would finish the weekend perfect in thirteen chances. That’s right 0/13 went the opposition with an extra skater.
So here we are, the 8th day of December, and the Oklahoma City Barons head to Cedar Park, Texas for a Wednesday handshake with a frequently visited opponent. I don’t know about you, but 9-0-0-1 rumble over the last ten games has me thinking that this might be the best first half to the season that the Barons have ever played. That’s saying something.
As they ride high on an eight game win streak they continue to be the polar opposite version of the Edmonton Oilers in every possible way. High-achieving, high-shot-taking power play. Smart, agile penalty kill using 3/4 lines. Sneaky good five on five, and scoring throughout the lineup (although, the bulk of scoring still coming from more well-traveled fellas). They are deep, and also back-stopped by the ECHL squad in Bakersfield that is starting to develop good players (Schaber, Jones x2, Winquist).
In all they are such a good team. I’m sure you have heard by now.