OKC With Erie-tating Weekend, Split The Series

Photo by Steven Christy

Two games. The same opponent. Two wild finishes.

(dat headline, though)

The Oklahoma City Barons have traditionally been a straight forward team. They rely heavily on the play of their goaltenders. Insist on crisp, open-ice passing, and realize they need to be responsible for their own play (good or bad). This has allowed them to be a team prone to make better decisions more, and awful decisions less. They also don’t lose a ton of games playing this way.

Friday and Saturday were anything but Barons-esque.

The weekend set against the visiting Lake Erie Monsters was a wild ride on a wooden rollercoaster that had been doused in kerosene.

Each game would be decided by one goal as the Monsters really pressurized the Barons at every turn. The challenge for Oklahoma City was to mount an attack that didn’t bite their tail-end before the final horn of the game.

In game one, Richard Bachman did something he hasn’t done all season – let in three straight in the first period. Penalties fueled this fiasco as a late period Marincin high-stick gave the Monsters a chance they made good on as time was winnowing down in the first period. Thirteen shots, three goals, and a head hung low was what the Barons walked away with in the first twenty minutes of play. My mouth was agape at The Biz crashing, and burning, but I didn’t give him enough credit down the stretch.

The defense sandwiched the Erie forwards and kept their shot total at twelve for the remainder of regulation. This allowed Bachman to revive himself, and steady the squad when called jpon. Three straight goals from the 13:50 mark of the second period to the 19:05 mark of the third period were enough to put the Barons and Monsters in to OT. The heroics of one, Matt Ford, gave the Barons a late-game equalizer for the ages with Bachman out of the net. Ford, relatively good against the Monsters, proved his value to the team by demonstratively scoring a goal, his thirteenth of the season, in the way he did. To OT we go.

It took a full five minutes of OT, played completely at four on four, for Jordan Oesterle to blast a shot around Monsters tender Calvin Pickard to stamp a firm “W” on the Barons totals for the season.

Game two was another lesson in intestinal fortitude.

A low scoring game, one in which Mitch Moroz scored his first goal of the season, quickly became a situation of whom could play the best “keep away” from the other team. Nursing a one goal lead for much of the game, the Monsters took nearly 43 minutes to score their first goal of the game after scoring three straight in under twenty the night before. The beauty of it all was that Moroz’s first goal of the season almost was the golden goose that gave the Barons the win. Fate had other plans.

As the game appeared to be headed out of OT and in to a shootout, Ben Street gets hauled down by Jordan Oesterle (the savior the night before), and a penalty shot is rewarded at the 7:00 mark of the overtime frame. Street would beat young Laurent Brossoit high over the shoulder, and the Monsters would carry Street off into the sunset with a victory.

Two games. The same opponent. Two wild finishes.

Oklahoma City Barons Lineups:

Saturday
C. Hamilton-Williams-Pinizzotto
Hanson-Yakimov-Pakarinen
K. Jones-C. Jones-Ford
Moroz-Khaira-Ewanyk

Hunt-Davidson
Oesterle-Musil
Marincin-Simpson

Brossoit

Friday
C. Hamilton-Williams-Pinizzotto
Moroz-Yakimov-Pakarinen
K. Jones-C.Jones-Ford
Mele-Khaira-Hanson

Hunt-Davidson
Oesterle-Musil
Marincin-Gernat

Bachman