Ty Rimmer Recovering from Cancer Surgery

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy. All rights reserved.

Life always has a way of showing us, sports fans or not, what really truly matters, and Neal Livingston said it best — “Life is way more important than anything else. Not just how we live it, but how we tackle the odds against us. And human life always transcends entertainment, even in 2012 where the lines are blurred between the two.”

Today Ty Rimmer announced that he had surgery to remove a tumor after having been diagnosed with testicular cancer two weeks ago. Rimmer makes it clear that he is on his “way to a full recovery” and encourages “all young men to get themselves checked out.” As Neal wrote in 2012 when writing about Brandon Davidson’s diagnosis, “this form of cancer, although easily treated, typically strikes men in their early 20’s and 30’s. Often going under the radar, a monthly personal exam can lead to quick treatment and speedy recover.” Please, take Ty Rimmer’s words to heart, young men. Schedule an exam!

We wish you all the best, Ty Rimmer! We are looking forward to seeing you back on the ice very soon!

 

Ryan Hamilton and Richard Bachman Recalled

I’ve always assumed that the injury bugs that bite professional sport’s teams were in the shape and form of bed bugs. Unnoticeable to the untrained eye, feared by everyone, but altogether gross and disgusting. The Edmonton Oilers have been bitten, and it has been a rough go in recent games. With Taylor Hall and Beniot Pouliot officially on the IR, and Ben Scrivens “tweaked”, the NHL has come calling for two Oklahoma City players.

Announced today, forward Ryan Hamilton and goaltender Richard Bachman have been recalled to the mother ship.

UPDATE: Tyler Bunz re-assigned from Wichita Thunder. 

Despite a 50 / 50 split this weekend, both players have had pretty winning seasons through the month of February.

Hamilton, most recently, had a four point weekend with a goal and three assists. The two games were multi-point endeavors and featured him with two different centermen (Willians and Yakimov). Hamilton was a healthy / rotational scratch three games ago, but he seems to willingly insert himself offensively at the right moments.

Bachman doesn’t lose often, but he did against the frantic San Antonio Rampage on Saturday as he let in three straight in the third period. Zoinks. Records indicate he is a 14-4-3, .921, under 50 goals allowed AHL goaltender, which puts him in an elite class in the prospect league. He is a better-than-AHL player at the age of 27, and a ripe #3 organizationally for the Oilers.

Pakarinen, Lander, Marincin, Klefbom, and now Hamilton and Bachman – you toss Todd Nelson in to that group and the make-up of the Edmonton Oilers in 2015 is strikingly Barons-esque. Coming off a good win against a less-than-average New Jersey team doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, but it does stink of improvement if only minute.

The Oilers play the resurgent New York Islanders (who’ve been a case study in developing through drafting) this evening, while the Barons continue a five game road swing with a stop in Chicago, Rockford, and Iowa.

Look for the Barons to recall both a goaltender and two extra skaters as they only had seventeen players dressed in the most recent game (no word on the DTD status of Jones and Ford, fingers crossed however).

The Weekend Of 66, Barons Lose Then Win

Photo by Steven Christy

Congratulations, Oklahoma City Barons. You only won a single game this weekend (of two), and yet you have retained your spot as the best team (points wise) in the American Hockey League. Your journey to here and now is impressive, and with less than thirty games remaining, the world is your oyster. And remember, only buy oysters in months that have the letter “R” in them. Thanks grandma.

The Texas two-step that the Barons encountered this weekend was going to require some risky business to emerge unscathed. After some tough comp from the Lake Eri-tating Monsters a week ago, OKC would head south to play the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday night followed by the final trip to Austin (ever, most likely) to face the Texas Stars. This would roll out the beginning of a five-game road trip for the Barons as they march boldly towards Valentine’s Day.

Saturday night the Barons would jump out to a two-goal lead, and eventually allow San Antonio to get two right back. Then it was OKC that notched another followed by three straight in the third period for the Rampage. As I howled at the moon about the defensive guff that the Barons unfurled, I was also reminded that Richard Bachman is a human being. He is able to leap smallish doghouses in a single-bound, and is faster than a slow-moving Amtrack, but he is still flesh and bones (not steel, who knew?). When his defense caved, and his forward lost the puck battles, it got ugly. San Antonio ripped three straight goals, all at five on five, and all in span of 132 seconds. Nasty.

Hunt and both Hamilton’s would be your goal scorers with Brad and Ryan having multi-point nights. This tells me that perhaps there is a bit of a hole offensively that is shaped like a Finnish Hero that might be wandering around Edmonton these days. Then again, credit San Antonio for again being crafty, and again relying on Dan Ellis to be incredibly prepared and incredibly sound.

On Sunday afternoon at the CPC the offensive problems seemed to be fixed, and Brossoit would have a really good prospect hailing game against a team in Texas that is wanting to gain standing points and fast.

Glance at the bottom of this post for lines and pairs, but notice that the Barons ice 17 skaters on Sunday. Interesting, to say the least, but more telling is how well the forwards gelled against a rivalry opponent (with OKC hockey leaving soon, I’ll do a 180 and call the Texas / OKC a rivalry. about time).

Some funny business from Steve Pinizzotto the night before where he was given consecutive elbow and roughing penalties spilled over in to the first period of the game against Texas. A twelve minute unsportsmanlike penalty nearly (and probably should have) put the Stars up early, the Barons were able to do good work on the PK. Swapping goals, Andrew Miller and Derek Hulak would render the first period a tie.

Brad Hunt would whistle a gargantuan shot on the PP through Jussi Rynnas to give the Barons a one-goal lead. Jujhar Khaira would tack on some insurance, his third of the year, to allow the Barons to hang on by two goals. Despite a early power play goal in the third from Greg Rallo, the Barons and Laurent Brossoit were able to cling to a one-goal lead for nearly nineteen minutes.

The Barons would split the weekend games, but crest the butte of the AHL mountain with 66 points just ahead of the Syracuse Crunch in the East with 65. The real barn burner in the West is the battle for the final playoff spot with sixth and eleventh being separated by six points.

The Barons will head to Chicago on Friday where they will begin a three-in-three (Rockford Saturday, Iowa Sunday). But fret not, for a five game home-stand is just around the corner.

Saturday Lineup:

R. Hamilton-Williams-Pinizzotto
Miller-Yakimov-Ford
C. Hamilton-Khaira-Winquist
Moroz-Ewanyk-K. Jones

Hunt-Davidson
Oesterle-Musil
Simpson-Gernat

Bachman

Scratched – Connor Jones (DTD), Kale Kessy & Kellan Lain

Sunday Lineup:

C. Hamilton-Williams-Pinizzotto
R. Hamilton-Yakimov-Miller
K. Jones-Khaira-Winquist
Moroz-Ewanyk

Hunt-Davidson
Oesterle-Musil
Simpson-Gernat

Scratched – Matt Ford (DTD), Connor Jones (DTD(, Kale Kessy & Kellan Lain

Martin Marincin Recalled By The Edmonton Oilers

Photo by Steven Christy

Martin Marincin, the bean with the dream, has been recalled by the Edmonton Oilers. I start there because the story of Marty in his final year of an entry level contract is a tale of “will he or won’t he”. That doesn’t mean that Marincin “hasn’t or won’t”, but that there are still a ton of question marks on the defensive prospect that three seasons hasn’t quite answered.

Let’s talk locally. Marincin has been a bit of a squeeky door for the Barons since his demotion from Edmonton. He is back to looking like a rookie with no NHL TOI. Awkward in the corners and in neutral ice, prone to mistakes that shouldn’t happen at this stage in the game, and want to be a tepid puck handler and blue line basher. He’s not soft, but flimsy. He’s not careful, but too cautious. He’s not really good between the ears, but distracted by something. And while the Oklahoma City Barons continue to pave the way to greatness as a team, he is slowly dipping below Davidson, Hunt, and maybe one more on the depth chart. Yikes.

But remember, he is a player that seems to over-achieve when given the spotlight (or at least a dim incandescent flood light). His most recent games with the Oilers (12 to date) haven’t been all that bad, and were certainly better than those of Keith Aulie (and more). His problem now will be to come close or even-to the quality of minutes that Oscar Klefbom is finally creating. By comparison Klefbom and even Brandon Davidson are stepping out of the minor league shadows, and actually paving the way for future success with the team that drafted them.

I think Marincin could get back to where he was as long as he fixes the things going on between his ears. We’ve seen this over the last two seasons happen to Martin Gernat – his head seems elsewhere at times – and don’t think for a moment that Marincin can’t resurrect himself out of the cobwebs of his own mind. He is a talented player, one who has unveiled those talents in the NHL regularly, he just has to put together the physical, and the metaphysical in to a blender, put it on 10, and grind out sweet tasting play.

Recently his AHL numbers point to a fella struggling a bit (for the season he only has 7 points in 27 games), but if you are trying to quantify how good he is based on goals, assists, points or plus/minus, you probably have done something unspeakable. We have watched Marincin’s minutes go down in the last two weeks, and he has been swapped between Dillon Simpson and Martin Gernat. With those two defenders struggling equal to that of Marincin (if not more so) it has been difficult to gauge the true level of success, but let’s just say it has been soggy for some time.

Speaking from the heart, I believe this is Marincin’s shot. The Oilers have nothing to lose beyond draft lotto standings, and neither does Martin. This is the kid, after all, that has Olympic ice time. That played beautifully when the Oilers otherwise were doing the opposite. I am holding out hope on this prospect because I think the Oilers are willing to give him a good spin through the league in the coming weeks. Fingers and toes crossed, my friends.

The ECHL’s Wild West Central Division – January

  TEAM GP WIN LOSS OTL SOL PTS PT% MAX PTS PACE PTS
1 Allen Americans 41 30 7 2 2 64 0.780 126 112
2 Quad City Mallards 41 20 15 4 2 46 0.561 108 81
3 Wichita Thunder 43 20 17 2 4 46 0.535 104 77
4 Tulsa Oilers 44 21 19 1 3 46 0.523 102 75
5 Rapid City Rush 43 18 22 0 3 39 0.453 97 65
6 Missouri Mavericks 40 17 19 2 2 38 0.475 102 68
7 Brampton Beast 41 13 26 2 0 28 0.341 90 49

 

The Central Division Playoff Race Begins

At the end of January it is time to begin to take a closer look at the Central Division’s playoff race and the teams situation as it now stands. This data is compiled using each team’s point percentage setting a team’s pace for the remainder of the season. This can tell you a great deal about how your team is doing, but there are no guarantees at this point. No one team has been ruled out mathematically as yet, however for at least one, Brampton, the situation is dire.

Eric Rodgers has prepared the Central Division playoff numbers (MAX PTS & PACE PTS seen in the last 2 columns above) and provides an explanation:

Pace is the team’s point percentage over 72 games. So for Brampton, 34.1% of 144 (max points) is 49.

Mathematical cutoff is when a team’s maximum points fall below the number of points that the 4th place team has achieved. To use Brampton as an example — if Brampton wins every last game, Wichita, Quad City, and Tulsa would need to earn 91 points to eliminate them. Brampton has almost been eliminated by pace points, but not mathematically as yet.

 Thanks to Eric Rodgers for his stats and explanation.

1| Allen Americans – 13 games in January – 10-2-1-0 (21 points)

The Allen Americans continue their roll, even with the loss of one of their top scorers Jack Combs, winning 10 games out of 13 this month. The team was also without Greger Hanson for short periods, as he was loaned to AHL teams Worcester (1/21) and OKC Barons (1/31). However, don’t feel too sorry for Allen, they still have Chad Costello, the ECHL leader in points with 21 goals and 28 assists (69 points). Allen faced three non-division teams (Indy, Toledo and Kalamazoo) and came away with 1 win, 1 loss in regulation and 1 loss in overtime.  The only other Allen loss came this past weekend when they split of set of games against Rapid City in Allen. The Americans lead the entire ECHL league with 64 points, their closest competitors being the Florida Everblades at 62 points, and the Toledo Walleye and Fort Wayne Komets, both with 61 points. Not bad for an upstart former CHL team joining the ECHL at the last minute this summer!

Oct: 3 Games in October – 2-1-0-0- (4 points)

Nov: 12 Games in November – 9-3-0-0- (18 points)

Dec: 3 games in December – 9-1-1-2 (21 points)

Current Overall team stats: 30-7-2-2 (64 points in 41 games). Last month in 2nd. Trending: ↑

Date: Time: Visiting Team: Home Team:
Fri, Jan 2, 2015 7:05 pm CST Rapid City 3 at Allen 4
Sun, Jan 4, 2015 4:05 pm CST Wichita 2 at Allen 3
Tue, Jan 6, 2015 7:05 pm CST Allen 2 at Missouri 1
Sat, Jan 10, 2015 7:05 pm CST Missouri 3 at Allen 4 in OT
Sun, Jan 11, 2015 4:05 pm CST Missouri 1 at Allen 3
Fri, Jan 16, 2015 7:05 pm CST Wichita 2 at Allen 8
Sat, Jan 17, 2015 7:05 pm CST Wichita 4 at Allen 6
Mon, Jan 19, 2015 1:05 pm CST Missouri 2 at Allen 5
Fri, Jan 23, 2015 7:35 pm EST Allen 1 at Indy 4
Sat, Jan 24, 2015 7:15 pm EST Allen 3 at Toledo 1
Sun, Jan 25, 2015 3:00 pm EST Allen 3 at Kalamazoo 4 in OT
Thu, Jan 29, 2015 7:05 pm CST Rapid City 2 at Allen 6
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 7:05 pm CST Rapid City 6 at Allen 3

 

2| Quad City Mallards – 10 games in January – 4-5-1-0 (9 points)

Quad City Mallards have been hit and miss this month, partly due to recent call-ups. Parker Milner and Nicholas Rioux had short call-ups to the AHL’s Iowa Wild and Mario Lamoureux received a quick call-up to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  Quad City faced all division rivals this month: 2 games against Missouri and QC lost both; 5 games against Wichita, QC won 1 in OT and 1 in regulation; 2 games against Rapid City, and QC won 1; and 1 game against Brampton which was a win for Quad City. As of the first of February, Quad City is in a 3-way tie for 2nd place with Wichita and Tulsa, with 46 points.

Oct: 4 games in October –  2-2-0-0 (4 points).

Nov: 13 Games in November – 5-3-3-2 (15 points).

Dec: 14 games in December – 9-5-0-0 (18 points).

Current Overall team stats: 20-15-4-2 (46 points in 41 games). Last month 4th. Trending: →

Date: Time: Visiting Team: Home Team:
Fri, Jan 2, 2015 7:05 pm CST Missouri 4 at Quad City 2
Sat, Jan 3, 2015 7:05 pm CST Quad City 2 at Wichita 3
Wed, Jan 7, 2015 7:05 pm CST Wichita 3 at Quad City 4 in OT
Fri, Jan 9, 2015 7:05 pm CST Wichita 4 at Quad City 1
Fri, Jan 16, 2015 7:05 pm CST Rapid City 4 at Quad City 3 in OT
Sun, Jan 18, 2015 4:05 pm CST Rapid City 1 at Quad City 3
Sat, Jan 24, 2015 7:05 pm CST Quad City 1 at Missouri 2
Wed, Jan 28, 2015 7:05 pm CST Wichita 4 at Quad City 2
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 7:05 pm CST Quad City 3 at Wichita 1
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 7:05 pm CST Brampton 1 at Quad City 3

 

3| Wichita Thunder – 13 games in January – 5-7-1-0- (11 points)

Wichita’s January has been up and down. During the early part of the month the team was playing short-handed as forwards Kenton Miller and Danick Gauthier received call-ups to the AHL, and Dalton Reum was injured in the January 7th game. Wichita added Travis Granbois and Mike MacIntyre to the roster, however the Thunder’s defense still played short-handed with only 5 players for a stretch.

The Thunder faced one non-division opponent this month, the Evansville IceMen, and split that pair of games. Of their division opponents they saw Quad City 5 times and won 3, lost 1 in Overtime and lost the other in regulation; 3 games against Allen and they lost all 3; they split 2 games against Rapid City; and the Thunder lost their 1 game against Missouri. As of the first of February, Wichita is in a 3-way tie for 2nd place with Quad City and Tulsa, with 46 points.

Oct: 3 Games in October – 1-1-1-0 (3 points)

Nov: 15 Games in November – 7-5-0-3 (17 points).

Dec: 12 games in December – 7-4-0-1 (15 points).

Current Overall team stats: 20-17-2-4 (46 points in 43 games). Last month in 3rd. Trending: →

Date: Time: Visiting Team: Home Team:
Sat, Jan 3, 2015 7:05 pm CST Quad City 2 at Wichita 3
Sun, Jan 4, 2015 4:05 pm CST Wichita 2 at Allen 3
Wed, Jan 7, 2015 7:05 pm CST Wichita 3 at Quad City 4 in OT
Fri, Jan 9, 2015 7:05 pm CST Wichita 4 at Quad City 1
Sat, Jan 10, 2015 7:05 pm CST Evansville 5 at Wichita 3
Sun, Jan 11, 2015 5:05 pm CST Evansville 3 at Wichita 4
Fri, Jan 16, 2015 7:05 pm CST Wichita 2 at Allen 8
Sat, Jan 17, 2015 7:05 pm CST Wichita 4 at Allen 6
Fri, Jan 23, 2015 7:05 pm MST Wichita 4 at Rapid City 5
Sat, Jan 24, 2015 7:05 pm MST Wichita 4 at Rapid City 3 in SO
Wed, Jan 28, 2015 7:05 pm CST Wichita 4 at Quad City 2
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 7:05 pm CST Quad City 3 at Wichita 1
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 7:05 pm CST Wichita 0 at Missouri 4

 

4| Tulsa Oilers – 12 games in January – 7-4-0-1 (15 points)

The Tulsa Oilers seem to have recovered from their horrific December. Tulsa traveled to sunny Florida to face a top ranked Florida Everblades and the Orlando Solar Bears and brought home 3 points in a respectable showing against their non-division opponents. They also faced some rather soft opponents in January as well, winning all 3 games against Brampton, and 3 out of 5 against Rapid City. Tulsa can’t afford another month like December’s and still expect to make the playoffs. As of the first of February, Tulsa is in a 3-way tie for 2nd place with Quad City and Wichita with 46 points.

Oct: 4 games in October – 2-1-1-0 (5 points).

Nov: 14 games in November – 8-4-0-2 (18 points)

Dec: 14 games in December – 4-10-0-0 (8 points).

Current Overall team stats: 21-19-1-3 (46 points in 44 games). Last month in 1st place. Trending: ↗

Date: Time: Visiting Team: Home Team:
Fri, Jan 2, 2015 7:35 pm CST Brampton 4 at Tulsa 5 in OT
Sat, Jan 3, 2015 7:35 pm CST Rapid City 1 at Tulsa 3
Sun, Jan 4, 2015 4:05 pm CST Rapid City 6 at Tulsa 3
Tue, Jan 6, 2015 6:35 pm MST Tulsa 6 at Rapid City 0
Fri, Jan 9, 2015 7:05 pm MST Tulsa 1 at Rapid City 2 in SO
Sat, Jan 10, 2015 7:05 pm MST Tulsa 5 at Rapid City 3
Wed, Jan 14, 2015 7:30 pm EST Tulsa 6 at Florida 5 in SO
Fri, Jan 16, 2015 7:30 pm EST Tulsa 2 at Florida 4
Sat, Jan 17, 2015 7:00 pm EST Tulsa 4 at Orlando 6
Fri, Jan 23, 2015 7:05 pm CST Tulsa 2 at Missouri 4
Thu, Jan 29, 2015 7:00 pm CST Brampton 2 at Tulsa 5
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 7:35 pm CST Brampton 2 at Tulsa 4

 

5| Rapid City Rush – 13 games in January – 6-6-0-1 (13 points)

Rapid City has been shuffling their roster in an effort to grab some much needed points in this crucial run to the playoffs.  Five new players joined their roster in January, along with 2 loans. Sitting in 5th position with 39 points, the Rush are 7 points behind the 3-way tie in 2nd and they seriously need to being a big push in February to narrow that margin .

Oct: 6 Games in October – 2-3-0-1 (5 points).

Nov: 12 Games in November – 3-9-0-0 (6 points).

Dec: 12 games in December – 7-4-0-1 (15 points).

Current overall Team Stats: 18-22-0-3 (39 points in 43 games). Last month in 6th. Trending: →

Date: Time: Visiting Team: Home Team:
Fri, Jan 2, 2015 7:05 pm CST Rapid City 3 at Allen 4
Sat, Jan 3, 2015 7:35 pm CST Rapid City 1 at Tulsa 3
Sun, Jan 4, 2015 4:05 pm CST Rapid City 6 at Tulsa 3
Tue, Jan 6, 2015 6:35 pm MST Tulsa 6 at Rapid City 0
Fri, Jan 9, 2015 7:05 pm MST Tulsa 1 at Rapid City 2 in SO
Sat, Jan 10, 2015 7:05 pm MST Tulsa 5 at Rapid City 3
Fri, Jan 16, 2015 7:05 pm CST Rapid City 4 at Quad City 3 in OT
Sat, Jan 17, 2015 7:05 pm CST Rapid City 3 at Missouri 1
Sun, Jan 18, 2015 4:05 pm CST Rapid City 1 at Quad City 3
Fri, Jan 23, 2015 7:05 pm MST Wichita 4 at Rapid City 5
Sat, Jan 24, 2015 7:05 pm MST Wichita 4 at Rapid City 3 in SO
Thu, Jan 29, 2015 7:05 pm CST Rapid City 2 at Allen 6
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 7:05 pm CST Rapid City 6 at Allen 3

 

6| Missouri Mavericks – 11 games in January – 4-6-1-0 (9 points)

Since the season started Missouri has almost turned over their entire roster with 23 players added, according to Elite Prospects. In January alone the team had 12 transactions of players added and deleted from their roster. Late in the month the team announced the release of Sebastian Geoffrion, and it has been rumored that his injury might be the issue unfortunately.  With 38 points, Missouri is 1 point behind Rapid City, but 8 points behind the 3-way tie logjam in 2nd place. The Mavericks have slightly better Maximum and Pace points over Rapid City and the clock is ticking.

Oct: 3 Games in October – 1-2-0-0 (2 points).

Nov: 13 games in November – 6-7-0-0- (12 points).

Dec: 13 games in December – 6-4-1-2 (15 points)

Current overall team stats: 17-19-2-2 (38 points in 40 games). Last month in 5th. Trending: ↘

Date: Time: Visiting Team: Home Team:
Fri, Jan 2, 2015 7:05 pm CST Missouri 4 at Quad City 2
Sat, Jan 3, 2015 7:05 pm CST Brampton 3 at Missouri 0
Tue, Jan 6, 2015 7:05 pm CST Allen 2 at Missouri 1
Fri, Jan 9, 2015 7:05 pm CST Evansville 4 at Missouri 1
Sat, Jan 10, 2015 7:05 pm CST Missouri 3 at Allen 4 in OT
Sun, Jan 11, 2015 4:05 pm CST Missouri 1 at Allen 3
Sat, Jan 17, 2015 7:05 pm CST Rapid City 3 at Missouri 1
Mon, Jan 19, 2015 1:05 pm CST Missouri 2 at Allen 5
Fri, Jan 23, 2015 7:05 pm CST Tulsa 2 at Missouri 4
Sat, Jan 24, 2015 7:05 pm CST Quad City 1 at Missouri 2
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 7:05 pm CST Wichita 0 at Missouri 4

 

7| Brampton Beast – 14 games in January – 4-9-1-0 (9 points)

The Brampton Beast are in the midst of a very rough season and only one month, November, has the team actually won more games that they lost. Brampton primarily faced a tough out-of-conference team lineup in January (Elmira, Wheeling and Reading) with a record of 3-6-0-0. The remainder of their schedule was against Central Division teams (Tulsa, Missouri and Quad City) with a record of 1-3-1-0. The Beast have not been eliminated from the playoffs yet, but they are certainly headed in that direction.

Oct: 3 games in October – 0-2-1-0 (1 point)

Nov:  11 games in November – 6-5-0-0 (12 points).

Dec: 13 games in December – 3-10-0-0 (6 points).

Current overall team stats: 13-26-2-0 (28 points in 41 games) Last month in 7th. Trending: ↘

Date: Time: Visiting Team: Home Team:
Fri, Jan 2, 2015 7:35 pm CST Brampton 4 at Tulsa 5 in OT
Sat, Jan 3, 2015 7:05 pm CST Brampton 3 at Missouri 0
Fri, Jan 9, 2015 7:05 pm EST Brampton 1 at Elmira 4
Sat, Jan 10, 2015 7:05 pm EST Brampton 4 at Reading 2
Sun, Jan 11, 2015 5:05 pm EST Brampton 2 at Reading 6
Fri, Jan 16, 2015 7:30 pm EST Wheeling 5 at Brampton 2
Sat, Jan 17, 2015 7:00 pm EST Wheeling 7 at Brampton 2
Sun, Jan 18, 2015 2:00 pm EST Wheeling 1 at Brampton 2
Fri, Jan 23, 2015 7:30 pm EST Elmira 3 at Brampton 1
Sat, Jan 24, 2015 7:00 pm EST Elmira 4 at Brampton 2
Sun, Jan 25, 2015 2:00 pm EST Elmira 1 at Brampton 4
Thu, Jan 29, 2015 7:00 pm CST Brampton 2 at Tulsa 5
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 7:35 pm CST Brampton 2 at Tulsa 4
Sat, Jan 31, 2015 7:05 pm CST Brampton 1 at Quad City 3

 

We will check back at the end of February to see how the West’s Central Division is doing and in the meantime head out to watch a few of these teams!

The Iiro Pakarinen Recall Is A Worth While Endeavor

Photo by Steven Christy

Iiro Pakarinen has easily been the breakout star for the Oklahoma City Barons this season. I eyeballed his potential during the offseason simply because he was a Finnish winger, a thing that OKC had always had until they didn’t. Big bodied, well managed around the world, and a defensive / offensive threat – he was built for North American hockey, and certainly for the 14-15 Edmonton Oilers.

He was recalled early in the season, even scored a goal, but was quickly returned after five games. The change in coaches is likely going to push a lot of players like Iiro (there aren’t many like him, by the way) in to the big leagues simply because Todd Nelson knows them intimately. The skinny on Iiro is that he is a worth while endeavor, perhaps even long after this season.

He is poised to hit career pro highs in all statistical categories, and he’s played less than 45 games through the 14-15 season. He scores, he assists, he is responsible – he is easily the Barons only reliable source for scoring and offensive defending. Yet let’s pause just for a minute, and discuss his intangibles (a word I loathe, but certainly works here).

Like Anton Lander, who has revived his career with Todd Nelson in the quiver, Pakarinen is a better-than-AHL player that works well with good placement in the lineup, but more than that, can do so many things right.

Defensively he is a gift from the gods. He understands the angles of the game better than most forwards his age. This is a portion of his game that goes under-appreciated, but it is probably the most admirable quality that Iiro possesses on the ice.

Offensively he is as strong as an ox, agile on his feet, and Teemu Hartikainen-like with about 35 more pounds of extra girth. He is a challenging forward for defenses as he is about as nimble as a Finnish player can be. His strength is, well, in his strength. Hands that can hit marks around the frame of the goal, and accompanying stick work that is NHL-esque in every possible way.

The fact that he has now played 30+ AHL games and only 5 NHL ones is terribly frightful. But it is something that Iiro fancies a challenge. He is certainly worth the investment that the Oilers are willing to make, and with Todd Nelson in the drivers seat, Iiro The Hero will do great things. Go get ’em!

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