Barons Beat Ads 5-1, End Goal Hemorrhaging

Here we are. After allowing twelve goals in six periods, the Barons would touch down in Milwaukee in hopes of finally playing a good game, hence a respectable game. I keep saying this, but Laurent Brossoit needs a fixer upper type of game to prevent his downward spiral from continuing. As we have seen, young-ish goaltenders do this from time to time, heck all goaltenders do this from time to time. Yet the losses, in horrible fashion, can be debilitating.

With the weekend winding down, the Oklahoma City Barons would finally play a good game. They would hand the Milwaukee Admirals a strong 5-1 defeat, and allow the team to turn the corner on some recent rough patches.

This team is gassed, and having the Saturday off for travel likely helped the team screw its head on straight. The first period began with a Jason Williams goal (number 19 on the season), and is steadily becoming the Barons only consistent offensive force. The first period would round itself out with a heckuva power play goal by one heads-up prospect in Bogdan Yakimov. The shot totals were low for both teams (7) to start the game, but Brossoit made two really sound stops in high-intensity situations.

Nursing a 2-1 lead, OKC would welcome C.J. Stretch back to the scoreboard as the Cali kid would put his team up 3-0 nearly 25 minutes in to the game. The Barons continued to have few shots, but were able to capitalize on the finer things in the game, and this gave them wings to fly.

Milwaukee would score an early third period goal, but the Barons quickly pushed back scoring their fourth and fifth goals of the game (from Winquist and Kellen Jones, both with five goals this season). The funny business reared its ugly head as roughs, ‘cuffs, and other stuffs came full circle in the form of Tristan Grant, everyone’s favorite knucklehead (unless he’s playing for your team, of course). The game would end with Grant receiving a fighting major, an instigator penalty, and the instigating in the final five minutes to bring his game totals. Then there’s Mitch Moroz, who was wrapped around a scrap and other things of his own, and ended the evening with 29 PIM. Yowza.

Laurent Brossoit would have the game we knew he could have, stopping all but one shot in 33 attempts.

Needless to say, this one ends favoring the Barons, but only after some crazy monkey business towards the end.

Oklahoma City Barons Lineup:

C. Hamilton-Williams-Ford
Miller-Yakimov-Stretch
K. Jones-C. Jones-Winquist
Moroz-Ewanyk-Schaber

Davidson-Hunt
Simpson-Musil
Gernat-Ludwig

Brossoit

Scratches: Akim Aliu, Jujhar Khaira, Steve Pinizzotto, Kale Kessy, Kellan Lain (all injured)

You’ll notice that Chase Schaber is back with the club. After being released from a PTO only a week ago, he would get another shot with the AHL with both Aliu and Khaira on the injured list. No updates on the status of those two at the time of this post.

Brad Winchester will join the team in Oklahoma City this week. He hasn’t played an AHL game since January 15th.

The ECHL’s Wild West Central Division – February

March 7, 2015 Central Division Standings

The Central Division Playoff Race

One week into March and the Central Division playoff race is changing game to game as four teams battle it out for the last three spots in the division. The Allen Americans have distanced themselves far enough from the rest of the group that none of the teams below them can ever catch up, so don’t even worry about that number one spot. The rankings above are based on points gathered by each team as of March 7th, including their Maximum Points and Pace Points.  This data is compiled using each team’s point percentage setting a team’s pace for the remainder of the season. These numbers can tell you a great deal about how your team is doing, however 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 since the team has already been eliminated by their current pace points.

Explanation for MAX PTS and PACE PTS seen in the last 2 columns above:

Pace is the team’s point percentage over 72 games. So for Brampton, 36.1% of 144 (max points) is 52.

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 and Rapid City would need to earn 76 points to eliminate them. Brampton has already been eliminated by pace points, but not mathematically as yet.

 Thanks to Eric Rodgers for his stats and explanation.

February Games in the Central Division 

1| Allen Americans – 12 games in February – 6-3-2-1 (15 points)

The Allen Americans continue their roll through the Central Division however they are beginning to slow down just a bit. In their 12 games in February they only came away with 15 points which is the worst they have performed all season long. The Americans lost six games against the Ontario Reign, Wichita Thunder (1 in OT; 1 in SO); Quad City Mallards, Tulsa and Brampton (in OT). As of March 7th the Americans still hold top place in the overall ECHL, however the Fort Wayne Komets are very close, just 1 point behind.

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)
Jan: 13 games in January – 10-2-1-0 (21 points)

Overall team stats through February: 36-10-4-3 (79 points in 53 games). Last month in 1st. Trending: →

2| Quad City Mallards – 14 games in February — 8-6-0-0 (16 points)

The Mallards have remained fairly steady in 2nd place, winning the majority of their 14 games in February although not by much. Quad City lost six games to Wichita, Missouri (shutout), Tulsa, Allen and Brampton (2 games). As of March 7th the Mallards have a solid 4-point lead over the 3rd and 4th ranked teams Wichita and Rapid City.

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).
Jan: 10 games in January – 4-5-1-0 (9 points)

Overall team stats through February: 28-21-4-2 (62 points in 55 games). Last month in 2nd. Trending: ↗

3| Wichita Thunder – 9 games in February — 5-3-0-1 (11 points)

Wichita only faced 9 games in February and lost 3 games in regulation to Quad City, Rapid City and Tulsa, and a fourth game in a shootout to Allen. Wichita played the number one ranked team Allen Americans in three back-to-back games, winning two of the series in overtime and a shootout, and losing one in a shootout. Near the end of February the Thunder had temporarily dropped into 5th place as the Oilers and Rapid City gained points on them, however now at March 7th the team has rebounded back into 3rd with 61 points, tied with Rapid City. The best news for Wichita is that they have games in hand over most of the teams except for the Allen Americans and the Brampton Beast — and to be truthful, neither one of these teams factor into their standings, except that Wichita will need to win as many games as possible against the two teams.

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).
Jan: 13 games in January – 5-7-1-0- (11 points).

Overall team stats through February: 27-20-2-5 (57 points in 52 games). Last month in 3rd. Trending: ↗

4| Rapid City Rush – 13 games in February — 9-3-1-0 (19 points)

The Rapid City Rush went on a winning streak in February for the push to move up in the standings and they were very successful. Out of their 13 games the Rush only lost 3 in regulation and 1 in overtime: two shutout losses to Brampton, 1 loss to Missouri, and their 4th loss was against Tulsa in overtime. Other teams should be watching Rapid City very carefully since they can easily bump someone out of the playoff race altogether.

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).
Jan: 13 games in January – 6-6-0-1 (13 points)

Overall Team Stats through February: 27-25-1-3 (58 points in 56 games). Last month in 5th. Trending: ↗

5| Tulsa Oilers – 11 games in February — 6-5-0-0 (12 points)

The Tulsa Oilers are the Jekyll and Hyde team of the Central Division this season. They had an outstanding push in November, fell dramatically in December only to recover in January. While the Oilers won more games than they lost in February it was just barely as they gave up 3 games to Rapid City, and 1 each to Missouri and Quad City. Can the team rally again? That is the big question mark for March and the Oilers. Their pace points are even with Rapid City’s at 76, but Rapid City is also trending far more positively. Keep a watch on Tulsa — this is where they have to begin to win far more games.

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).
Jan: 12 games in January – 7-4-0-1 (15 points)

Overall team stats through February: 27-24-1-3 (58 points in 55 games). Last month in 4th place. Trending: →

6| Missouri Mavericks – 13 games in February — 3-9-1-0- (7 points)

The Mavericks are in a very tough spot, losing far more than winning over the past month. Out of their 13 games they lost 4 games to Quad City, 4 games to Rapid City, 1 game to Wichita and 1 game to Allen in overtime. The team has been juggling their roster over the month of February but so far there are no positive signs of improvement. The situation is becoming very dire for the Mavericks and their pace points are not at all encouraging.

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)
Jan: 11 games in January – 4-6-1-0 (9 points)

Overall team stats through February: 20-28-3-2 (45 points in 53 games). Last month in 5th. Trending: ↘

7| Brampton Beast – 12 games in February — 5-7-0-0- (10 points)

The Brampton Beast are in the midst of a very rough season and we saw the first signs that they have accepted the fact that they cannot make any moves into a playoff spot. Brampton traded their defenseman Steven Tarasuk to the Allen Americans in return for Allen’s Brett Lyon in late February and just this week (on March 3rd) they traded their goaltender Grant Rollheiser to the Wichita Thunder for future considerations. While on their recent road trip to the southwest the Beast beat Allen in overtime which has a huge win for the boys, but sadly it is far too late. The Beast have not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, however they have been eliminated as far as their pace points.

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).
Jan: 14 games in January – 4-9-1-0 (9 points)

Overall team stats through February: 18-33-2-0 (38 points in 53 games) Last month in 7th. Trending: →

Oklahoma City Barons Lose Big Again, 5-1 To Rockford

Following a 7-1 clobbering at the hands of the skills-heavy Grand Rapids Griffins, the Oklahoma City Barons looked to revive the weekend with a trip to Rockford to face the frozen pigs. The good news is that they didn’t give up seven straight goals. The bad news is that they still lost 5-1.

Luarent Brossoit needed a good game, but again he struggled mightily. Whereas the Barons scored the first goal in the lopsided 7-1 defeat, they would actually have to claw back to good-standing early in this one after two goals in the first twelve minutes of the game. The Barons would get a power play goal from vet Jason Williams to bring the team within one near the thirteenth minute of the first period.

All seemed well and good, until the defensive core turned sour, Brossoit was unable to seal the edges, and Rockford would again score two straight to start a period. The Barons were sideways in their own end, and really couldn’t manage to play themselves out of the hole. Another goal in the third period handed the Barons a 5-1 defeat.

The two losses this weekend were ugly. Being outscored 12-2 in six periods is “woof” worthy. They will be knocked off the pile as the “best in the West” too, and perhaps that bugs me the most.

The Barons head to Milwaukee for a game on Sunday, start time 4:00pm.

Oklahoma City Barons Lineup:

C. Hamilton-Williams-Ford
Miller-Yakimov-Stretch
K. Jones-C. Jones-Winquist
Moroz-Ewanyk

Davidson-Hunt
Simpson-Musil
Gernat-Ludwig

Brossoit

Scratches: Akim Aliu, Jujhar Khaira, Steve Pinizzotto, Kale Kessy & Kellan Lain (all injured).

The Oklahoma City Barons only skated eleven forwards tonight with injuries to Akim Aliu and Jujhar Khaira. Aliu, in particular, had been struggling with an injury (and supposedly was fully ready) at the the time of his call-up. ‘Tis a head-scratcher as to why you would bring him in knowing this, especially when he’s mid-pack in scoring with Bakersfield. Shoulder shrugs for days…

Grand Rapids Hammers OKC 7-1, Pulkkinen The Trick

Photo by Sam Iannamico. All rights reserved.

I apologize in advance. I told you that number one OKC vs number two Grand Rapids would be a showcase of two of the best teams to play in the West. That Brossoit vs. Mrazek would be one dandy of a goaltending fight. That Andrew Miller was somehow on the same plataeu as Teemu Pulkkinen. That defensively the Barons could somehow match the skill and size of a team that has long been filled with smart, intelligent, and fabulous forwards. I was wrong.

March 4th, 2015 will go in the record books as a game to forget if you are a fan of the Oklahoma City Barons. The Grand Rapids Griffins would hammer the Oklahoma City Barons 7-1 as Teemu Pulkkinen scores a hat trick.

The strangest thing happened to start the game. Andrew Miller, in the first two minutes of the game, would make one amazing highlight reel of a pass to Martin Gernat. That pass, nearly behind the net, hit Gernat right on his stick as he charged full steam at opposing goaltender Petr Mrazek. Mrazek, having never lost to the Barons before, looked dumbfounded by Gernat’s first goal of the season. Frankly, I was too. It was a fantastic showcase of talent, and the Barons appeared to be in fine condition. What happened next was an unsightly finish.

The Griffins would go on a seven goal tear through the next 58 minutes. It was really quite a thing to behold, and yet it made me nauseous. Two goals in the first period, two goals in the second period, three goals in the third – that’s seven straight goals from the Midwestern team of infant Red Wings.

Teemu Pulkkinen, a blue chipper of a prospect, would have three goals (not including one disallowed for interference) as did four other Griffins players. The Barons were bumfuzzled.

Laurent Brossoit isn’t entirely to blame for the four straight he let in, after all he played two periods and stopped 23 of 27. Should have been better, but he didn’t have much to work with in front of him. Nonetheless, in came Tyler Bunz when the game was 4-1 and teetering on insufferable. Bunz hadn’t had a gametime rep since the end of January. His last AHL playing time? Over an entire calendar year ago. So he comes in and gives up three more. Three goals on ten shots, and the shellacking continued.

The eventual 7-1 victory for the Griffins would be their ninth straight win, and a peek behind the curtain of the current shape of the Barons. Are they better than losing 7-1 on the road? Sure they are. Yet it is hard to find a way to explain how mismatched they looked against the world-beaters in Grand Rapids.

The top defensive pairing in Brandon Davidson and Brad Hunt was hit with wave upon wave of acceleration. Davidson would be on the ice for four of the goals. Brad Hunt would be on the ice for five (caught in a shift change for the extra). Offensively the Barons had their chances, and even within the multi-goal deficit they found themselves in, players could find seems. They would end the night taking nearly forty shots, but going zero in three chances on the power play. They simply were unable to execute as well as the Griffins, and Van Andel Arena became an un-comely sight (sidenote: one of the best minor league arenas in the country).

So the Barons begin the three-game road swing with a loss, a bad loss, and will do their best to resurrect themselves against Rockford on Friday. With twenty games until the end of the season, let us hope that March 4th, 2015 in Grand Rapids goes in the record books as an apparition, a Casper-like moment that disappears when the lights come on. CLICK I’ve already forgotten.

Oklahoma City Barons Lineup:

C. Hamilton-Williams-Ford
Miller-Yakimov-Stretch
Moroz-Ewanyk-Aliu
K. Jones-Khaira-C. Jones

Davidson-Hunt
Simpson-Musil
Gernat-Ludwig

Laurent Brossoit (Bunz in relief, final 20:00)

Scratches: Steve Pinizzotto, Kale Kessy & Kellan Lain (injured), Josh Winquist (healthy)

Barons Begin Road Trip (Hopefully No Stumble) Against #2 Griffins

Photo by Steven Christy

When you trip sometimes you fall. Sometimes you catch yourself, pull friends down with you, spill your coffee, twist an ankle, scuff up an elbow, or split your pants. Simply “falling” sounds better.

A road trip like the one the Oklahoma City Barons will entertain for three days will be a test, and here is hoping that they avoid catastrophe.

The team has only gone .500 over their last ten games yet still have retained their top spot in the Western Conference. By comparison, the Grand Rapids Griffins have gone 8-0-2 in their last ten but 10-0-2 in their last twelve. They’ve won eight straight on a tear through the lumpy Midwest. The Griffs experienced a trip, but instead of falling or stumbling or making a fool of themselves, they’ve taken steps to becoming the best in the West.

So the two go head-to-head tonight with Laurent Brossoit in net and Peter Mrazek (current AHL player of the week) at the other end. One of the league’s best scorers in Teemu Pulkkinen facing off against an Andrew Miller who is ten points behind. Scoring defender Nathan Paetsch against a similar player in Brad Hunt. The team’s match up with one another very well, and if you watch one game in March, this might be the one to consider.

The Barons have added C.J. Ludwig to round out the bottom pairing on defense, and Akim Aliu to add a bit of angst to the forward core in the absence of Steve Pinizzotto.

Game starts at 6:00pm central time. Tune in, this one is going to be a good one.

Barons Add Defense & “Power” From Bakersfield

A day after reassigning Graeme Craig and releasing Chase Schaber, the Barons have added back a defender and a forward from whence the two prior reside.

Announced today the Oklahoma City Barons have assigned C.J. Ludwig to the team’s defensive core, and signed forward Akim Aliu.

This is an odd transaction on the surface to say the least, but I think there is some method to this madness.

Ludwig is a player than Todd Nelson and Gerry Fleming liked a lot at the beginning of the season as a good PK defenseman. I did too, and quite honestly, he’s the best callup option that the Barons can use via Bakersfield. Smart to insert him into the right side of the bottom pairing.

Then there’s Aliu.

A player who has bounced around throughout his career, at 25 he feels like a journeyman. Currently in Bakersfield, he is a player that has spent time in Rochester, Calgary, etc. etc. The rumors of him being a locker room problem abound, but this is potentially a good looksee for Aliu who attempts to play a strong power forward role (that Mitch Moroz was expected to fill).

The Barons play three straight on the road this week, so having extra bodies is smart. Godspeed.

Oilers “Transact” Four, AHL Postseason Roster Takes Shape

Photo by Steven Christy

The 2pm trade deadline brought with it not just the end of the player movement season, but also the backstopping of AHL postseason bids. That means that players paper transacted from Edmonton to Oklahoma City today are pieces that the Barons will use when the postseason begins in late April. This is good news, and the list of transacted players for each squad (usually 3-4) is always very interesting.

Here are the players transacted today whom we believe will be with the Barons when the AHL postseason begins:

I’m a bit fuzzy on the minute details here, but I’m under the impression that Ryan Hamilton is subject to waivers, and can be collected by another team (UPDATE: The games-played number is ten not nine. Hamilton is not subject to waivers). There is, however, some screwy things in the CBA that require an advanced degree to understand, so if you can point out how Ramilton gets through, let me know. Likewise, Richard Bachman should fall under the same cloud of suspicion (UPDATE: Bachman was an emergency recall to the Oilers, thus not subject to waivers).

This is a good bunch, and have at points been huge parts of the Barons success in 2014-15. Bachman is monumental. Hamilton a potent scorer. Marincin a sturdy defender. Oesterle a stop-gap blue liner. Yet devoid of players like Anton Lander, Iiro Pakarinen (both injured) or Oscar Klefbom means we are likely done with those three for the remainder of our Barons years in OKC. Bummer.

Aulie Clears, Craig Re-Assigned, Schaber Released

Photo by Steven Christy

Trade deadline day for the Oilers is typically tame, and underwhelming, and outside of the soft return the team got for Jeff Petry it appears we are headed down that same pathway. Yet the world continues to turn, and non-trade moves are being made.

The Oklahoma City Barons have re-assigned defenseman Graeme Craig to the Bakersfield Condors. In a separate transaction they released Chase Schaber from his PTO. The release of Craig (who played minutes this weekend with Martin Gernat) is in anticipation of Keith Aulie clearing waivers, which he did moments ago. Schaber is the interesting forward move because he was the lone healthy forward scratch for the Barons over the weekend. This brings the healthy forward core to just a thin twelve with Lain, Kessy, Pinizzotto still on the IR. Healthy defenders is now six with Aulie inserted.

There are going to have to be some moves that take place for the team to be competitive through March and April. How that gets done is still to be discovered. More news as it comes.

Trade Watchin’ The Oilers

Welcome to the trade deadline! I hope you brought the Maalox and the strong coffee, because things are likely to happen. We will update you here, with commentary, on the state of the Oilers moves (if there are any). Grab a seat. Tune in here () to watch the Trade Deadline show, and pray that your favorite player finds a patch of green grass.

Trade #1

Early morning trades are the worst, but they are life. As expected, former “brief” Baron Jeff Petry has been moved.