OKC First To 74 In West, Split Wins With San Antonio

Photo by Steven Christy

The San Antonio Rampage, a formidable adversary, have had a decent head-to-head season against the Oklahoma City Barons. Owning them at home and on the road, the Rampage are needing standing points to keep fellow West Division club, the Texas Stars, from overtaking them in the playoff standings. In addition to Texas, Hamilton and Milwaukee are making plays to topple the Rampage in the coming weeks, so San Antonio looks to strike now, and against a team they know they can beat.

A bit of a shuffle has occurred with the Rampage starting roster, but they own a system of highly-pressurized and pesky offense, and thus have kept themselves composed through call-ups. Likewise they are strong in the net, and when this team gets a full head of steam you better be prepared.

The Oklahoma City Barons would split the weekend games against the Rampage at home in the Cox Center. This has become a typical thing that OKC does – that is trade victories and look vastly different in both games.

The Barons number one goaltender, Laurent Brossoit, would allow a goal in the first ninety seconds of the opening period of the first game. It felt raw until Brad Hunt delivered a whale of a shot to tie the game three minutes later. Two early power play attempts by both squads proved fortuitous more than potent, and we would end the first period with a one goal-a-piece tie.

The second period gave us one goal by the Rampage, and they appeared to have the bulk of the mojo in the second frame. The Barons would have a couple of bad penalties fall their way, but were able to kill penalties quickly.

With only a solitary goal scored in the second period, the Barons would again allow an early period goal, and this one would hurt the most. In the opening minute of the third period, Brossoit again struggled to stop a Shane O’Brien goal (he would have a heckuva night), and the Barons would now have to dig themselves out of a two-goal deficit. They worked hard, and it paid off when Bogdan Yakimov brought his team within one on the only power play goal by either team on the evening. A full fifteen minutes later the Barons were forced to pull the goaltender, but were unable to capitalize. The Rampage would score an empty netter, and OKC would lose game number one by a score of 4-2.

The second game forced OKC to combat the sluggish start that happened the night before with a little wizardry. The Barons scored three straight goals in the second period with another in the third period to put the cherry on top of this delicious sundae.

The Barons won a whale of a game against a frustrated and tired San Antonio team. Laurent Brossoit posted his second shutout of the season en route to a 4-0 demonstrative victory for OKC.

Oklahoma City Barons Lineup (both nights the same):

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

Davidson-Hunt
Simpson-Musil
Craig-Gernat

Brossoit

Scratches: Steve Pinizzotto, Kale Kessy & Kellan Lain (injured); Chase Schaber (healthy)

Trade Watch: Oklahoma City Barons Edition

Photo by Steven Christy

March 2nd beckons us like a stomach full of butterflies. Like a ride on the tilt-a-whirl after a chili dog. Like watching Sandy Bullock “do drama” in The Net. For some it is fun, but for many it is bothersome. The trade deadline, of course, is an important landmark in every hockey season. Organizations align themselves for either a playoff push or an unloading of salary. The majors leagues eye-ball large contracts, players reveal their no-trade clauses like a weary traveler entering customs, and GM’s try to not undermine their long game.

The minor leagues are not absent from the trade deadline. As a matter of fact, it can drastically effect a lineup, especially when your parent club (the Edmonton Oilers) is a seller rather than a buyer.

The Barons have had players dealt at the deadline, and this year you might find several familiar faces worthy of transplanting themselves to another hockey destination. But whom?

Curtis Hamilton

A player offered a qualifying contract after his three year entry level deal, Hamilton is a draft pick that, like Tyler Pitlick, has battled injury after injury after injury. 2014-15 has been a stellar year for young Hammy, and it primarily is a result of getting and staying healthy. Currently on the top line, left wing of one of the best teams in the AHL, Camilton, as he’s known by affectionately, has eleven goals and fifteen assists in 47 games. He’s already bested his pro numbers in that time, and will likely (fingers crossed) surpass the seventy games played mark for the first time in his career.

Is he valuable to the Edmonton Oilers, maybe. But he certainly is doing some things well, and staying healthier than ever. As with most four-years-in drafted prospects, he won’t net a full one-for-one trade unless it is of the minor league variety only. Deal sweetener? Perhaps.

Brandon Davidson, Martin Marincin

Both players have spent time with Oklahoma City and Edmonton during the current season. Marincin seemed defeated under Eakins, but resurrected when Nelson jumped in. That’s good news for the career arc of a defender with Olympic experience. Likewise, Brandon Davidson, who has been one of the best Barons defenders in the recent months, has a chance to be a bottom-paired defender in the NHL if he continues to trend upwards. Both could net something decent in return, but again, they will only be pieces of a larger trade (most likely).

Connor and Kellen Jones

An interesting tale of two players, choosing to play together from boyhood onward, one whom was drafted by the Oilers and another who was a get much later. They have torn through the ECHL on the same line, and are starting to emerge as a double-threat in the 3/4 line roles that they’ve been given in OKC. That doesn’t mean it is 3/4 line or bust for these two because that isn’t giving them enough credit. Good PK and PP players, smart, and with intangibles for days. These two might not be on the radar of most simply because they feel like a packaged deal, but don’t discount the “twin telepathy” as Connor stated in a video via the Barons YouTube page.

There isn’t much value in moving small potato assets right now, the Oilers will probably look to move picks. MacTavish has stated the obvious – the Oilers are selling not buying – but they’ll have to make a decision on a few of these players in the offseason so getting something in return today might be of value to them.

I don’t expect much, honestly, but with Jeff Petry still on the chopping block, things are bound to happen sooner or later. Buckle up.