Photo by Steven Christy
The Oklahoma City Barons hosted the San Antonio Rampage in game one of the best of five series between the West Division rivals. The teams seem evenly matched, at this point in April, but one team would outlast the other in the final twenty minutes of game one.
The first period, with Dan Ellis in net for the Rampage, seemed to favor the Rampage early on as both Brad Hunt and Jason Williams would gift two power play chances for San Antonio. The Barons were able to deflect any trouble down a man, and Laurent Brossoit was dialed in like he has been over the last 20+ games of the regular season.
The series first goal would be scored by Brad Hunt (which appeared to be deflected in front by Ryan Hamilton; ultimately credited to Hunt) as he whistled a shot around Ellis at the 12:00 mark of the first frame.
The lead would be leveled by Vincent Trocheck after some wobbly defense by Dillon Simpson. The shot would clank off the left post of the Barons net, and bounce in behind Brossoit. With the game now tied at 1-1, both teams would suffer through some penalties, and the Barons actually had high grade chances to put their squad back on top. Yet the end of twenty minutes gave us a tie game.
Dan Ellis would be the saint of Rampage hockey to begin the second period. Stopping chance after chance after chance as the Barons pressured the puck at every turn.
Rocco Grimaldi would stick a thorn in the Barons side by scoring a wacky goal, knocking the puck out of the air and around Brossoit. With a 2-1 lead, and the knowledge of how good the Rampage are when leading after two (27-3-1-1), things would get dicey after forty minutes of play.
The penalty taking settled down, and even a goofy delay of game penalty by Martin Marincin was quickly squashed by the Barons penalty kill.
The third period again featured some incredible goaltending by Dan Ellis with whom the Barons were unable to beat often. The game plan shifted towards dropping the puck on his doorstep as much as possible, and that was a tough sell.
Josh Winquist was up to the task, scoring a power play goal from the right face-off dot to even the game at two goals a piece. Not long after, captain Ryan Hamilton willed a puck across the goal line to put his team up a goal with just over 5:00 remaining in the game.
The transition from down one to up one was monumental as the Barons seemingly had the Rampage against the ropes. Shane O’Brien would get five minutes and a game misconduct for a really nasty boarding incident on Ryan Hamilton. Woozy as a drunken sailor, Hamilton would make it to the bench while visiting Wonderland. The Barons seemingly had this one wrapped up, but with a bump along the way.
Then Curtis Hamilton would take a boarding penalty of his own in the final 90 seconds of the game. Things would get scary momentarily. Then Connor Jones scored an empty netter with the Rampage owning two extra skaters. Let’s add another, said Matt Ford, as the fan favorite gets one of his own.
The Oklahoma City Barons would defeat the San Antonio Rampage, 5-2, in game one of the best of five series.
Game two is Saturday night in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City Barons Starting Lineup:
K. Jones-C. Jones-Ford
Scratches: Bunz, Rimmer, Betker, Pageau, Musil, Ludwig, Gernat, Khaira, Houck, Pinizzotto, Ewanyk, Kessy, Chase, Yakimov, Lain