Photo by Rob Ferguson. All Rights Reserved.
It’s too bad that Neal took the “How’d They Do That” caption in his rewind for Game One, because it completely fits my reaction for how Game Two happened. Game Two was split into two completely different games as the San Antonio Rampage controlled thirty-seven minutes, while the Oklahoma City Barons controlled the other twenty-seven. Even now, after getting to think about the game for this long, I still can’t get over how the outcome of the game came to be.
The first period completely belonged to the Rampage. The Barons defense was shaky, the offense couldn’t get anything going, and Laurent Brossoit had eighteen shots to deal with in the first twenty minutes. Goals from Connor Brickley and Corban Knight – on a power play – put San Antonio up 2-0 as the Barons headed to the locker room to sort things out.
Things continued in the same vein at the start of the second as San Antonio controlled the first 6:44, leading to a John McFarland goal and putting the Barons down 3-0. That led to Gerry Fleming deciding to pull Brossoit from the goal and replacing him with Richard Bachman.
Immediately put to the test, Bachman made some big saves against the onslaught from San Antonio, helping to begin the turning of the tides for the Barons. Two penalty kills later, the Barons got a chance on the power play themselves as Vincent Trocheck went to the box for a tripping penalty. Some great tic-tac-toe passing from Josh Winquist and Andrew Miller got the puck to captain Ryan Hamilton, who found the net behind Michael Houser to put the Barons on the board. After two periods, the Rampage held the lead, 3-1.
The only way I can really explain the third period is… wow. I joked in the second period for whoever abducted the Barons team from Game One to please return them. Little did I know, they listened. Oklahoma City tried hard throughout the third period, but Houser was able to keep the Barons at bay.
At the 15:00 mark of the third, the Rampage committed their fourth straight minor penalty with McFarland heading to the box for shooting the puck over the glass. It took 103 seconds of the power play for the Barons to break through, but Jordan Oesterle finally did it as he shot the puck off the post and into the net to make it a 3-2 game.
Over and over, the Barons tried, but the Rampage stood pat as the minutes and seconds ticked off the clock in regulation time. The Barons finally got their chance with Mark Mancari picking up a tripping call of his own, the Rampage’s fifth straight minor, and giving the Barons a power play with 41 seconds remaining. Gerry Fleming used his timeout, and pulled Bachman for the extra attacker.
Matthew Ford took the faceoff, won, and kicked the puck back to Jason Williams. Williams passed it off to Brad Hunt on the right point, Hunt sent it right back to Williams on the left. With the point shot, Williams put it right on
Ford’s Andrew Miller’s [edit: The goal was later changed to credit Miller for the goal] stick for the tip, and the Barons tied the game just five seconds into the power play. With the late heroics, the game went to overtime with the game tied at 3-3. After being outshot 31-20 through two periods, the Barons outshot the Rampage 16-9 in the third frame.
Overtime began with the Barons rolling and riding the momentum from the third period. Finally, the Barons found themselves on a two-on-one rush. Sprung by Jordan Oesterle, Matt Ford brought the puck in on the left wing side with Connor Jones on his right. With Dylan Olsen back for the Rampage, Ford passed the puck over to Jones, and Jones ripped it past Houser to give Oklahoma City the huge come-from-behind win in Game Two.
The heart that the team showed in the final half of that game was unlike anything I’ve seen from this team in a long time. They never gave up, never surrendered, and fought their way back from the jaws of defeat. If the team keeps that level of intensity, that level of fight, that level of play – they are going to be a hard team to play against.
With the Rampage on the ropes, the series heads to the Alamo City for Game Three. Wednesday at 7:00 Central, the series continues from the AT&T Center with the Barons leading 2-0 in the best of five series.