It was a do or die, a put up or shut up, a win and you’re in kind of night for the Oklahoma City Barons. Down three games to two, and playing Monday in Utica, the uncomfortable feeling you are owning is widespread among Barons fans. They seemed dominate two games ago, and then defeated the next. Utica appeared too high a hurdle to overcome with their sturdy defense, sneaky offense, and magnificent goaltending.
But the Barons would impress on Monday. They would score early. They would score late. They would survive. And the ending would sustain the Barons for at least another day.
With the slightly tweaked roster for both clubs in tact (Musil in, Marincin out for example), it would be a mainstay that would score first. Brad Hunt, with the rare backhand jab, would rattle in the game’s first goal, and the lead for the Barons. The goal was a product of the “shoot first, think second” mantra that OKC has attempted to use on Jacob Markstrom.
The visiting team would cling to the lead for the entirety of the first period. The penalties were few (one for each team), and in a rare instance the Barons out shot the Comets thirteen to nine. The period would end with a carried-over four on four situation.
A Jordan Oesterle holding penalty in the opening minutes gave the Comets a chance to tie the game. Thrice Bachman was massive on the power play as the Barons kill unit looked wobbly.
Things would get a little chippy, but both teams would keep their tempers disciplined.
The Barons would squander a golden power play chance after Connor Jones parked himself in front of Markstrom who was cross-checked in return. The puck cycled well, but the shots just didn’t happen.
Utica would appear to score late in the period, but it was ruled a no-goal after the referee claimed Bachman was interfered with.
Oklahoma City only managed to shoot the puck three times, but they remained in the lead after two periods thanks in part to Richard Bachman.
The third period was heated for the Comets as Bachman continued to make impressive save after impressive save. The Barons defense took good care of the puck, while the forwards played an optimistically appropriate game.
With roughly twelve minutes remaining Ryan Hamilton would put OKC up 2-0 when an icing call was waved off, and he was able to juggle a puck that came off the inboards. It was a timely goal, no doubt, but it also frustrated the Comets. All good things.
The Comets would score their first of the game on Bachman as a shot from the point would squeeze through his equipment. To the side of the net, Sven Baertschi poked at the puck, knocking it in. The Barons would nurse a one goal lead with five minutes remaining.
Markstrom would be pulled for an extra skater, and the Comets pelted the Barons net with ferocity. Defense was tight. Goaltending was unbelievable. And a late Kellen Jones block of a point blank shot would give OKC the 2-1 victory.
The series, now tied at three, would need a game seven to decide a victor. It will be played Wednesday night in Utica.