Oklahoma City Blazers Have Piece of History Returned

As the chapter of the Oklahoma City Barons comes to an end (and hopefully it’ll still continue for a while longer), Prodigal has been taking the opportunity to clear out their storage rooms. Last night, in quite a surprising turn of events, Prodigal began selling their old stocks of Oklahoma City Blazers memorabilia and pieces from the locker room (with proceeds being donated to Hockey Ministries).

Some of the more interesting items were wood-crafted logos that were hung inside the Blazers locker room over the years. Needless to say, they were some of the first things to be sold.

With the Oklahoma City Blazers being revived in the Junior-III Western States Hockey League, one fan took the opportunity to buy one of the pieces and donate it to the team.

From the Blazers Facebook:

The Oklahoma City Blazers had a piece of their history returned today when Booster Club President Samantha Comes delivered the “B Shield” logo that hung in the original Blazers locker room for years. The 3-d wood logo is one of 4 Blazer locker room logo’s created and hung proudly in the Blazers dressing room anywhere from 2002-2009.

The surprise gift from the Comes family was bought ironically enough at last nights Oklahoma City Barons Playoff game vs Utica. Prodigal and the Barons had a surprise liquidation sale of Blazers jerseys, souvenirs and memorabilia including the hanging logo.

“When I walked in and saw it I couldn’t believe it was for sale. I told my husband to go and get my credit card, I know where this belongs. I had to get it,” said Comes.

The B shield 3-d logo Comes had purchased was one of two of these particular same logo’s, however, this is the one that was of most significance. This is the one that was hung in the hall, only a few feet from the players entrance to the ice.

“It was the last thing you saw when you left the dressing room and the first thing when you entered,” said former player and now president and head coach of the reincarnated Blazers, Tyler Fleck. “The stick marks where guys gave it a good luck tap before the game are still there. I know some of them are mine. This really means a lot not only to me but to everyone who walked down that hallway.”

The four 3-d logo’s created were made by either Kent Johnson, long time Blazer supporter and owner of Massive Graphics in Norman, or Brandon “Brando” Rose. The Blazers former equipment manager.

Fleck was able to track down one of the signs, the other B-shield logo, this past summer during the renovation of the new Blazers dressing room. Fleck was contacted by Johnson who had one of the 2 of this particular logo. It was the one that hung in the Blazers office not the “hallway b-shield”.

Comes realized what she had come across and knew exactly where it belonged.

“I went back to get the sign after the game and I asked the lady working there if I could grab it. She said “That’s Your’s?” and I said yes and I’m taking it home,”Comes explained. “The worker said “You’re taking it to your house?” and I said not exactly, I’m taking it to it’s HOME. It’s going back to the Blazers where it belongs.”

When the coveted sign finally returned to Blazers dressing room Tuesday afternoon, Fleck, assistant coach Zac Desjardins, GM Brian Chandler and Blazers Ice Centre Manager Andrew Magerkurth wasted no time mounting the 70 pound wooden structure to the wall.

“This is a logo that guys fought for, bled for and cried for. The Blazer brand is something that is etched into the hearts of Oklahoman’s everywhere. Everyone recognizes it and it’s become a part of who we are,” said Fleck. “We are damn proud to be Blazers. There were hundred’s of players that tapped that sign for a little extra luck on their way by. When someone recognizes that and goes out of their way to bring back a piece of history like this to where it rightfully belongs, it’s unreal. It just means a lot.”

The other two 3-d wood logo’s were apparently sold at the Barons game on Monday. One of which is the cardinal and gold “Blazers B” logo and the other is the flaming BLAZERS logo which had been dubbed the “Hot Wheels” Blazer logo. These two others also hung proudly in the locker room in different spaces over the years.

“I’ve come to find that people associate Blazers hockey with happiness and good times. We weren’t just a hockey team or a brand. We were a family that extended well beyond the dressing room, well beyond the arena. A family that extended to every corner of the state,” Fleck added. “A family with a great big heart that I am proud to be a part of.”

Be sure to check out the pictures from the Blazers Facebook page.

Oklahoma City Suffers Through Game 3 Loss

Photo by Steven Christy

Games one and two felt eerily similar between the Oklahoma City Barons and the Utica Comets. You can imagine, in the second round of the playoffs, that the stakes would get higher, the teams much stronger, and the fight more uncontrollable. And it has been. Yet the separation between the teams is starting to force a wedge between our expectations and the reality of both squads. Utica continues to be defensively dominate while the Barons struggle to contain the rush up ice. Utica is relentless and crafty in front of the stingy Richard Bachman, and the OKC blueline makes simple mistakes it shouldn’t at the worst possible moments. Game three feels like a microcosm of the series thus far, and unfortunately Utica feels / seems / appears to be the better squad. Time will tell.

With eleven seconds remaining in the game the Barons feverishly pelted Jacob Markstrom with shots. Three sound chances in those eleven seconds earned them nothing in return. The puck was unsteady in the passing lanes. The Comets kept the play along the boards. When the momentum did shift towards the center of the ice, the Utica blue line was claustrophobic in trapping the puck. It was methodical in nature, and boy was is it a thing to behold even if I cheer for the home team.

That final eleven seconds of play was a demonstration of what took place in the nearly sixty minutes of ice hockey that preceded it.

The game began with identical lineups to that of game two. Neither Gerry Fleming nor Travis Green were willing to budge even an iota.

In the first ninety seconds, the normally sturdy Brandon Davidson had a monster gaff directly in front of Richard Bachman, and Utica would take advantage. Centerman Alex Friesen would score his first of the 2015 post season, but more importantly put his team up early by a single goal. Eleven and a half minutes later the hero of game two’s overtime, Alexandre Grenier would score to put Utica up by two goals before the first twenty was even in the books.

The Barons seemed a bit gobsmacked by the early, two-goal lead. They would really have to pressure the puck, rely on Bachman to steal some moments, and hopefully not give up too much ice in the process.

Andrew Miller would beat Markstrom high, glove side to put the Barons within one. It was a tricky shot that few have accomplished against the Utica goaltender. But I think Miller found a crack in the armor just a bit, and would spend the remainder of the game trying to find that sweet spot again.

Minor penalties were a bit heavier in the first and second periods than they had been in the two previous games. It was a direct result of some sideways play by both teams, and perhaps some nitpicking by the zebra team. Regardless, the Barons would be down two goals to one by the time we reached the forty minute mark.

The third period would be interesting as Josh Winquist would score to the left of Markstrom on a centering pass by Andrew Miller that nearly touched the toes of the Utica tender. The game tied at two goals – there was much rejoicing from the faithful few who showed up to a Monday evening game in May. Undone by a miserable defensive series (yes, again), Mike Zalewski would squelch the momentum for Oklahoma City as the visiting team would take a one goal lead early in the third period.

The next fifteen minutes of play were surgical by the Utica Comets. They would allow only three or four legit scoring chances for OKC, and their prevent formation would remain in tact. They would be tested, but never fully broken by the Barons forward group despite an onslaught with only a few seconds remaining.

In the end the Barons would be defeated by the Utica Comets, 3-2, and for once in the series the game wouldn’t be decided by an overtime, 2-1 fate.

The short story is that Travis Green isn’t going to make changes to his lineup as long as they continue to win. I wouldn’t. But the times they were a changin’ for Gerry Fleming as early as the second period of game two despite the additional play in overtime. There comes a point, as mentioned above, in every series where a team emerges as the “better” squad. That happened a game a go, and the assumption was that Fleming felt this and would change accordingly. He didn’t, and we now understand why those changes should have taken place. Hindsight is always 20/20, but foresight can be too. A deeper look at what transpired in game two, and certainly game three, dictates a few changes that will need to be made.

For the record, Bachman is still good even when he isn’t facing sixty shots. Don’t pull him just yet (although he looked a bit “faded” at times in game three). Offensive skill is a big problem, and currently the Barons have a bit of it, but perhaps not enough. Greg Chase is a player that might make a difference. Darnell Nurse might add some interesting speed and play-insertion to the squad. But all of these things feel like tiny band aids on a larger problem.

In the end I expect changes to be made. If not, things might get dicey. But I’m willing to wait, see what Fleming decides to do, and then cast judgement after game four. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that point. The team just needs to win. Please?!

“We’re not going to change anything” – Utica’s Travis Green

Photo via Utica Comets. All rights reserved. 

The Barons and Comets head to Oklahoma City for a three game set after two really sturdy, strong, and evenly matched games in Utica. The first was an epic four overtime battle where Curtis Hamilton again scored past the regulation time stamp. The second favored Grenier in an early overtime game winner. Both were defensive battles from the blue-line, and most certainly from inside the net. The offense was stout shooting the puck with consistency, but perhaps with not enough ferocity. In all, only six goals have been scored, parts of eleven periods have been played. What a postseason.

Yet both teams have been extremely lucky, and by lucky I mean Richard Bachman and Jacob Markstrom. They are really really sharp these days, and have bailed out their teams on a nightly basis. That can’t continue, surely it can’t, so some things will need to be tweaked. Game plans might need adjusting. And the teams need to show some magical wrinkles that could separate them from their opponents.

But it won’t be Utica making changes.

Per the Utica Observer-Dispatch, comments from head coach, Travis Green:

“We’re not going to change anything,” he said. “We’re confident going on the road. We have to get one win in Oklahoma. All we have to do is when the next game. There is nothing special.”

So Coach Green strikes first. His confidence in his team has been what has kept the rest of the Western Conference at bay for much of the final moments of the regular season. They won’t mess with the formula (unless this is a ruse designed to get the Barons to budge on their lineup), and I think that might be a smart move knowing the weapons they have at their disposal.

Your move, Gerry Fleming.

Braden Christoffer Signs Contract With OKC Ba…Er, Bakersfield Condors

Per the Regina Leader-Post sports department, and author Greg Harder:

Regina Pats captain Braden Christoffer has signed an AHL contract with the top affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, according to a source.

An undrafted free agent, Christoffer agreed to a one-year deal with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons, who are slated to move to Bakersfield, Calif., next season. The 20-year-old winger is expected to attend Edmonton’s summer prospects camp as well as joining the NHL club at a rookie tournament in Penticton, B.C., in the fall.

Christoffer exhausted his WHL eligibility with the Pats this season, recording career highs 26 goals, 59 points and 147 penalty minutes while playing all 72 regular-season games. The native of Sherwood Park, Alta., added two goals and eight points in nine playoff games.

Christoffer’s first pro experience came last fall when he was invited to rookie camp by the NHL’s Washington Capitals.

I won’t comment specifically on Christoffer, but rather on the general signing of this AHL player. This is a Craig MacTavish like move – signing a player to a minor league deal for a single year before the current season ends – but it is probably a signing made without MacT’s expertise. More on that later.

By in large AHL contracted players are older, established fellas. Yet the shift in the last two seasons on the Oilers farm has been favoring the signing of guys that might mean something beyond a rental or vet stability presence. This is certainly a case of signing a player that might be of good use well beyond the AHL, and a year to showcase those talents might urge said player to earn your attention. Interesting and smart way to approach the farm.

Is this a theme for Peter Chiarelli as well? You Boston Bruins fans of the world let me know. Regardless, it further legitimizes the importance of the farm team well beyond just wins vs. losses. It is about building something special, and building into the players at multiple levels.

This will be the first AHL Bakersfield Condors contracted player, and that is huge news for the future AHL Oilers landing spot.

Huge thanks to the Leader-Post for the article, and to Eric Rodgers for bringing it to my attention

Previous Meetings: Utica & Oklahoma City Do The “Splits”

Photo by Steven Christy

Game #1 – December 2nd, 2014
Utica Comets 0 – Oklahoma City Barons 1 (OT)

The Comets stumbled into the Cox Center in early December while the Barons were on an eight game tear through the American Hockey League. Knowing that they would only face the Comets one other time during the regular season, OKC would play really good defensive minutes against a team with skill. Richard Bachman would stop all 34 shots for the shutout, and Todd Nelson would be showcasing his talents before assuming the role of the Edmonton Oilers interim head coach (replacing Dallas Eakins).

It took nearly 64:00 scoreless minutes for Jason Williams to score his eighth goal of the season with a whale of an assist from the suddenly-good Curtis Hamilton.

The Barons power play went 0/2, but their penalty killing was superb (in three chances). A late game trip by David Musil and a subsequent scrap with Brendan Guance 7:16 into the third period nearly undid the perfect game for Richard Bachman. Yet the defense steadied themselves, and the penalty kill worked like a charm.

Joacim Eriksson played remarkably well stopping 34 of 35 shots for the Utica Comets.

Game #2 – March 27th, 2015
Oklahoma City Barons 2 – Utica Comets 4

The first game was low-scoring, goaltender-leaning. The second game was the complete opposite. Laurent Brossoit was in net while Richard Bachman played back up with the Oilers, and Joacim Eriksson made his second appearance against the Barons.

This game was over mid-way through the second period as Utica scored four straight against a soggy Barons squad. Yet the tall tale in this outing was about one thing – penalties. Eleven different roughing calls, three players awarded ten minute game misconducts (including C.J. Ludwig and Travis Ewanyk), and 77 penalty minutes in total. It was a bruiser of a hockey game that got wildly out of hand halfway through the game.

Four different Comets scored in a span of less than twenty minutes of game time, all of them at full strength. It was not a good showing for the Barons nor for Laurent Brossoit who was struggling in the wave of badness that became a team problem through the month of April.

Jason Williams would score his 18th goal of the season after Darren Archibald was whistled for a check to the head and issued a game misconduct. The Williams power play goal breathed a bit of life into the Barons sails as the second period came to a close.

Mitch Moroz would chip away at the Utica lead by scoring only his fourth goal of the season with an assist to Jackson Houck (his only point in seven games) and Jordan Oesterle.

The team was buried by the brutish nature of the game, and their inability to “shake off the problems” bit them in the end. And so the two parted ways.

In Conclusion

The two games couldn’t have been more incredibly different, and quite honestly, the two games represent two completely different seasons within a season for both squads.

Goaltending changes, defensive movement, recalled players, injuries, coaching changes, etc. all played a huge part in the victories or defeats in both cases.

This is the danger of facing unfamiliar teams in the postseason – which version are we gonna get?

For Oklahoma City the doldrums of their March to April swing have given way to some really sound play in the first round. I continue to suggest they got lucky (in many cases), and that they caught a Rampage team on a downhill slide. Utica has slow-burned their way towards being one of the best in the West (actually, the best mathematically speaking), and they are probably more like the Game #2 team than the Game #1 team.

For Utica, they showed they have the guts, the goaltending, and the gall to put a hurt on a team like the Oklahoma City Barons. Markstrom and Eriksson are every bit the dandy that Bachman and Brossoit have been (probably moreso), but the Comets can be beat. It just hasn’t happened often.

We will break down the two squads in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Jackson Houck & Chase Schaber Released From Contracts

Three days ago, on May 2nd, it appears that Jackson Houck and Chase Schaber were released from their PTO contracts. No official announcement was made by the Edmonton Oilers or by the Oklahoma City Barons.

Houck, an Edmonton Oilers draft pick, played in seven AHL games with an assist to his credit. Schaber, a Bakersfield call-up, played in thirteen games scoring once.

Here is the official transaction via theAHL.com:

houck-schaber

Tyler Bunz Returns To Oklahoma City

Photo by Steven Christy

On April 18th, as the AHL regular season came to an end, Tyler Bunz gave us his farewells via his twitter account. Bunz, a player that is easy to root for, has had a wild two seasons both in terms of injury (horrific throat incident) and placement (played 13 games with ECHL Bakersfield Condors, 17 games with ECHL Wichita Thunder, 7 with the Oklahoma City Barons, and 1 with the Edmonton Oilers). The rollercoaster ride has been wild and woolly for the 23 year old tender from St. Albert.

His farewell was kind-hearted, which further explains why he is easy to root for. He said:

We tweeted our appreciation in return. And it seemed that we would no longer get the opportunity to see Bunz play in Oklahoma City again. Until…

Apparently Tyler Bunz is back in the OKC fold. Richard Bachman, Laurent Brossoit, and Ty Rimmer have been the three postseason goaltenders listed on the official team roster. Rimmer has yet to play a minute, but is no doubt a part of the practice rotation. With the return of Tyler Bunz who have to wonder whom might be injured or what might be happening with Rimmer. I won’t speculate any further. Officially – as of 11:00am on May 5th – the OKC Barons have four official goaltenders. That is never a bad thing, really it isn’t.

Barons Sweep! Take Game Three In OT

‘Tis a glorious thing to behold, a team that can challenge opponents deep into games. That has been the case for much of the 2014-15 season, and now, suddenly, those moments include the Calder Cup postseason.

Last night, with the Rampage facing elimination, the Oklahoma City Barons won game three in overtime and have advanced to the Western Conference semi-finals.

Can we do this in reverse, Memento style?

Jujhar Khaira was injured in a game in early March when he was plastered into the corners allowing his elbow to soften the blow against the boards. Bad idea. Mid-Spring Break coach Gerry Fleming deemed Khaira a loss for the remainder of the season following that specific injury. The bummer of a sigh from fans in OKC was full and deep. We thought we had seen the last of young Jujhar, with whom we had high hopes.

Five minutes into game three’s overtime, Jujhar Khaira would knock in a rebound to defeat the Rampage who were up against a wall. The sweep was complete, but a bit of redemption was in store for Khaira who had both returned to action after a time away and scored his first postseason goal as a professional. Well done.

Prior to this wondrous moment in time, the Rampage evened the game with :58 remaining. Tom Rowe brilliantly waited until the on-ice matchups were to his liking, and he motioned for Dan Ellis to scamper to the bench. When he did, the Barons were unable to re-group as they fought hard against the onslaught of offense that finally emerged from the San Antonio forwards. Up a skater, Dylan Olsen would invigorate his team, and those fans in attendance, as the game would slowly creep towards sudden death overtime at one goal from each squad.

It was young Kellen Jones who scored the games opening goal after nearly forty minutes of scoreless hockey. Kellen, and his brother Connor, have now accounted for a combined three goals in only nine official shots on net. Love those two. (Prep your #MCM folks).

The struggle was real for the Rampage whom have dominated offensively for much of the season. Hate to grandstand here just a bit, but the game two loss seemed debilitating in some regards as the offense struggled to beat starting goaltender Richard Bachman.

By comparison, Dan Ellis did a terrific job fighting off Barons goal scorers for much of the game, and his work should not go unrecognized. He was sensational.

But let’s return to Bachman, who was good from the start, but magical in the third period where he faced 19 shots and only let in one (that :58 barn burning equalizer).

The steadiness he gave the team in game two carried over to game three where he played out-of-his-mind minutes against a team desperate to stay alive.

In all, it was a terrific performance by the Barons if not (again and again and again) a lucky victory. I think maybe I will stop calling these wins lucky because they happen far too often. Instead I will congratulate Gerry Fleming and the coaching staff for shoehorning Khaira into the lineup (on the fourth line), and offering three speedy lines who would carry the weight of the minutes. And defensively, there were minor issues, but what a “trap and sack” game the blue line played keeping the play in front of them as much as possible. When they did make mistakes, Bachman bailed them out, and this team continues to get better as the postseason marches on.

The game, in a nutshell, was one for the ages. On the other hand, the Rampage have toppled greatly having lost now six in a row after having a streak that featured nine wins in ten games. Ouch.

Their undoing has been nothing short of baffling. Yet the Barons took advantage of the opportunity, and seem like world-beaters at least for another week.

If things hold – Utica and Toronto win – the Rockford IceHogs will face the Barons in a seven game series. The IceHogs, also earning a sweep of their own, but against the reigning champs in Texas, are a quick, stout, impressive squad in the same vein as the Rampage. But whomever the opponent, the games will be worth watching.

Oklahoma City Barons Lineup:

R. Hamilton-Williams-C. Hamilton
Winquist-Stretch-Miller
K. Jones-C. Jones-Ford
Moroz-Khaira-Winchester

Davidson-Hunt
Simpson-Musil
Marincin-Oesterle

Richard Bachman

Scratches: Betker, Pageau, Houck, Pinizzotto, Platzer, Ewanyk, Kessy, Ludwig, Chase, LaLeggia, Schaber, Yakimov, Gernat, Lain

Available Goaltenders: Rimmer

With Oklahoma City Up 2-0, Game 3 Should Be A Dandy

The Oklahoma City Barons may be up on the San Antonio Rampage two games to none, but that doesn’t mean that this series is over. It certainly means the Rampage have an uphill climb, but it certainly isn’t over.

The heroic comeback on Saturday evening was nothing short of remarkable. Yet it was also extremely lucky. The players who are most likely to score throughout the season are the players also scoring in the post season. Ryan Hamilton with two power play goals and three points. Matt Ford, Andrew Miller, and Brad Hunt with three points in two games. There is Connor Jones with two goals on just two shots including the game winner on Saturday night. Jason Williams, Josh Winquist, and Jordan Oesterle have all contributed. In all, the post season has begun remarkably well. But then there is luck.

Laurent Brossoit was yucky to start game two after being amazing in game one. The decision to pull him after 20+ minutes, facing 24 shots, and letting in 3 was an interesting choice. But one that paid off for Gerry Fleming. Richard Bachman came in at the relief position and was magical. “The Biz” seems ready to make his mark on the Calder Cup run so I expect him to start game three with Dan Ellis (according to Dan Weiss, PxP fella for the Rampage, all-around good guy) at the other end.

In come some interesting players for the Rampage, as they shake things up in their not-so-triumphant return to San Antonio.

Namely Kyle Rau whom was drafted #91 in 2011, just one spot ahead of another collegiate prospect on the Oilers farm, Dillon Simpson. Rau is a 40+ points per season player in four straight at the University of Minnesota. The Big Ten is a competitive league, but it is not producing national titles (save for Michigan, the dominate performer). Yet he is a shifty player, good hands, sort of small, but powerful, and gives Gerry Fleming and crew something to really think about. I like it for the Rampage.

Ryan Hamilton is good to go, as is most of the team. A quick scouting report from practice this week says all are ready to go (those who played in games one and two).

It will be very interesting to see if San Antonio can play deep in this one. To go deep teams have to be able to defend and get solid goaltending. These are two leaky tires in the recent drive of games one and two. Can they fix it? Yes, they are the Rampage. Will they is the question.

The Rampage will raise their Western Division banner this evening, and congrats on a truly historical season for the Rampage. A banner year, a banner season, a banner team – they continue to play with pride. Don’t think for a moment that they will not go out with a fight.

Let Us Visit The Symphony (And Hockey Third Periods)

Third periods. You could call it the most important twenty minutes of a hockey game. The escalation of the game should build like a beautiful symphonic expression telling an elaborate story.

The string section slowly glides as the viola tickles your eardrum. The cellos play a melodious rhythm that resounds through your inner being. The light thud of the bass gives way to the sudden full-bodied sound of the bassoon.

Next comes the piercing sound of the flute and piccolo, and the sensation that something great is about to happen. As they twinkle, almost sparkle, behind the wood apparatus that accompany them, the movement pauses momentarily as if needing a breathe.

The sound of metallic staccato notes fills the upper reaches of the auditorium. The trombone and the tuba play in perfect synchronicity as the piece of music turns to pure art. Each part of the brass section works in harmony – forming notes and thoughts and memories – as you begin to understand a story being told where there are no words and there are no pictures.

Finally the percussion, and the overwhelming clamor that completes the entirety of the performance. Always a show-stealer, the shakers, the xylophone, the cymbals, the timpani bang out rhythmic noise that beg you to listen. Thumping and dancing along, you almost visualize the notes as they play. As if they are hanging over the heads of each musician in the form of a talk bubble.

With each section moving along at the same pace, the same rhythm, and the same accordance, you notice that the end is near. The music is nearing the crescendo – the loudest moment – as you begin to sit forward in your seat. A stanza passes, you wait. A second frame begins and you wait. By the third you are anxiously awaiting the resounding gong, but you remain on the edge. By the fourth you exhale. Every instrument strikes the final note in beautiful harmony, the conductor raises his hands in the air, and the music drops.

It is over.

The auditorium erupts with praise and shouts. The overwhelming experience brings tears to your eyes as you well up with joy.

The time has come. You have made it. The journey is now complete.

This is hockey.

The Oklahoma City Barons have had a remarkable journey deep into games for much of the regular season. Nineteen times this season the Barons played a game into overtime. Thirteen of those games they won, thus putting them into the record books (at the twelfth win) as the team with the most regular season overtime victories. That’s impressive.

But put all of that overtime business behind just for a minute. Let us take a good, long, hard look at the third period. I think this team might be on to something (or just really lucky)

Here is the Barons scoring per period during the regular season:

1st Period – 65
2nd Period – 73
3rd Period – 72
Overtime – 14

The simple version here is that the Barons have scored over 220 goals with good numbers past the second period. That is important.

While the team did not lead the league in the goals, they certainly were able to generate balanced scoring across three periods, and produce late in games. That is not to be taken as a be-all-that-ends-all statement that the Barons refuse to be taken down late, just that they themselves can score in those moments.

What about the Rampage and period scoring?

1st Period – 65
2nd Period – 92
3rd Period – 76
Overtime – 9

In 248 goals score, the Rampage offense scored nearly 38% of their goals in the second period. Whereas the Barons seem a bit more balance, there is a large gap between second and third period scoring, and an even larger one between second and first period.

Again, this is a sweeping accusation, but I think it is important when pressed to the glass of the two games played in the postseason thus far.

So I got curious, and even more curiousier.

When comparing the goals per period in Barons vs. Rampage head-to-head opportunities, it appears the same trend sort of exists, albeit less dramatic

*Barons goals per period vs. Rampage

1st Period – 9
2nd Period – 11
3rd Period – 9
Overtime – 2

Rampage goals per period vs. Barons

1st Period – 11
2nd Period – 13
3rd Period – 8
Overtime – 2
Shootout – 2

Each team’s third period scoring and beyond seems pretty similar in the head-to-head games this season (twelve total).

*Keep in mind that I could be off a goal or two; difficult to find head-to-head goals in a tidy compartment at this time of the year

I think what these numbers tell us is that the Barons and Rampage play close games (something we already know), but also that in two postseason games we are moving towards uncharted waters, and certainly some incredible luck by the Oklahoma City Barons.

Through two games here are the Barons goals per period:

1st Period – 1
2nd Period – 1
3rd Period – 5
Overtime   – 1

And the Rampage through two postseason games:

1st Period – 3
2nd Period – 2
3rd Period – 0

So as the Rampage continue to score early in games, the Barons have found a ton of scoring past the second period. This, according to season-long projections, is a major anomaly. I realize comparing a 76 game season to two is about the dumbest thing you can do. Yet it does shed a tiny bit of light on how incredibly fortunate the Barons have been in the first two games.

Does this mean San Antonio has a chance to win three straight? Absolutely. Will they? It will be tough.

Goaltending, defensive pairs, transactions, forward positions, number of power plays versus penalty kills – these are just a few of my favorite things, or at least things I like to mention when we discuss period scoring.

The Rampage are a highly skilled team, pretty good in net, and for the most part entertaining to watch. They play a brand of hockey I really like. But for some reason they are unable to go deep. Perhaps injuries are to blame. Maybe the Barons are hitting their stride as the Rampage are headed down the long slide on the Chutes and Ladders game board.

Speculating on the outcome of the next three games is difficult. Knowing that the Barons have already won two makes things a bit more challenging for the Rampage. Do we look to historical information to figure out what plays out in game three? You can, but you probably will not like what you see. Unless the history lesson is less than a week old.