Cliff Rucker, a converted hockey fan and business man, is in the throws of a bid to bring the ECHL to Worcester. He is meeting with the ECHL Board of Governors to hear their decision on the matter in the coming days. Why is this important? Simply put, it demonstrates the potential hoops that Oklahoma City would need to jump in order to bring the East Coast Hockey League (wink wink) to the Sooner State.
I watched the NHL All Star Game.
I hated it.
Long before social media, these types of events were fraught with excitement. It felt organic to the viewer because, quite frankly, the polish didn’t need to be shiny, the veneer translucent, or the sheen remarkable. They were about our players, our teams, our moments rather than re-digested and fabricated situations. Timeless moments were captured before our eyes, and placed on our walls via posterized versions. With so many sports snippets calibrated for millennials the creation of so-called All Star moments happen daily, and at almost every hour. Gfycat, Vine, Periscope, and Twitter Video are incredible things, they really are. Yet we just aren’t “wowed” anymore, and that’s okay.
So I watched Little Pavelski and Little Burns score on a breakaway. I giggled at the Chewbacca bit. I continued to the love speedy Larkin. I thought the 3-on-3 format was amusing. But it all felt like a generic product. One seen often and quickly dismissed. In terms of the game and festivities – I hated it.
The Oklahoma City Blazers returned home to the Blazers Ice Centre after splitting a weekend in Wichita, and suffering their largest loss of the season the night before in Tulsa against the Jr. Oilers. Friday night saw a rare pulling of goaltender Ole Nilson and an 8-3 loss at the hands of the Jr. Oilers. In game two of a home-and-home-and-home series, the Blazers looked to rebound and exact a little bit of revenge.
Coach Tyler Fleck showed his confidence in his goaltender and put Ole Nilson back in net to start on Saturday night. The first period was a back-and-forth affair as Tulsa matched every move that the Blazers made. Pavel Oxiouta opened the scoring for OKC at 4:05, and less than two minutes later it was Maxim Chegrintcev tying it up for Tulsa. Ivan Bondarenko put OKC back up 2-1 at the 9:43 mark. A big fight broke out between the Blazers Alex Yuk and Tulsa’s Taner Byrd, with both players landing big punches, but Yuk landed a few more to gain the edge over Byrd. Tulsa answered back on the scoresheet as Ivan Bukshevannyy made it a 2-2 game at 15:12, sending the game to the intermission with the tied score.
In the second period, the Blazers turned a corner and things began to click for the Oklahoma City team. 6:19 into the period, a great play by Jiri Hajda kept the puck in at the blue line during a Tulsa clearing attempt. Hajda then sent the puck towards the net and Tomas Rubes was there to pick up the rebound and scored to give OKC the 3-2 lead. Three minutes later, the Blazers found themselves on a power play. A shot from the point by Marek Charvat was blocked by the pads of Tulsa goaltender Philip Babb, but the juicy rebound went right to the stick of Kirill Romanov, who made sure it went in and put the Blazers up 4-2.
As play traveled to the Tulsa end of the ice, a check by Blazers defenseman Michal Beranek was called by the referee as an interference penalty. Blazers head coach Tyler Fleck, a seasoned defenseman himself, took exception to the call and was promptly thrown from the game by the referee. The Blazers Colton Nelson commented after the game how it’s great to have a coach that will stand up for his team and that it gave the team a boost after. That boost showed as the Blazers were able to kill the minor penalty and Kirill Romanov jumped off the bench, received a breakaway pass and scored his second in a row to make it a 5-2 OKC lead, the score after two periods of play.
The momentum kept rolling for the Blazers into the third period, and after just 1:09, a point shot from Michal Beranek made its way through traffic and into the net to make it 6-2, and just sixteen seconds later it was Tomas Nemeth putting it home to make it 7-2. Making it three goals in the span of sixty seconds, Denis Skokor found the puck sitting behind the goaltender Babb after it skittered through his legs and Skokor made it 8-2 with 17:51 to go and chasing the Tulsa goaltender.
Near the midway point of the period, it was Skokor again, but this time he showed off his stickhandling skills by working his way around a defender and laying a perfect pass to Marek Charvat in front of the goal. An easy tap-in by Charvat made it 9-2 with 12:35 left in the period. The Blazers kept the Jr. Oilers hemmed into their own zone for most of the remainder of the game, allowing only three shots to make their way to Ole Nilson – and five overall throughout the final forty minutes – and it was Kirill Romanov who came roaring in and made it a 10-2 game to pick up the hat trick and to close out the win for the Blazers.
Ole Nilson put the blame for Friday night on himself, but was happy to bounce back and get the chance to prove himself in net once again. He credited his team’s defense and offense for the win after the game, “When you have guys that score ten goals a night, it’s nice to win a game.”
Kirill Romanov scored his second hat trick with the Oklahoma City Blazers, thanking his team and even thanking equipment manager Kacee Coberly as well for the help in scoring the hat trick. Romanov felt the loss helped the team bond a little bit and helped the team come together for the win, and that it will continue into their rubber game against the Oilers on Sunday.
The Blazers take on the Oilers at 3:15 this afternoon, looking to take the weekend series from Tulsa and keep the momentum going as they take on the Dallas Snipers next weekend.
Heading into tonight’s tilt with the San Jose Barracuda, here’s a look at the Texas Stars advanced stats through 45 games.
We’re back with some AHL advanced statistics. After following the Oklahoma City Barons in years past, I’ve turned my focus to the other teams in the league. New this season, I’ve added Points Per/60 and NHLe for each player.
Today, we focus on the San Antonio Rampage. The Rampage are in their first season as the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Rampage. Playing in the newly-minted Pacific Division, the Rampage sit fifth in the division with an 18-18-7-0 record (.500). Through 43 games this season, here are the stats for the San Antonio Rampage.
Since the Dallas Stars have been in existence I have been a fan. I couldn’t help myself. They scored a lot, won a lot, and played a passionate style of hockey. A fan first by geographic location, over time I learned to truly love the team southbound on I-35.
As the seasons rolled on there were teams that I grew to despise in those early days, teams that beat my Stars literally AND on the scoreboard. Although they were a winsome bunch most of the time, there were a few teams that really seemed to turn my smile into a scowl. One such team was the Edmonton Oilers.
h/t to Eric Rodgers for much of the investigative reporting on this story.
You have probably never heard of Major League Football. Quite honestly, I am a fan of the pigskin, and I hadn’t heard of them either. The truth is, however, that there was been a burgeoning movement for a smallish, spring time, smaller city league that helps prop up the NFL in ways that perhaps the collegiate ranks can’t quite accomplish quickly. But if you live in Oklahoma City, and what appears to be seven additional cities throughout the US, MLF is something you are going to want to take a look at.
The rumor mill has been churning out filth for years. I’m not talking about my sports market or yours, but the hypothetical one that exists in every 300,000+ city where sports is even slightly on the radar. I suppose that the economics of it all demand that owners look throughout the world to find sporting endeavors that spew money from a fire hydrant. I mean, there must be good money in sports franchising because these things exist. And where there is a slim chance of sports happenings, there is always a rumor of an owner or a team or the potential hope of both.
Hello faithful readers, and those who accidentally found our website via Googling “Farm Fresh Produce”, the blog is back(ish) with some major tweaks, a few deep thoughts, and some quibbles about cheap yarn from Michael’s. I hope you enjoy the ride, however lost you might be at this point.
A quick recap of the last six months wouldn’t be worth mentioning more than in brief, but since the fine people of Oklahoma City lost their pro AHL team (that was one of the best over that five year span) life has been a little sideways.
Since last we seriously highlighted serious pro hockey on this site, our lovely OKC Barons were ending their five year cycle of farming the Edmonton Oilers. They were packing up, heading West, and hopefully steering clear of TMZ reporters (retracted). The team was incredibly well-rounded at that time, and equally as well-coached. The five year run was short, sweet, and magically delicious. Yet we were forced to move on.
The Oklahoma City Blazers were riding a six-game winning streak coming into this past weekend, sweeping their second series in a row against the Salt Lake City Moose on the road, and were riding high as they got set to take on the Cheyenne Stampede back at home. The weekend started extremely high for the Blazers, but a set-back brought them back down.