BARONS RALLY TO DOWN WOLVES, 5-2
By Cassie Gage,
The Oklahoma City Barons scored five unanswered goals to defeat the Chicago Wolves, 5-2, Sunday afternoon at the Cox Convention Center. The Barons (35-24-2-8) entered the game with six straight losses to the Wolves, but out-shot Chicago 47-28 en route to the 5-2 win. Oklahoma City’s 47 shots were the second-most in a single game this season, matching the 47 shots at Charlotte on Nov. 25 and trailing only the 48 put up against San Antonio on Jan. 18.
With the win, the Barons earned a critical two points in the western conference standings. Oklahoma City entered the game two points back of Houston and Rochester and just one point ahead of Chicago, Milwaukee and Rockford.
The Barons went on the penalty kill at 3:15 as Taylor Fedun was sent to the box for holding. Chicago got early chances on Barons goaltender Yann Danis, but the Wolves were unable to capitalize. Jordan Schroeder had a scoring opportunity for the Wolves taken away by Alex Plante. Oklahoma City had a shorthanded attempt from Curtis Hamilton on the early penalty kill but Chicago goaltender Matt Climie got up high to make the save.
Jonathan Cheechoo had a chance with traffic in front but Climie found the puck to keep the Barons off the board. Oklahoma City went on the power play for the first time at 7:45 as Yann Sauve went off for boarding Tanner House. Cheechoo had a backhanded chance turned aside and Mark Arcobello’s steep-angled shot went off the backside of the net. Climie then made a highlight-reel save on Tyler Pitlick.
Coincidental minors to Danny Groulx and Antti Tyrvainen at 10:27 opened the ice for 4-on-4 play. Darren Haydar got a shot tipped on net but Danis made the save to keep the game scoreless. The Barons went back on the power play at 12:53 as Eric Kattelus went off for hooking. Arcobello had a cross-ice feed to Toni Rajala that Climie was just able to get a piece of. The Chicago netminder followed with saves on Ryan Martindale and Fedun while the Barons had the man advantage.
Oklahoma City had a couple of chances late as Pitlick’s rebound attempt on a Martin Marincin shot was held and Fedun’s shot was also turned away by Climie. Oklahoma City led in shots 14-9 at the end of the period.
The second period started with Plante and Guillaume Desbiens dropping the gloves 1:32 into the period. Rajala went to the box for tripping at 3:06 and Chicago broke the scoring open at 3:16 as Brett Sterling fired a one-timer past Danis to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead on the power play. The 5-on-4 goal snapped Oklahoma City’s nine-game streak without allowing a power play goal.
Andrew Gordon made it 2-0 Chicago at 4:22 as he made his way away from the defense to get a shot off that banked in off the post.
Oklahoma City finally broke through at 9:27 as Fedun chased down the puck in the far corner and got the puck to Arcobello who centered it for a streaking Teemu Hartikainen. Hartikainen put home his 14th of the season to trim the Chicago lead to 2-1.
Hartikainen later centered a pass for Rajala that resulted in a big save from Climie. Chicago was called for too many men at 14:16 and on the subsequent power play, Cheechoo had a centering pass from Arcobello intercepted by Jeremie Blain and sent up ice.
Oklahoma City out-shot the Wolves 15-10 in the second to extend the shots advantage to 29-19.
After trailing 2-1 at the end of the second, Oklahoma City doubled up the Wolves in shots in the third, 19-8. A small change to the Barons lines made by head coach Todd Nelson, putting Arocbello, Rajala and Hartikainen together, midway through the first period also paid dividends in the final frame as Oklahoma City scored four goals en route to the 5-2 win.
Philippe Cornet and Hartikainen had two scoring chances each but Climie turned them away before the Chicago goaltender poked the puck away from Martindale to thwart another scoring chance. As the puck went back into the Chicago offensive end, the Wolves managed to get a flurry of action in front of Danis but were unable to get the puck in the back of the net.
Oklahoma City tied the game at 9:26 as Martindale whacked a one-handed chip shot up over Climie. The goal was Martindale’s sixth of the year and the beginning of an offensive barrage by the Barons. Rajala got in the action, scoring his first of two on the afternoon, at 10:19 with assists to Hartikainen and Garrett Stafford.
Hartikainen attempted to find Rajala again, but Climie made the save. Rajala made good on a second chance as his wrist shot from the high slot went in while the Barons were on the power play at 14:50.
The Barons continued to put pressure on Climie as the Chicago goalie turned away Chris VandeVelde late. Cornet added an empty-net goal at 19:37 to secure the 5-2 Oklahoma City win.
Oklahoma City now hits the road for a pivotal four games. The Barons face Houston Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. CT at the Toyota Center, and then travel to Rochester (Friday), Hamilton (Sunday) and Toronto (Tuesday) before returning home on Friday, April 19.
click here for boxscore: http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1010916
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