BARONS RALLY TO DOWN GRIFFINS, 4-3
By Cassie Gage,
The Oklahoma City Barons rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-3 Friday evening at the Cox Convention Center. Jonathan Cheechoo scored two goals as Oklahoma City moved to 22-18-2-4 on the year.
Barons defenseman Brandon Davidson returned to the lineup Friday night and started, just three months after undergoing successful treatment for testicular cancer. Davidson last played on Oct. 28 against Texas. His treatment included removing the cancerous tissue and one round of chemotherapy.
Grand Rapids got on the board first as Adam Almquist’s one-timer from the right circle was tipped in from the side of the net by Luke Glendening to give the Griffins a 1-0 lead at 5:37 of the first period.
Oklahoma City’s first shot on goal came as Toni Rajala was just a few strides in front of the defense but was hooked on the play to give the Barons the man advantage for the first time during the game.
During the ensuing power play, Mark Arcobello had a one-timer hit traffic and sail just wide of the goal, while Josh Green’s shot was just tipped over the goal by Cheechoo.
The Barons took the shots lead late in the period and cashed in at the 16:37 mark as Ryan Martindale slammed home a centering pass from Rajala to even the score at 1-1. Curtis Hamilton earned the goal’s secondary assist with the feed to Rajala.
Moments later, Eric Lizon had a scoring opportunity skirt through the blue paint as the Oklahoma City continued to pressure Griffins goaltender Tom McCollum. The Barons held an 11-6 advantage in shots on goal at the first intermission.
The Barons started the second period with Hamilton getting a quality scoring chance and Colten Teubert making an impressive defensive play along the boards in the Barons offensive zone.
Despite the early scoring chances, the Griffins regained the lead at 2:19 as Glendening got his second goal of the night after Jeff Hoggan’s shot hit off the goalpost. Glendening just lifted the puck over a falling Niko Hovinen to put Grand Rapids back in front 2-1.
The Griffins extended the lead to 3-1 as Hoggan got the puck past Hovinen at 5:41 on a third attempt after two shots on goal for Grand Rapids.
The Barons rebounded with a pair of goals from a veteran forward. Cheechoo scored his second goal with the Barons as he used his size to power in front of the net and get the puck past McCollum to pull Oklahoma City to within one at 3-2. Taylor Fedun and Brett Clark earned the assists on the goal.
Cheechoo struck again at 12:56 thanks to a great pass from Philippe Cornet while Oklahoma City was on the power play. Green earned the secondary assist as the Barons rallied to tie the game at 3-3.
The Barons extended the shots on goal advantage to 28-15 at the second intermission by out-shooting the Griffins 17-9 in the frame.
Oklahoma City continued to pressure the Griffins, holding Grand Rapids to four shots on goal in the third period. Cornet gave the Barons the lead at 12:10 as he deflected a Theo Peckham point shot to put the Barons up 4-3. Arcobello earned the secondary assist on Cornet’s fifth goal the year.
The Barons nearly scored a fifth goal as a flood of shots peppered McCollum but none found the back of the net. Grand Rapids had a power play late in the game and pulled McCollum in favor of the extra attacker, but the Barons stood tall, killing the penalty and fending off a barrage of shots to secure the 4-3 win.
The Barons host Grand Rapids again Saturday evening at 7 p.m. at the Cox Convention Center. The games can be heard on the Barons flagship station, 96.1 KXY. Saturday, the Barons are giving away a Ford Taurus tomorrow night in the Drive Away Every Saturday promotion.
A variety of ticket packages are available to meet every individual or group need. Packages ranging from 7-game and 11-game packs to Full Season Seats are available. Call the Barons’ front office at 405-232-4625 for information on group outings, Season Seats and other ticket packages.
click for boxscore: http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1010548
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