Yann Danis and Johan Motin stare down Nazem Kadri during the Barons Kid's Day Game. (Photo copyright Kathleen Rodgers)
It was a four-game week for the Oklahoma City Barons, as they looked to continue their four-game win streak and work their way towards the top of the standings. After suffering injuries in Abbotsford, the Barons would be without forwards Antti Tyrvainen(broken arm) and Josh Green(upper body injury). With the annual Kid’s Day game taking place this week, the state of Oklahoma would continue the "disaster" of the year, following up last year’s blizzard with earthquakes this year.
With the Toronto Marlies in town for their only meeting with the Barons in Oklahoma City this season, the Barons welcomed local schools for their annual Kid’s Day game. With 4,411 in attendance, Yann Danis and Mark Owuya would both stand tall in net through the first period, in a game that the Barons gave the Marlies numerous opportunities on the power play. Finally, at 14:12 of the second period, Simon Gysbers would break through with assists from Nazem Kadri and Marcel Mueller. The Barons would answer back a few minutes later, as Teemu Hartikainen would score with assists from Linus Omark and Ryan Lowery to send the teams into the locker room tied at 1-1 and the Barons killing off seven penalties to this point.
As the third period rolled on, the Barons would take the lead at 8:03, with Triston Grant scoring his third goal of the year with assists from Alex Plante and Chris VandeVelde. Giving up two consecutive tripping penalties, and a late too many men minor, the Barons would continue to hold off the Marlies. At the 19:34 mark, with Owuya on the bench for Toronto, Ryan O`Marra would take a hooking penalty during the too many men minor. With 26 seconds remaining, the Barons would hold off the 6 on 3 attack and Hunter Tremblay would clear the puck into the Marlies net to give the Barons a 3-1 win.
After a few days of rest, the Barons would welcome back the Charlotte Checkers to the Cox Center for the first of a two-game set, with 6,282 in attendance. Yann Danis would be in goal again for the Barons, and Justin Peters would mind the net for Charlotte. Alex Plante would take a boarding call eight seconds into the game, and the returning Taylor Chorney would take a hooking call 4:40 later, but Danis would stand tall in the scoreless first period. Early in the second, Justin Soryal and Triston Grant would drop the gloves. 47 seconds later, Mark Arcobello would find Gilbert Brule to score what would be the only goal in the game. Colten Teubert and Nicolas Blanchard would fight later in the second, and the teams would trade a few power play opportunities, but that would be all she wrote, as Yann Danis would get his second shutout of the year.
Saturday night, the Barons would be visited by Oilers brass as they flew in on their off day from Chicago that morning. Ralph Krueger would join them and get the opportunity to watch his son Justin play for the Checkers. With a rematch of Danis vs. Peters, the Checkers would come out firing on all cylinders and Jon Matsumoto would give the Checkers an early 1-0 lead at 4:16 as he scored five hole on Danis. 2:57 later, the Checkers would make it 2-0 from a Brett Sutter goal assisted by the aforementioned Justin Krueger and Jared Staal. The Barons would get a power play opportunity late in the first and would carry over into the second, but they wouldn’t be able to capitalize. Justin Soryal would make it 3-0 Checkers midway through the second period, assisted by Bobby Sanguinetti and Sutter. The Barons would finally start to look like a team late in the second, and Linus Omark would score his first goal of the season on a tap-in of an O`Marra shot from Brule.
Down 3-1 heading into the third, the Barons would start to put the Checkers on their heels, with chance after chance, but unable to get it past Peters. 6:02 into the third, Tyler Pitlick would make the best play of the game, blocking a Checkers shot, race down the ice with the puck, shoot, pick up the rebound and get it past Peters to make it a one-goal game. A late delay of game penalty by Matthew Pistilli would give the Barons another chance, but they wouldn’t be able to score and the Checkers would end the Barons six-game winning streak, winning 3-2.
With an early morning flight on Sunday, the Barons would fly to Milwaukee to take on the Admirals, and former Oiler Zack Stortini, in an early evening game. Captain Bryan Helmer would sit this game out as a healthy scratch, catching a breather in this four game in six day stretch. Looking like they had no sign of jet lag, Philippe Cornet would score 30 seconds into the game and give the Barons an early 1-0 lead. It wouldn’t last long however, as Mark Van Guilder would score eight minutes later, Juuso Puustinen would score at 9:53 on a Ryan Lowery hooking penalty, and Kyle Wilson would score unassisted at 13:47 to give the Admirals a 3-1 lead heading into the first intermission. Cornet’s goal would end up being one of only two shots by the Barons in the first period. If that’s not bad enough, the Barons would put up only two more shots in a scoreless second period. Much like the night before, the Barons would start to gain steam late in the period, and Cornet would tip home his second goal of the night off of a Taylor Chorney shot. It would be too little too late, and the Barons would drop their second game in a row with a score of 3-2.
Following the weekend, the Barons are now 3-3-0-1 against teams outside of the Western Division, while going 7-1-0-0 within the division. Dropping two in a row in regulation for the first time this season, the Barons look to rebound this week as they play the Rockford IceHogs on the road on Wednesday. The Barons will then return home for a two-game set against the Abbotsford Heat on Friday and Saturday.