After the Barons snarled back into the playoff series by defeating the Bulldogs last night, 2-0, they look to re-load, and find the same magical chemistry that permeated the Cox Center only 24 hours earlier. With Oklahoma City now back in the series (2-1 in favor of Hamilton), the time to win seems heightened because of the charismatic team that we know the Barons can be. They showed us their post season potential, and now it's time to keep that momentum rolling. Leaving any wiggle room for the Hamilton Bulldogs will be disastrous for Oklahoma City. As both teams make adjustments, the Bulldogs will, no doubt, attempt to expose the weaknesses that the Barons displayed in the first two games, mainly on the defensive side of the puck.
Game four takes place in an Oklahoma City sports train wreck. The Barons are playing their second game in the Cox Center in this playoff series, but twenty yards away the NBA Oklahoma City Thunder are doing the same. A block away the Oklahoma City Redhawks will also be entertaining baseball related sports fans at the Bricktown ballpark. This is an exciting time for the city, but also a cautionary tale of city planning. Nonetheless, fans will endure crowded streets, insane parking options, and two hour waits at local restaurants.
The Barons hit the ice this morning in a optional skate, that quite a few actually attended. With the "smash and grab" style that was played in game three, there were bound to be some casualties. After a whale of a game, Colten Teubert fell awkwardly into the boards late in the third period last night. He was very slow to get up, and the puck was eventually whistled dead as Teubert crawled towards the bench. It immediately appeared to be a shoulder injury, and the team confirmed today that he would indeed sit tonight with an upper-body injury. Ironically, Anthony Aiello would take his spot on the team. "We're going to put in Anthony Aiello. He's a guy that played with us for at least 40% of the year. He's come in and done a very good job for us," said head coach, Todd Nelson, "We also have Marty Marincin and Brandon Davidson, they're both eager to play. We just feel that Anthony has a bit more experience. The tempo of the game was very high last night and we only got to see Brandon and Marty play just one game but if called upon, they're ready."
After a playoff shutout last night, Martin Gerber will again start over Jeff Deslauriers. Teemu Hartikainen, Linus Omark, and Mark Arcobello will again look to get on the scoresheet, but also dazzle fans with their puck control. The over-arching theme of this series has now become defense. Whichever defensive side makes the fewest mistakes will make or break their respective teams. Last night it was Colten Teubert, Alex Plante, and Jeff Petry who shined, but in the first two games it was Brendon Nash, Kyle Klubertanz, and Alex Henry. The effectiveness of each defensive pair, and the heads up play that keeps their team at even strength (or at a man advantage) will be the key to sound victory. Be prepared for another grudge match that goes deep into the game.
- Projected Lines: Alexandre Giroux - Brad Moran - Colin McDonald :: Teemu Hartikainen - Mark Arcobello - Linus Omark :: Zack Stortini - Ryan O`Marra - Greg Stewart :: Hunter Tremblay - Chris Vande Velde - Ben Ondrus :: Bryan Helmer - Alex Plante :: Jake Taylor - Richard Petiot :: Jeff Petry - Anthony Aiello
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