On the wings of a 7-2 victory last night against the San Anotnio Rampage, the Barons have soared even closer to clinching a playoff spot down the stretch. Colin McDonald scored four times, and was assited by Brad Moran and Alexandre Giroux on each goal. Add a game opening goal by Ben Ondrus, another mid-way through the third by Mark Arcobello, and yet one more by Milan Kytnar, and you'll suddenly realize the incredible night the Barons were having.
Jeff Deslauriers only had to face 21 shots, as the defensive game plan cooked up by Coach Todd Nelson was magical. Truthfully, it was quite simple - keep the Rampage, and their dynamic offense out of the middle. With most of the play taking place around the boards, the Barons would grind San Antonio down. Through two periods the Rampage only had 11 shots on net, and their starting goaltender, Matt Climie, looked unready and unprepared for the quick shift from defense to offense by OKC.
The number of standing points to secure a playoff spot is now set at one. With the Peoria Rivermen defeating the Chicago Wolves, the dream of the playoffs is quickly becoming a reality. With at least one standing point earned tonight (6:00 MDT and live on 96.1 KXY) when they face the Texas Stars (who clinched a spot yesterday), the Barons are guaranteed a post season appearance.
- Hunter Tremblay and Martin Marincin were both in pre-game warmups. Tremblay is the only one that would actually see game time, but don't be surprised to see Marincin in the final game on Sunday if indeed the Barons can secure a playoff spot tonight.
- Mathematically speaking, the Abbotsford Heat could still snatch the fourth place spot in the North Division over the Barons. However, they'd have to gain three points on OKC, and that seems highly unlikely. I've said it before, but how bittersweet is it for Oilers fans to have another opportunity to keep a Calgary Flames affiliated team out of the playoffs? Priceless.
- As it stands today, the Barons will play the Hamilton Bulldogs in the first round of the playoffs. The benefits of a series in a Canadian market, like Hamilton, are huge. Great coverage of the team on radio/tv/print is a bonus no matter who you are, but especially an Oklahoma-based team needing exposure. (And Edmonton fans everywhere who'll be excited to back a playoff bound team)
- Oh right. The Oilers. They lost 3-1 to the Wild last night in a game that featured Steve MacIntyre doling out vigilante justice for the first time all year, as well as former and future Baron Teemu Hartikainen scoring his third NHL goal of the year. With Hartikainen, Omark, and Petry about ready to come back down, these Barons could be one dangerous team!