About sixteen bloodhound, took in after him
And everybody else in the county
Chasin' him all across the swamp
Lost John outrun the bloodhounds there
All night long, it was long towards morning
- Woody Guthrie
Less than 24 hours after winning Game 1, 5-0, against the Houston Aeros, the Oklahoma City Barons took them on again in Game 2 on Friday night. Putting up 48 shots to the Aeros' 14, the Barons kept Yann Danis in net as he rode a shutout streak into Game 2. Matt Hackett started in net for the second straight game after he suffered an injury midway through the 2nd period on Thursday night. The Barons carried over the same line-up from Game 1 for Friday night's game.
Houston started off much better than they did the night before, putting multiple shots up in the first 10 minutes of the period, forcing Yann Danis to make some big saves early. At 10:58, Brett Bulmer drove in close to Danis' crease, close enough that Bulmer came in contact with Danis, setting off a couple scrums on the ice. After all was said and done, the Barons came out with their first power play opportunity after coincidental minors to House and Chay Genoway, with Bulmer picking up the extra unsportsmanlike minor. On the power play, Chad Rau was called for slashing as he knocked the stick out of Hartikainen's hands, giving the Barons a brief chance on a two-man advantage, but the Barons were unable to convert on the chances. Paajarvi took a spill at center ice and slowly skated back to the bench, not putting much pressure on his leg, but he would return later in the period.
Tyrvainen and Nick Palmieri were given coincidental unsportsmanlike conduct penalties at 17:57 after the two of them wouldn't settle down on a faceoff, putting both teams on a 4-on-4 situation. The open ice was just what the Barons needed to break open the scoring. Ryan Keller picked up a pass in center ice, drove into the Aeros' zone and shot the puck past a screen of Hackett's own defenseman, and the puck dribbled through Hackett's five-hole and over the line to make it 1-0 Barons at 19:13 with Yeo and Rodney picking up the assists. The horn sounded to end the 1st with the Barons up 1-0 and continuing to dominate the shot count over the Aeros, picking up an 18-8 advantage in the 1st.
The Barons got an early power play chance in the 2nd, as David McIntyre kicked Plante's stick away from him and was assessed an interference penalty at 2:34. A delayed penalty was called on Kris Fredheim was going to be called for tripping, but Keller was able to pick up a rebound shot from Cornet who and put it past a sprawled out Hackett to make it 2-0 Barons at 4:02, scoring his second of the night as Arcobello also picked up an assist. Hackett seemed to be re-injured on the play, and Mike Brodeur took over in net. A Cornet penalty at 5:39 gave Houston their first chance at a power play, but they were unable to convert.
Driving in on the right side, Pitlick let loose a steep angle shot from between the circle and the goal-line, getting it past Brodeur, and putting the Barons up 3-0 at 14:15 with a lone assist from Rodney. With the three-goal deficit, the Aeros began to get more physical, and Cody Almond made his presence felt as he took a run at Keller and hit him from behind, drawing a big crowd. Lander was the first one in after Almond, and other penalties were called on Plante and Yeo for the Barons, and Drew Bagnall and Palmieri for the Aeros, with the Barons coming out on the man-advantage. Unable to convert, Rodney put the Barons right on the penalty kill with a holding the stick penalty as the period came to an end with the Barons leading 3-0 and shots 24-11.
The Barons killed off the rest of Rodney's penalty from the 2nd period and they started to tap the brakes. At 3:48, the Barons defense forgot to watch a couple lanes and Cody Almond picked up a fortunate rebound in front of Danis and scored to break up his shutout streak over the last two games, lasting the first 103:48 of the postseason while the Barons continued to lead 3-1. The Barons began to take penalties at this point, allowing Houston some chanced to make it closer. Dan Ringwald committed a holding penalty at 7:50 that the Barons were able to kill. Then, during another Rodney penalty, this time for delay of game, the Barons were able to put the game back to a three-goal lead as Hunter Tremblay picked up a pass from Helmer and drove in on the right side. He stopped at the hashmarks, started to skate across ice, and scored from the slot to make it 4-1 Barons with a shorthanded tally. Another penalty chance for either team wasn't converted, and the Barons took this one 4-1 to bring a 2-0 series lead to OKC.
Final shots in the game were 37-20 after all was said and done. Game 3 is on the horizon as the Barons look to sweep the series against the Aeros at 7:00 Central/6:00 Mountain. The only possible change to the line-up I can think of is if Chorney is healthy enough to play, so we'll have to see how he's feeling on Sunday.
Eric's Three Stars:
1st: Yann Danis
2nd: Ryan Keller
3rd: Tyler Pitlick