Houston Aeros at Oklahoma City Barons - Game 3 Discussion "You Better Get Ready"

Not the prettiest of checks here by VandeVelde, but that's okay, it's the only unpretty thing they've done in the first round. Photo courtesy of Steven Christy. All rights reserved.

You better get ready, brother!
You better get ready, sister!
You better get ready,
'Cause you know you've got to fight!
You better get ready, brother!
You better get ready, sister!
You better get ready,
'Cause you may be called tonight!
-Woody Guthrie

Dominate is the best way to describe the Oklahoma City Barons in the first two games of the opening playoff round against Houston. They've out shot, out scored, out goaltended, out skated, and out hit Houston for two straight games. And as the short best-of-five series heads to Oklahoma City, you better get ready because the first round likely ends tonight.

How dominate has this OKC team been? Look no further than the Barons heavy "recap" via the American Hockey League's morning press release:

"Oklahoma City returns home with a 2-0 series lead over Houston and three chances to close it out at the Cox Convention Center, beginning this evening with Game 3... The Barons have extended their regular-season dominance of the Aeros into the Calder Cup Playoffs, posting 5-0 and 4-1 wins at Toyota Center and outshooting Houston by a total of 85-34... Oklahoma City is now 9-0-0-1 vs. Houston this season, outscoring the Aeros by a 35-13 margin... Yann Danis has allowed only one goal in the series, a Cody Almond attempt at 3:48 of the third period in Game 2... Barons rookie Hunter Tremblay has 2-1-3 and a league-best plus-5 rating through the first two games... Houston was 6-6 on the road during last year's run to the Calder Cup Finals."

Read Game #2 recap here.

Simply put, it would be hard to imagine this Barons squad playing any better. There's also a chance that this team closes out the series in front of a home crowd at the Cox Center in Oklahoma City.

In two games, Yann Danis has only faced 34 shots allowing only one goal in that time period. That brings his SV% to a dynamite .971. But for as good as Danis has been, the Oklahoma City forwards have been better. Ryan Keller has 2 goals and 2 assists, rookie Hunter Tremblay has 2 goals (one short handed) and 1 assist, and Mark Arcobello has three assists. As a matter of fact, the only Barons not to record a point in the first two games are Colten Teubert, Dan Ringwald, Chris VandeVelde, and Yann Danis. That's 6 different goal scorers, and 11 different assists makers. This team, once again, has been dominate.

The Aeros are simply deflated. We've watched as Matt Hackett has been debiliated by surging Barons. In his relief, Mike Brodeur has done some cleanup, but not played well either. Marry a bad goaltending situation to poor defending and handcuffed scoring, the Aeros are in a tough spot.

Both teams got a little sloppy at times in game number two, but the Barons dominated the penalty kill. Standing currently at 0-7, it feels like a matter of time before Houston scores, but in reality they've not shown an measure of life when with an extra skater.

Tonight, the game touches down in Oklahoma City. A Sunday night game is a hard sell in this city, but with $10 upper level tickets, and smattering of pre-game activities going on around the downtown area, a crowd of 3,500 might not be too much of a stretch (until I read my own words and think, "yeah, more like 2,500). Either way, the Barons will look to close out the series and likely face the potent offense of the San Antonio Rampage in the next round. And that's not me just being overzealous. The Aeros are a stagnant club at this point. And when matched with this current Oklahoma City lineup, it's a one-sided battle.

Oklahoma City Barons Lines for Game #3

Magnus Paajarvi-Josh Green-Teemu Hartikainen
Hunter Tremblay-Mark Arcobello-Tyler Pitlick
Philippe Cornet-Anton Lander-Ryan Keller
Antti Tyrvainen-Chris VandeVelde-Tanner House

Dan Ringwald-Bryan Helmer
Bryan Rodney-Colten Teubert
Dylan Yeo-Alex Plante

Scratches: Martin Marincin, Taylor Chorney, Tyler Bunz, Kirill Tulupov, Curtis Hamilton, Andrew Lord, Ryan Martindale, Kevin Montgomery, Triston Grant.

I'd be surprised if coach Nelson changes the on-ice roster today. The lines and pairs above have seemed to have gelled nicely. Why mess with success? But with injuries to both forwards and defenders there is wiggle room when it comes to squeezing in any of those above that are scratched, but healthy. Those that come to mind are Marincin, Tulupov, and Hamilton. All are eligible for play, but likely won't get the time.

Random Notes

  • Per the awesome fans in Oklahoma City that were inquiring, the Cox Center (managed by SMG) has denied the entrance of brooms into the facilities. But the truth is that mops would probably be a more appropriate jab.
  • All upper bowl tickets for the first round are $10. Pre-order or at the door, it doesn't matter. The price is fantastic, but perhaps the promotional side of this has gone unnoticed. At such a cheap price, can the Barons entice a crowd for a Sunday Game #3?
  • Western Conference champs tees will be handed out to everyone in attendance. Word of advice to fans. Wearing these tees might cause a touching-the-trophy-to-early type of jinx. You've been warned.
  • Magnus Paajarvi has been mostly invisible. In two games he's recorded four shots and an assist. In a series where nearly everyone is starting to score, Magnus is on the outside looking in for now. Although it's only two games, we continue to see him hesitant to take a run at the net. If he were to do that, he could notch goals in bunches. He has the speed and handles to do it -- now just do it!
  • Do we see David LeNeveu? The domination of Danis has been a nice cushion for the Barons in this series. But with the Aeros on the ropes there is a slim chance that David LeNeveu gets the start. Remember, David is a fantastic backup, and the Barons have the remaining three games at home to hammer out the series finale. Don't count out a backup getting the start.
  • If you want to check out the flip side of the Oklahoma City vs. Houston series, head over to Hockey Wilderness, home of the Minnesota Wild (parent club of the Houston Aeros) here on SBNation. They've done a nightly thread for each playoff game in Houston and will likely do so this evening. It's a combination of jaded anger and witty banter. Enjoy!
  • Tyler Bunz is hanging in and around Oklahoma City commenting on the weather, girls, and life in general. If you've not found him on "the tweets", do yourself a favor and follow him. He's a beaut! (his words, not mine)
  • Tune in via iHeartRadio 96.1 KXXY, SportsJuice keyword "Oklahoma City Barons", or at www.ahllive.com.
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