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Skulls And Bulls Invade The Cox Center Against The OKC Barons

Josh Green struggled in the faceoff circle Sunday against San Antonio, winning five of twelve draws. Photo copyright Kathleen Rodgers, All Rights Reserved
Josh Green struggled in the faceoff circle Sunday against San Antonio, winning five of twelve draws. Photo copyright Kathleen Rodgers, All Rights Reserved

This weekend, the Oklahoma City Barons returned home from their Canadian roadtrip to Alberta and British Columbia with two wins over the Abbotsford Heat. With their first three game week in about a month, the Barons welcomed the Milwaukee Admirals and former Barons Zack Stortini to the Cox Center for the only times this season, and finished off the weekend on Sunday against the San Antonio Rampage who were coming off of a shootout loss and a regulation loss against the Texas Stars.

Coming into this weekend, Josh Green was riding a 10-game point streak - matching the club record set by Alexandre Giroux last season - and Linus Omark was riding a two-game goal streak, scoring in each game against Abbotsford last weekend.

Friday night, the Barons took on the Milwaukee Admirals for the second time this season, having lost their previous matchup in Wisconsin 3-2. Yann Danis had the start in net for the Barons while Jeremy Smith manned the pipes for the Admirals. Newly acquired Bryan Rodney, acquired in a trade with Anaheim for Ryan O`Marra earlier in the week, made the start alongside Bryan Helmer who has usually been the man the new defensemen have been paired with to ease their way into the system.

Having had trouble on the power play in recent weeks, the Barons curbed that quickly into the game as during a Brodie Dupont hooking penalty, the Barons drew the defense all onto the left side of the ice, leaving Linus Omark wide-open on the right side by the net. Omark got a nice heads-up pass from Ryan Keller and deked out Smith to put the puck into the net and give the Barons a 1-0 lead at the 6:15 mark. It didn't take long for the Barons to extend it as three minutes later, Hunter Tremblay had the puck behind the Admirals net and passed it perfectly to Tyler Pitlick in front who rocketed it in to make it a 2-0 Barons lead.

Things began unraveling from there for the Barons. Unable to keep up the pressure, the Barons allowed too many chances for the Admirals, finally culminating into a wristshot goal by Kyle Wilson at 17:59. Matters were made worse however as a few seconds later the Barons had a delayed penalty against the Admirals, but while they were in the process of trying to get the puck out from behind their own net, the puck hit the back of Yann Danis and into the net to give the Barons an own goal, tying the game up at 2-2 with Ryan Thang getting the credit for the goal.

The momentum gained by the Admirals continued into the 2nd period, and 5:07 in Tyler Sloan raced in from the point during another bout of Admirals pressure and gave Milwaukee the 3-2 lead. Ten minutes later, the Barons were able to kill a tripping penalty by Kirill Tulupov but immediately after he exited the box, Omark gave away the puck in the attacking zone and Ben Ryan made it a 4-2 game after two periods.

The Barons got a spark of life in the 3rd period and put a lot more pressure on the Admirals. Teemu Hartikainen scored his 11th goal of the season with assists from Taylor Chorney and Omark at 7:08 to pull the Barons within one. Unfortunately, the Barons were unable to capitalize on two power play chances and gave up an empty net goal by Jani Lajunen in the final minute to give Milwaukee the 5-3 win. This marked the first time the Barons had lost after having a two-goal lead in a game. Held scoreless in the game, Josh Green's 10-game point streak ended after this one.

The Barons and Admirals were back at it on Saturday night with David LeNeveu in net for the Barons and Atte Engren for Milwaukee. The Admirals picked up right where they left off the night before and 9:56 into the game on a Josh Green interference penalty, the Admirals kicked off the scoring with Victor Bartley scoring his sixth goal of the season assisted by Chris Mueller and Kyle Wilson. That was the lone goal in the 1st period and both teams had eight shots apiece. The middle part of the 2nd period ended up being a fast-paced sequence. The Admirals scored to make it a 2-0 game at 9:14 of the period off the stick of Lajunen, but mistakes by Milwaukee allowed the Barons the chance to get back into the game. At the 9:41 mark, Kevin Henderson committed a tripping penalty and just four seconds later Teemu Laakso shot the puck over the glass to draw a delay of game penalty, giving the Barons a 5-on-3 for 1:56. The Barons took advantage and newcomer Bryan Rodney made it a one-goal game, scoring his first as a Baron at 10:30 with an assist from Ryan Keller.

Milwaukee killed off the remainder of Laakso's penalty, but as soon as he exited the box Engren ended up getting a delay of game penalty, giving the Barons another PP opportunity. It only took 50 seconds for Philippe Cornet to score his 22nd of the season with an assist from Rodney to make it a tie game at 2-2. A too many men penalty to Milwaukee gave the Barons yet another chance in the period, but the Barons were unable to convert in the two minute span, but Teemu Hartikainen gave the Barons the lead fourteen seconds after the advantage ended with assists from Mark Arcobello and Dylan Yeo. That would be all the Barons needed as LeNeveu stood tall in net, turning away eight shots in the 3rd period while the Barons put up 17 in the 2nd and 12 more in the 3rd and the Barons split the weekend series 3-2.

Sunday afternoon, the San Antonio Rampage headed into town also on a three-in-three weekend. Yann Danis returned to the net for the Barons and Dov Grumet-Morris in net for the Rampage. Colten Teubert and Hunter Tremblay were both scratched for this one for various reasons. This one was an all goaltender battle and the only goal of the game came at 7:20 as Michal Repik scored off of a big rebound on a play that probably should have been blown dead with Evan Barlow seemingly offside. The Barons went 0/5 on the PP while the Rampage went 0/6 as the Rampage won 1-0, handing the Barons their third shutout of the season.

This week, it's a three game in four day stretch for the Barons. Wednesday night, the Barons will face the Texas Stars to close out their four-game homestand before headed on the road to Charlotte to take on the Checkers in a two-game set on Friday and Saturday.