The Oklahoma City Barons began their second run in the Calder Cup playoffs in as many years of existance. Beginning their best-of-5 series against the Houston Aeros, the Barons started in Houston for Game 1. With three days off in Houston, the Barons had ample time to think of nothing but the upcoming game. Having a 9-0-2 career record against Houston, Yann Danis got the start in net for the Barons against Matt Hackett for the Aeros. This season against the Barons, Hackett was 0-2-0 in three appearances with a 4.54 GAA.
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.
The 1st period was quickly paced as the referees put away the whistles early, but it was mostly the Barons that were doing the quick thing. All four lines were clicking as each got quite a few chances early. After a few nice saves by Hackett, the puck finally got past him as Pitlick picked up a rebound on a Tremblay shot and put it glove side past Hackett to make it 1-0 Barons at 13:25. A good play by Arcobello got the puck to Tremblay to get that started. Chris VandeVelde was called for boarding at 15:35 and the Barons killed it easily to send the game to the end of the 1st with the Barons up 1-0. The shot count was tilted heavily in the Barons' favor, 19-3 through twenty minutes.
Starting off the 2nd period, the Barons found themselves on the penalty kill once again as Paajarvi was called for hooking, getting his stick up after being stripped of the puck. The Barons were able to kill the Aeros' power play once again, but not before Chad Rau had a chance that the Barons diffused. The Barons finally got a chance of their own on the power play at 14:10 of the period, as Cody Almond was called for hooking. On a nine-game streak of not scoring with the man-advantage, the Barons turned that around 22 seconds into the PP as Hartikainen scored on a second rebound by Hackett, making it 2-0 Barons at 14:32 with Green and Paajarvi getting the assists. Arcobello had a shot shortly after that hit the crossbar, and on the ensuing play, Keller threw a shot towards the net that was tipped by both Arcobello and Tremblay. Tremblay was the last one to touch the puck and was credited with the goal to make it 3-0 Barons at 15:53.
Fifty seconds later, the Barons caught Hackett down on a shot and House scored from the low slot to make it 4-0 Barons with assists from Tyrvainen and Plante at 16:43. That would be all for Hackett in this game, being relieved by Mike Brodeur, but not before Hackett hit the net with his stick and kicked the bench on his way out. The Aeros began to let their frustration out, and it came to a fight between Yeo and Chris Clackson. A hit on Clackson by Yeo started the fight, and Yeo reluctantly dropped the gloves but earned the takedown in the end. After forty minutes, the Barons opened up the shot differential even wider, taking a 40-9 advantage in shots over the Aeros.
The Barons pulled back a bit in the 3rd, not putting up the shot numbers that they had in the first 40 minutes. Houston got a chance to get back in it in the process, but Danis made the saves he needed to keep the Aeros scoreless. The whistles were put away once again for the period until a checking match between VandeVelde and Drew Bagnall earned them each a minor for roughing at 13:35. After both were released from the boxes, Lander picked up the puck in the neutral zone and drove in alongside Keller. He looked at Keller but decided to go with the shot, and put it top shelf past Brodeur to make it 5-0 Barons, the final score at the horn.
Yann Danis stopped 14 shots to earn his sixth shutout of the season after earning five in the regular season. In the regular season, the most shots the Barons had put up in a game was on January 28 against the Texas Stars, where they had 45. They surpassed that number in this game, putting up 48 when all was said and done. The Barons look ahead to Game 2 tonight against the Aeros with the puck dropping at 7:35 Central/6:35 Mountain.
1st: Yann Danis
2nd: Hunter Tremblay
3rd: Teemu Hartikainen