"There's my new star in heaven tonite tonite There's my new star in heaven tonite I call it fatherly father 'cause it shines so brite There's my new star in heaven tonite" - Woody Guthrie
Indeed, there were a lot of stars that were shining bright in game one in the Toyota Center on Thursday evening. No one, even those that have watched both teams closely, could have predicted a near 50 shot, 5 goal blowout by the Barons that saw Matt Hackett yanked after stopping 30+. To add to the strange predicament, Houston went with new #2 tender, Calgary native and minor league journey man, Mike Brodeur. Yann Danis was magical when he had to be which wasn't very often, but the real stars of the evening were young and aplenty.
One sophomore and four rookies scored for the Barons. Teemu Hartikainen, Tanner House, Tyler Pitlick, Hunter Tremblay, and Anton Lander made game one sizzle with offense. Just too much razzle dazzle for the Aeros to handle, not to mention speed, talent, and agression. Overall, it was a night for a new breed of stars to shine, and shine they did.
Read the full recap from last nights game. s we pause for a 24 hour break, the action begins again tonight in Houston. The local forecast calls for strong winds and a few showers, but the deluge that potentially is coming Houston's way might not be of the wet variety, but instead in an icy cold beatdown. I'm hesitant to say that Houston can't or won't make things interesting. Dropping 50 shots a game is something few teams can do consistently especially in the postseason. It's also rare for Matt Hackett to not bounce back with a renewed vigor. Then again, his cry baby routine after being pulled last night proves the Barons are all up in his business (and then some).
For Oklahoma City, the gameplan stays the same, as does the line combinations. When you're firing on all cylinders, there's no need to change the spark plugs; at least not yet. So Coach Nelson will ice a continued young offensive bunch with a smart and intentional defense behind them.
The way that Houston inches there way back into form is by becoming physical, something they attempted to do in game one, but were unable to consistently accomplish because of the speed of the Barons. Taffe, DiSalvatore, and Fontaine will need to find some kind of rhythm. And of course the defensive core will need to find a way to thwart the ongoing onslaught of Barons.
It's potentially going to be a rough and tumble, slow game if the Aeros have their way. Oklahoma City simply needs to stick to the system that has gotten them through the first 60 minutes of play -- quick, sharp, smart, and penalty free. And if the old school dropping of the gloves rears its head, don't back down, but don't stoop to a level of goonery that comes in the most desperate of moments.
Oklahoma City Barons Starting Lineup:
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.
Tune in to the broadcast to catch the Doug & Jim craziness as well as a really good hockey game. Broadcast can be heard at 7:00pm Central via iHeartRadio or SportsJuice. And for the not-so-faint-of-heart-or-dollar, check out the AHLLive.com stream (around $9 per game; yes, that's way too much). And, of course, check back in the morning as Eric will have the full recap and commentary.
Join the conversation below as we cheer on the Oklahoma City Barons to make this a short series.