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"From Here On In" - OKC Barons Attempt To Sweep Houston

Game 3 against Houston was a bit of a tough go for the Oklahoma City Barons. Photo copyright Kathleen Rodgers, All Rights Reserved
Game 3 against Houston was a bit of a tough go for the Oklahoma City Barons. Photo copyright Kathleen Rodgers, All Rights Reserved

I'll take one road
from here on in.
From here on in
I'll take one street,
from here on in
I'll take one trail,
one walk, one lane
From here on in
-Woody Guthrie

Sunday night in Oklahoma City, the Barons opened up the home side of their playoff series against the Houston Aeros as they played in Game 3, looking to close out their best-of-5 series with the 2-0 lead. Matt Hackett was hurt in the 2nd period of Friday's Game 2, giving the starting goaltender duties to Mike Brodeur, getting his second start of year after missing a large amount of time following hip surgery. The Aeros also signed Ian Keserich to a professional try-out from the Tulsa Oilers of the CHL as an emergency back-up. Yann Danis got the start again for the Barons, undefeated in regulation in his career against Houston. The lines and scratches remained the same from the first two games of the series.

Barons lines:

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.

Prior to the puck drop, Yann Danis was presented with his Aldege "Baz" Bastien Award for being named the best goaltender in the AHL. It was back and forth hockey from the outset, with the Barons getting the first power play chance of the game. Nick Palmieri skated into the Barons crease and tried to push Teubert out of the way to make some room for himself, but cross-checked him instead and drew a penalty at 4:18. Following the unconverted power play, Yeo prevented a scoring chance on a break to keep it scoreless. Bryan Rodney was called for holding at 9:30, which the Barons were able to kill. At the middle break of the period, the Barons held an 8-5 edge in shots. Things started to get chippy after each whistle, and each team had a couple scoring chances. Drew Bagnall was penalized for roughing after one post-whistle exchange, but again the Barons were unable to convert. As the period came to an end, Lander was able to draw an interference penalty on Carson McMillan. A good chance by Rodney hit the post right before the horn, and the period ended in a scoreless tie with shots tied at 11-11.

After the McMillan penalty ended to start the 2nd, Tyrvainen took a big run on an Aeros player and caught him with an elbow, putting the Barons back on the penalty kill at 2:45. The Barons killed that off, and began to respond with chances by Plante, Yeo, and Cornet, but none were able to hit the twine. Houston finally broke open the scoring at 11:26 as Danis was able to make a big stop on a Palmieri breakaway, but Cody Almond picked up the puck and centered it to Brett Bulmer and he put it past Danis to make it a 1-0 Houston lead. Cornet drew a tripping penalty on Bagnall as he drove towards the net, but once again the Barons were unable to convert. One more unsuccessful chance by Cornet, and the horn sounded to end the 2nd with the Barons down 1-0, despite leading shots 20-18.

The 3rd period began with the Barons getting a few chances early, but they got caught behind on one missed chance, and Jeff Taffe redirected a long pass into the crossbar. The Pitlick-Arcobello-Tremblay line began to get a few chances as the period worked it's way to the halfway point. The Barons were given a prime chance to tie it up after Joel Broda was called for holding, and during the delayed penalty, David McIntyre was called for tripping. With a full two-minute two-man advantage, the Barons had chances and hit posts, but couldn't get the puck in the net. The Barons were given one more chance on the power play, but again, were unable to convert and they couldn't score with Danis off for an extra attacker, ending this one with a Game 3 loss, 1-0.

The final shot count was 31-21 in favor of the Barons, but Brodeur did just what he needed to do to earn the shutout. Going 0 for 7 on the power play, the Barons are now 2 for 14 in the series. Game 4 will take place on Tuesday as the Barons get another chance to close out the series.