Showing posts with label Calder Cup Playoffs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Calder Cup Playoffs. Show all posts

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Oklahoma City Barons Game 6 Recap; Bulldogs Close Out The Series

And so it unfortunately ends. The Barons played well through the first 55 minutes, but couldn't keep it up. The Barons had a lot more quality chances at scoring but Drew MacIntyre did well to keep the puck out of the net. Two scoreless periods saw the Barons outshoot the Bulldogs 18-9 and Alexandre Giroux would finally break through at 5:41 of the 3rd to start the scoring. Nigel Dawes wouldn't have any of it though, scoring 62 seconds later to tie the game back up at 1. The Barons would have some good chances to take the lead back and would have a better chance as Aaron Palushaj would take a tripping call at 14:18. The beginning of the end though would come at 15:28 when Jeff Petry would take a tripping call of his own to help break up what might have been a breakaway by Hamilton. Palushaj would come out of the box and would later assist on Frederic St. Denis' goal to give the Bulldogs the 2-1 lead. The Barons would pull Martin Gerber for the extra attacker as time wound down, but Nigel Dawes and J.T. Wyman would each put in an empty netter to make the score 4-1 as the final horn sounded.

But wow, what a season. It's been a fun ride. Some end of season thank yous. First, many thanks to Smokin' Ray for giving me the opportunity and platform to do this. After meeting him and Scott from OilFieldHockey after the name "Barons" was unveiled, I had no clue I'd be where I'm at right now doing this. Second, thanks to Josh Evans and the Barons staff. They've been very inviting and I've gotten to meet some good people within the org. Third, many thanks to the players. For what they've done in the community this season and getting to know them during the STH events, they're all class acts. It's going to suck seeing those that pursue other opportunities leave. Many thanks as well to Ryan Aber of the Oklahoman. He was the only constant source of media coverage for the team this season and it was much appreciated.

Finally, many thanks to all of you. A year ago, I never thought I'd be where I am right now. Having 469 followers at the time of writing this on my Twitter account is far beyond where I thought I'd be at the end of the season. A lot of that is due to retweets and mentions from Dan Tencer, David Staples, and the great people at Copper and Blue. Lots of thanks to them as well. I appreciate all the support from all of you and I look forward to doing this again next season. Be sure to keep up with my Twitter, @AHLBarons, during the offseason for all the goings ons over the next few months. Next season's looking to be a good one.

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Oklahoma City Barons Game 6 Preview vs. Hamilton Bulldogs

Win or it's over. The Barons head into today facing their first playoff elimination game in franchise history. The last time they had this kind of pressure though, they went into San Antonio and beat them 7-2 and into Austin the next night and beat the Stars 2-0. Different teams, different situation, but the pressure to win was still there and they didn't fold.

Following the Barons first loss, Todd Nelson changed the lines around to find some chemistry. After a shutout loss in Game 5, it'll be interesting to see if they get shuffled for tonight's game. Probably the biggest question is if Anthony Aiello will get the start again, with both Colten Teubert and Kevin Montgomery still out with upper body injuries. Brandon Davidson has been practicing with the main group as the 7th defenseman.

The top two keys to today's game, first is shutting down Nigel Dawes. The Bulldogs are 3-0 in the games that he has scored this series. The second is the top line of Alexandre Giroux, Brad Moran, and Colin McDonald. To have the top 3 scorers on the team during the regular season have only 1 goal and 1 assist each this whole series is not good. If they're able to get back where they were and the other 3 lines back to where they were in Game 3, winning these next two games won't be hard.

The Barons look to become the 7th AHL team to win both games 6 and 7 on the road. Binghamton became the 6th team last night, closing out the Manchester Monarchs in overtime. Elsewhere, the Lake Erie Monsters look to close out the Manitoba Moose for the 2nd time. The Moose avoided elimination in their last game winning 2-0. The Monsters hold on to a 3-2 series lead there. Their game is at the same time as the Barons.

Puck drops at 3:00 Central/2:00 Mountain today. You can listen on 96.1 KXY in OKC, or on The Team 1260 in Edmonton. You can watch the game on AHL Live as well($$). And you can follow me on Twitter, @AHLBarons, as well. Hopefully I'll be writing up one of these tomorrow, but time will tell.

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Oklahoma City Barons Game 5 Recap; Barons Get Blanked

For the 5th time this season, their 3rd time on home ice, and the 2nd time against Hamilton, the Barons were shutout. After averaging 35 shots for and 27 shots against in Games 1-4, the Barons were only able to put up 20 shots, with 6 of those coming in the last 3 minutes. The Power Play woes continued, with the Barons going 0/7 on the night, 1/26 on the series.

The 1st period started off on a low note. After an Alex Plante slashing call, the returning Aaron Palushaj would pick up a loose puck in the crease during the PP and put the puck past Martin Gerber. Not helping was 2 Barons players getting caught together and Palushaj was able to break free. The Barons would only be able to put 3 shots on goal in the period and that would be the score as the teams headed to the locker room.

The 2nd period wouldn't be much better for the Barons. They couldn't connect on 2 PP chances and would have to kill what was essentially a 4 minute penalty after a questionable Goalie Interference call to Chris VandeVelde and an obvious slash in front of the referee to Alex Plante right after VandeVelde's penalty was over. The Barons were able to hold off the Bulldogs, but at 18:33 Nigel Dawes would get the puck and score to make it a 2-0 Bulldogs lead. Gabriel Dumont would take a kneeing penalty before the horn would sound to end the 2nd.

The Barons wouldn't be able to score on the Dumont PP, or the Dany Masse high stick call drawn by Zack Stortini early in the period. The Barons would only be able to get 2 shots on net for the majority of the period, and Gerber would be pulled with 2:10 left for the extra attacker. After Alex Plante almost tucked it into the empty net as he picked the puck up, they Barons would rush and Alex Henry would give the Barons a chance with a crosschecking penalty at 18:19. The Barons would manage 6 more shots in the period, but Drew MacIntyre would stand tall and earn the shutout as the final horn sounded.

The Barons now face a tall order of winning 2 in a row in Copps Coliseum as the teams head back to Hamilton. If they want any chance at it, they're going to have to start scoring on the PP and most of all, just shooting the puck period. There was reluctance to shoot in Game 5, and the Bulldogs were quick to exploit that. Obviously a 46 shot game will net you some goals, and if the defense helps the goalie, it'll make it into a win. Game 6 is Sunday with the puck drop at 3 Central/2 Mountain. If you're in the OKC area, there will be a watch party for the game at Rococo North Park location at May and 122nd.

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Friday, April 22, 2011

Oklahoma City Barons Game 5 Preview vs. Hamilton Bulldogs

For Game 1 in what is now a best of 3 series, the Barons look to keep the momentum of their 2 straight wins and to have the series lead as they head back to Hamilton. The goaltending remains to be the key to both team's success. After the 3 goals by Hamilton against Jeff Deslauriers in Game 1, the Bulldogs have only been able to put 6 goals past Martin Gerber in the first 4 games, while the Barons have managed 7 against Drew MacIntyre in the last 2. With Curtis Sanford out for the year for Hamilton, it's very unlikely that we'll see rookie goalie Robert Mayer in net for the Bulldogs after his 9-10-2-2 record and .890 SV% from the regular season.

With Kevin Montgomery and Colten Teubert both out with upper body injuries, Anthony Aiello will step in again. Obviously a big attribution to keeping the Bulldogs from scoring has been the defense, and they'll need to keep it up without two of their big shots from the point for another game.

The Barons needed the secondary scoring from the lower 3 lines to start showing up, and it finally did in Game 4 with the only problem being that the top line didn't make the scoresheet. Once all four lines are able to click together, any team will have a hard time stopping them.

Puck drops at 7:05 Central/6:05 Mountain. Also going on tonight at 7:30 Central is Game 5 of the Lake Erie/Manitoba series. The winner of that series will face the winner of the Barons/Bulldogs series. The Monsters have a 3-1 series lead and look to close out the Moose in what possibly could be their last game in Manitoba depending on how the Phoenix Coyotes situation ends. You can listen to the Barons game on KXY 96.1 in OKC or on The Team 1260 in Edmonton. You can watch the game on AHL Live($). With today being Good Friday, I will be at tonight's game, so you can follow along on my Twitter account, @AHLBarons.

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oklahoma City Barons Game 4 Recap; Brand New Series

After losing 5-2 to Hamilton in Game 1, the Barons dished it right back to the Bulldogs by winning Game 4 with the exact same score. With the 5 players that the Oilers sent down after their season having been with the Barons for a couple weeks now, the lines are starting to work together and the team's starting to get better. The top line of Alexandre Giroux - Brad Moran - Colin McDonald was notably absent on the score sheet on Wednesday night, but the other three lines stepped up and filled the void.

Most notably, just 3:06 into the game as the Barons were in the Hamilton end of the ice, Hunter Tremblay would steal a clearing attempt near the slot and backhand the puck past Bulldogs goaltender Drew MacIntyre to make it 1-0. That goal would be Tremblay's first pro goal. Seven minutes later, Nigel Dawes would get a pass from Dustin Boyd and shoot it towards Martin Gerber. Gerber would make the initial save but Ian Schultz would put it in and tie the game at 1.

The Barons would get a few chances early in the 2nd from Teemu Hartikainen, but he would be denied each time. 5:40 in, Ryan O'Marra would shoot a one-timer towards the net that Zack Stortini would tip and the puck would make it across the line to make it a 2-1 Barons lead. 8 minutes later, Paul Zanette would fire a screened shot past Gerber to tie it back up at 2. As the 2nd period wound down, the Barons would finally break through on the Power Play. After a Kyle Klubertanz holding call, Arcobello would receive a pass at the point and blast it by MacIntyre who was screened and send the teams to the locker room with a 3-2 Barons lead.

The Barons spent quite a bit of time on the Power Play in the 3rd, but wouldn't be able to break through the Hamilton PK. 11:26 in though, Linus Omark would do what he does best. Omark and Hartikainen would come into the zone on a 2 on 1. Hartikainen shot it towards MacIntyre but missed the net. Omark picked up the puck on the end boards and shot it at the back of MacIntyre's legs. The puck banked off and into the net of a stunned MacIntyre as the Barons grabbed a 4-2 lead. Hamilton would get one more chance on the PP, but couldn't score. They pulled MacIntyre for the extra attacker with about 2 minutes left, but Chris VandeVelde would put away the game with the empty netter at 19:20, assisted by Jeff Petry.

The Barons look to head back to Hamilton with the series lead as they head into Friday's Game 5. Still questionable are defensmen Kevin Montgomery and Colten Teubert, but Anthony Aiello stepped up well in their place on Wednesday. Would have to imagine that Gerber stays in net for Game 5 with how well he's been playing this week. Puck drops at 7:05 Central tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oklahoma City Barons Game 3 Recap, Game 4 Preview; Barons Bite Back

The Barons are almost starting their first postseason in franchise history like they started their first regular season in franchise history. First a sizeable loss, then a minimal loss. Only this time, they skipped over the OT loss and jumped right into shutting out the opposing team, which is exactly what they needed. After having trouble figuring out Hamilton goaltender Drew MacIntyre, they finally got the puck past him, while Barons goaltender Martin Gerber stepped up and kept his net empty.

After two scoreless periods that saw good chances by both teams, the Barons finally broke through midway through the 3rd. After the Barons killed off a sketchy Colin McDonald crosschecking penalty, Brad Moran took a shot from the high slot that got past MacIntyre and probably would have gone in, but McDonald wasn't going to take any chances and weaved in past MacIntyre and drove the puck into the net to break the scoreless tie. It wouldn't end there though, as Alexandre Giroux would steal the puck from Frederic St. Denis, fall to his knees as he was battling with him, get back up and just put it right past MacIntyre to make it 2-0.

That would end up being the final score and the Barons would cut into the Hamilton series lead making it 2 games to 1 now. The Barons shift their focus to tonight and look to build on the win as they head into Game 5 on Friday. Colten Teubert went down late in the 3rd last night as he went to check a Bulldogs player but ended up landing awkwardly into the boards shoulder first. He would go to the locker room and the only diagnosis being an "upper body" injury. Hopefully it isn't too serious as him and Richard Petiot were both dealing out some hard checks last night. If Teubert goes out and Kevin Montgomery remains out after his injury in Game 2, it's hard to say who would be next in the lineup. Whether they go with Anthony Aiello, who's with the team on a PTO after the Stockton Thunder's exit in the playoffs, or with an ATO like Brandon Davidson or Martin Marincin. It'll be an interesting dynamic to tonight's game either way.

While the Barons seem to have figured out a way to beat MacIntyre, seemingly by wearing him down and throwing shot after shot on him, the team really needs to get their PP working. The Barons are 0/12 on the PP against the Bulldogs in the series.

Puck drop tonight is at 7:05 Central/6:05 Mountain. The Barons will also be competing with the NBA Thunder and the Triple-A baseball Redhawks, as all three have games starting at 7. Definitely going to cause traffic problems as 25,000ish people are all going to be in a 3 block radius trying to get to the games and probably trying to leave at close to the same time. You can listen to the game on 96.1 KXY in OKC or on The Team 1260 in Edmonton. You can also watch the game on AHL Live($). I yet again will have to work tonight, so I'll be unable to tweet the game, but you can follow with @ryaber(Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman) or @OKC_Barons if you would like to go that route.

Tuesday's shot count
Hamilton: 6-10-10-26 0/6 PP
OKC: 15-11-20-46 0/6 PP

Tonight's referees: Tim Mayer, Jean Hebert; Linesmen: Randy Sappo, Carl Sasyn

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oklahoma City Barons Game 3 Preview vs. Hamilton Bulldogs

At 7:05(CDT) in the Cox Convention Center, the Barons head into their pivotal Game 3 against the Hamilton Bulldogs. The two things that the Barons need to figure out to win, are the Nigel Dawes line and the goaltending of Drew MacIntyre. Everytime the Dawes line is on the ice, the Bulldogs do well to set up in the offensive zone and run their shift like a PP. The Barons had lots of good chances in Game 2, but MacIntyre was a brick wall. Once they get past that, they should be in good shape as long as their own goaltending keeps them in the game. When Ben Ondrus is your team's point leader with 2 points when you have a bunch of other scorers, it's not a good sign.

The Barons announced today that they signed Curtis Hamilton to an ATO. Doubtful that he plays, but there's a small chance, seeing as they've had either Tanner House or Hunter Tremblay in the lineup, both on ATOs of their own. Puck drops at 7:05. You can listen on 96.1 KXY in OKC, or on Team 1260 in Edmonton. You can also check out the game on AHL Live($). I started a new job this week, that unfortunately won't allow me to be at the game tonight, so check out @OKC_Barons on twitter for updates if you would like to go that route.

Referees: Jean Hebert, Tim Mayer; Linesmen: Randy Sappo, Carl Sasyn

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oklahoma City Barons Game 2 Recap; Barons Fall Short

After a rather uninspired effort in Game 1, the Barons were ready to play in Game 2. Todd Nelson tinkered with the lineups by taking out Alex Plante, Milan Kytnar, and Tanner House and replacing them with Colten Teubert, Zack Stortini, and Hunter Tremblay.
The Barons came out hard in the 1st, getting some good chances on Hamilton goalie Drew MacIntyre. Early in the 1st, Kevin Montgomery would take a big hit from Andrew Conboy. He would head to the locker room and would not return for the rest of the game. The Barons would finally punch through as Colin McDonald would bring the puck in on the right wing side and pass it to a hard charging Brad Moran in the slot who would blast it by MacIntyre and make the score 1-0 in the Barons favor at the 17:18 mark. 36 seconds later would begin the turning point of the game however. Zack Stortini and Jimmy Bonneau would begin a shoving match that would end with Bonneau tackling Stortini after the whistle. Bonneau and Stortini would both be assessed roughing minors, but Stortini picked up an additional interference penalty. The Bulldogs came hard on the PP, but the Barons would hold on. 3 seconds after the PP would end however, a shot would bank in off of Richard Petiot's skate and tie the game up for the Bulldogs with 3 seconds left in the period. The teams would head to the locker room tied at 1 with the Bulldogs leading shots 13-12.
The 2nd period would start much the same way the 1st period ended. A really weak hooking call was assessed to Linus Omark 35 seconds into the period. The Bulldogs would capitalize with Nigel Dawes getting a pass all alone on the right side and blast the shot past Martin Gerber 28 seconds into the PP and make it a 2-1 Hamilton lead. The Barons would get a few good chances to tie it up, but the Bulldogs defense and MacIntyre would hold strong as the headed to the locker room.
The 3rd period was all Barons and Drew MacIntyre. The Barons had many chances, but couldn't convert on any of them. With 2 minutes left, the refs threw out the tight calling of the game up to that point as Colin McDonald would be pulled down in the neutral zone, but no call would come of it. Gerber would be pulled as the period ran down, but MacIntyre would hold strong and keep the score 2-1, stopping the 15 Barons shots that period while the Bulldogs only got off 2.
The Barons played well this game. Biggest thing working against them was the refereeing. Despite rolling only 5 D for the majority of the game, they played well, not making any huge mistakes like in Game 1. The series heads to Oklahoma City with the Barons down 2-0 in the series. The biggest question mark is the status of Kevin Montgomery and whether he'll be back healthy for Game 3. No complaints on the forward lines, I thought they all played pretty well, they were just unable to figure out the Hamilton defense and Drew MacIntyre.
Barons shots: 12-12-15-39 Barons PP: 0/3
Bulldogs shots: 13-8-2-23 Bulldogs PP: 1/6
Alexandre Giroux - Brad Moran - Colin McDonald
Linus Omark - Mark Arcobello - Teemu Hartikainen
Hunter Tremblay - Chris VandeVelde - Ben Ondrus
Greg Stewart - Ryan O'Marra - Zack Stortini
Bryan Helmer - Colten Teubert
Jeff Petry - Kevin Montgomery
Jake Taylor - Richard Petiot
-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Oklahoma City Barons Game 2 Preview vs. Hamilton Bulldogs

After a 5-2 loss in Game 1 on Thursday night, the Barons look to bounce back today and tie the series up before they head home to Oklahoma City. The Barons need to tighten up on defense if they want to make anything happen.
From the sounds of interviews after practice on Friday, Colten Teubert will be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch in Game 1. It'll be interesting to see if any changes are made on the forward lines, and who will be scratched on defense to make room for Teubert. It remains to be seen if another healthy scratch on Thursday, Zack Stortini, will see any time in uniform. I don't foresee the lines of Giroux-Moran-McDonald or Omark-Arcobello-Hartikainen getting shuffled, but the line of Kytnar-VandeVelde-House is a definite question mark for today's game, while the line of Stewart-O'Marra-Ondrus is a small area for speculation while having been the line that scored the 1st goal for the Barons in Thursday's game.
My guess on defense would be that Kevin Montgomery is the one that gets scratched, but after Alex Plante's less than spectacular play Thursday, he's a candidate too. If Todd Nelson wants to go with what got them there though, Teubert-Plante would be the pair, and Jeff Petry would move with Bryan Helmer. Having been paired for most of the season, I can't see Nelson splitting Jake Taylor and Richard Petiot without having a sure idea of how the new pairs would work.
After giving up 3 goals in 6 shots in the 1st period on Thursday, I doubt Jeff Deslauriers will be in net today. Martin Gerber came in at the start of the 2nd period and stopped 21 of 23 shots.
Puck drops at 3 PM Central/2 PM Mountain. The game can be heard on 96.1 KXY in OKC, and The Team 1260 will be broadcasting what I'm assuming is a simulcast, in Canada. You can also watch the game on AHL Live($10). Hamilton has one of the better video feeds I've seen this season. You can also follow along with me on Twitter, @AHLBarons.

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oklahoma City Barons Game 1 Recap: Barons Get Bit

Coming into tonight's game, expectations were high. The Barons were getting back 5 call ups from the Oilers, they had the majority of their scoring threats back, and they were riding a great last two weeks of the regular season. Unfortunately for the Barons, the Hamilton Bulldogs didn't want to cooperate.

The game started out in favor of the Bulldogs. Kevin Montgomery took an interference penalty 46 seconds into the game. Nigel Dawes would continue his scoring from the regular season and put the Bulldogs up 1-0 just 1:38 into the game on the Power Play. Despite a few scoring chances for the Barons, the Bulldogs would make their chances count. Olivier Fortier and Ryan Russell would each score in the 1st and the teams would head into the locker rooms with the Bulldogs up 3-0.

After giving up 3 goals on 6 shots in the 1st, Barons coach Todd Nelson would pull Jeff Deslauriers from goal in favor of Martin Gerber. Martin Gerber would help temper the Bulldogs offense, but not enough. At the 7:23 mark, Ben Ondrus would get a pass from along the endboards by Ryan O'Marra and would take it to the net and squeeze the puck past Hamilton goaltender Drew MacIntyre to bring the Barons within 2. It unfortunately wouldn't last long as Aaron Palushaj would put the Bulldogs back up by 3 after receiving along the goal line and blast it by Gerber on the PP. As the 2nd period was winding it's way down, Greg Stewart would wind up taking a boarding major and receive a Game Misconduct at the 19:36 mark. After 40 minutes of play, the Barons would head to the locker room down 4-1.

The Barons would start the 3rd period shorthanded as they attempted to kill the Stewart major. 1:29 later, the Bulldogs would continue where they left off and make it 5-2 from Joe Stejskal after a crazy screen play. 5 and a half minutes later, the Barons would try to put a band-aid on the wound as Bryan Helmer received an awesome pass from Linus Omark and make it 5-2. Unfortunately, the Barons wouldn't be able to muster anything else and that would be your final score as the Bulldogs take a 1-0 series lead.
The biggest thing from this game, the pair of Petry and Plante does not work. I'm still confused as to why Nelson broke up Plante-Teubert when they had been doing so well. Saturday will have a few lineup changes, I'm sure. The best forward line of the night had to be Omark-Arcobello-Hartikainen. They did the best to make chances and came close a number of times. McDonald-Moran-Giroux had a few chances, but if the Barons want to have any chance of advancing, these guys need to step it back up to where they were last weekend. Game 2 is always a very important game and the Barons will have to show up more on Saturday than they did this game.

Barons shots: 8-12-6-26 PP: 0/3
Bulldogs shots: 6-14-9-29 PP: 3/6

Colin McDonald - Brad Moran - Alexandre Giroux
Linus Omark - Mark Arcobello - Teemu Hartikainen
Milan Kytnar - Chris VandeVelde - Tanner House
Greg Stewart - Ryan O'Marra - Ben Ondrus
Bryan Helmer - Kevin Montgomery
Alex Plante - Jeff Petry
Jake Taylor - Richard Petiot
-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Oklahoma City Barons Preview Game 1 vs. Hamilton Bulldogs

Tonight marks the first playoff game in Oklahoma City Barons history, coming in their first season of existence. Earning themselves a spot with the AHL's crossover rule, the Barons move to the Northern Division to take on the division winning Hamilton Bulldogs, AHL affiliate to the Montreal Canadiens. The winner of this series will go on to take on the winner of the series involving the Lake Erie Monsters(Colorado Avalanche) and Manitoba Moose(Vancouver Canucks).

The Barons enter tonight, having back some major pieces to their offense. Linus Omark, Teemu Hartikainen, Chris VandeVelde, Ryan O'Marra, and Jeff Petry all return after spending a good amount of time in the NHL. Coach Todd Nelson said yesterday on Oilers Lunch that they were trying out some lines with them. With the obvious line of Alexandre Giroux, Brad Moran, and Colin McDonald, the lines that were mentioned yesterday were


Whether or not those will be the lines tonight will remain to be seen, but I'd say the first two would be pretty good bets. The Stewart-O'Marra-Ondrus line has seen some time together at various points of the season. Nelson also mentioned the D-pairs that they were running in practice were


Nelson mentioned putting Petiot and Taylor out as much as possible against Hamilton's Nigel Dawes line, something that I think will work out very well. I'm still sure that they'll run Petry with Helmer and keep Teubert and Plante together, but we'll see how that goes.

Photo © Candace Riley

One thing that interested me was seeing how much playoff experience each team had. Looking at the Barons roster, 11 players have had playoff experience in the NHL, AHL, SEL, or KHL. 7 forwards have combined for 2 NHL, 4 KHL, 232 AHL, and 33 SEL playoff games. 3 defensemen have combined for 6 NHL and 161 AHL playoff games. Martin Gerber is the lone goalie with playoff experience, having played in 12 NHL and 25 SEL playoff games. The numbers do get skewed a little bit, as the majority of the AHL games come from Alexandre Giroux(112 AHL) and Bryan Helmer(138 AHL, 6 NHL). When you take their games out of the AHL totals, you go from 393 games to 143 games among 9 players.

Going to the Bulldogs, the majority of their playoff experience came from their run last season, ending in the conference finals as they lost to the Texas Stars. They have 18 players total with 268 AHL, 20 NHL, and 37 SEL playoff games combined. 11 forwards combine for 154 AHL, 2o NHL, and 21 SEL playoff games. The biggest thing that may work in the Barons favor, four defensemen have combined for 75 AHL and 16 SEL playoff games, while their 3 goalies have combined for 39 AHL playoff games.

Referees: Dave Lewis and Marcus Vinnerborg; Linesmen: Kevin Hastings and Jesse Wilmot

Puck drops at 7:30 Eastern/6:30 Central. If you're willing to lay down the money, you can watch the game for $9.99 on AHL Live or purchase both the first and second round for just the Barons for $39.99. You can also listen on KXXY 96.1. In Canada, you can try this one or this one. No guarantees on either of those two working, but I've heard promising things. You can also follow along on my twitter account, @AHLBarons.

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oklahoma City Barons Possible Lines

As the first playoff game in Oklahoma City Barons history moves closer, one mystery still remains. How are the lines going to look for the team, now that they have their complete Clear Day roster? While the call ups were in Edmonton, many players stepped up and showed that they would be an integral part of the postseason line up. So here's my guess on the lines for Thursday night.

Line 1: Alexandre Giroux - Brad Moran - Colin McDonald

This line has been together since the 2nd weekend of the season, when the original line of Giroux-Moran-Omark didn't click. After a slump in the middle of the season, and being broken up when Giroux was called up to the Oilers, this line ended the season strong. Giroux ended the season as the Barons leading scorer(32G, 46A) and finishing as the league's 2nd leading scorer, Moran as the team's 2nd leading scorer(20G, 52A) and finishing tied for 5th in the league, and McDonald as the team's 3rd leading scorer(42G, 16A) winning the league's goal scoring title in the process. This line has worked all season, and there's no way they can break this one up now.

Line 2: Teemu Hartikainen - Chris VandeVelde - Linus Omark

As the call ups slowly started making their way to Edmonton, Hartikainen and VandeVelde did well to step up and fill in the void. Hartikainen has worked well with both VandeVelde and Omark seperately, but it would remain to be seen how Omark would work with VandeVelde as Omark had O'Marra as his center for the majority of his time in OKC. After a very successful rookie campaign, Hartikainen finished as the 4th highest scorer on the team(17G, 25A). Linus Omark only played 28 games with the Barons this season, but he still comes into the postseason as the team's 6th highest scorer(14G, 17A). VandeVelde only had 12G and 4A, but 5 of those goals came in the last 15 games of the season, and he is extremely successful on faceoffs, which is all the other two players would need.

Line 3: Mark Arcobello - Milan Kytnar - Ben Ondrus

Arcobello was called up to the team from Stockton as the injured list in Edmonton grew a lot and he made the most of his time with the Barons. In 26 games, he scored 11 goals, added 11 assists and finished at +7, tied for 2nd behind O'Marra. Arcobello performed well enough to earn himself an upgrade from his AHL deal to the Oilers signing him to a 2 way NHL deal. The Captain, Ondrus, has done well in adding a physical presence to his lines. Kytnar has been on a tear the last few games, with a 7 game point streak scoring 6 goals and adding 4 assists. Kytnar and Arcobello's scoring with Ondrus' physicality would be a solid third line.

Line 4: Andrew Lord/Greg Stewart - Ryan O'Marra - Zack Stortini

Lord and Stortini have been an extremely effective shutdown pair and add the strong men to the lineup. O'Marra's faceoff success would help that out even more. Stewart's the odd man out for me, as he hasn't really done much, but he's a strong body on the ice.

Photo © Candace Riley

D-Pair 1: Colten Teubert - Alex Plante

During the long road trip, Todd Nelson paired these two together and it's been a solid pairing. Plante beforehand looked like he was floundering around on the ice, not being able to do a lot. Since getting paired with Teubert, he looks like he gained some confidence and isn't afraid to hit people. Teubert's been a beast since getting traded to the Barons. His cannon of a shot has helped a lot on the PP and hits like a wall.

D-Pair 2: Jake Taylor - Richard Petiot

This pair has been together for most of the season, barring the time that Petiot was injured early on in the season. Petiot's checking is tremendous and both do well to break up the other team's play. Both guys lead the team in +/- with +14.

D-Pair 3: Bryan Helmer - Jeff Petry

Helmer's experience and Petry's scoring along with the experience he gained in Edmonton, this is going to be a tough pair.

Kevin Montgomery is the last one out, but should there be any type of injury, he's definitely a great defenseman to have waiting in the wings.


Jeff Deslauriers has stepped it up tremendously in the last couple weeks. After a tough weekend in Houston for their 3 game series, JDD has 3 shutouts in 4 games and only letting 2 goals in San Antonio past him. Hopefully it isn't a short peak, they're going to need all the goaltending they can get.

Martin Gerber has been injured for the last almost-month after suffering a neck injury in Grand Rapids. He returned last weekend in Houston, letting in 6 goals but it was with a roster full of players not getting regular starts. It still remains to be seen how well he does after coming back, but hopefully it'll be at the same level or above where he was at before the injury.

On the reserve list, the Barons also have Matt Marquardt, Jesse Gimblett, and Philippe Cornet, as well as Tanner House, Martin Marincin, Hunter Tremblay, and Brandon Davidson on Amateur Tryouts who would be eligible to play should there be any number of injuries. I wouldn't be surprised either if Bryan Pitton joins the team, just in case.

Game 1 is Thursday at 6:30 CDT. There hasn't been any indication of a free internet stream or anyone showing the game on television. AHL Live released their playoff packages. A single game is $9.99 and if you order the 1st and 2nd rounds together for a single team, it'll be $39.99(a potential $10 a game to a potential $3 a game).

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Oklahoma City Barons First Round Playoffs Set

The Oklahoma City Barons have clawed their way through a lot to get themselves into the Calder Cup Playoffs. Fighting through call-ups, other teams peaking, and their own scoring slumps, the Barons finish the 2010-11 regular season in 5th place of the Western Division. With the offset divisions, the AHL has it where the division with the 8 teams get an extra chance at a playoff spot. If the 5th place team in the bigger division finishes with more points than the 4th place team in the smaller division, they cross over and play within the smaller division. This was the case this year as the Barons finished with 91 points and the Abbotsford Heat(the Calgary Flames affiliate) finished in 4th place in the Northern Division with 86 points.

The final weekend was a big one for the Barons though. They started the weekend needing 2 out of 3 wins to virtually guarantee themselves a playoff berth. The game on Friday against San Antonio was the biggest to start. A win would put them in a great position to clinch on Saturday. The Barons came out hard and strong and got a tally on the board early with a goal from Ben Ondrus from a nice pass by rookie Tanner House. San Antonio would answer minutes later on a PP goal by Alex Picard. Colin McDonald would continue his hunt for the scoring title, scoring number 37 six minutes later and the teams headed to the locker room with the Barons leading 2-1. The 2nd period was all Colin McDonald as he would complete a natural hat trick, scoring at 2:45 and 18:34, his 38th and 39th goals. After 40 minutes the Barons lead by a score of 4-1. In the 3rd, Milan Kytnar would make it 5-1, picking up a Tanner House rebound. San Antonio would get one back as they break up a pass during a Barons PP and get a 2 on 0 rush, putting it past Jeff Deslauriers. The Barons would get it back 46 seconds later into the PP from Mark Arcobello, making it 6-2. Then just 2 minutes later, Colin McDonald would get his 4th of the night, number 40 on the season, and put the Barons up 7-2, which would be the final score. Brad Moran and Alexandre Giroux assisted on all 4 of McDonald's goals, JDD would make it 3 wins in a row.

Photo © Candace Riley

The next night, the Barons traveled to Cedar Park, Texas to take on the Texas Stars. After the win the night before, the Barons just needed a single point to clinch their playoff berth. The Barons wouldn't be content with just one point though, as Milan Kytnar and Colin McDonald would both score in the 2nd period and Jeff Deslauriers would pick up his 3rd shutout in 4 games as the Barons grabbed 2 points and a playoff berth. Colin McDonald's goal would be his 41st and the other player he was battling with, Nigel Dawes, would be held scoreless in his last season game, sending both players tied at 41 goals heading into Sunday.

The Barons headed to Houston to finish up the regular season. With the playoffs guaranteed, the team would sit 4 veterans, and allow the rookies a chance to play. Brad Moran, Bryan Helmer, and Alexandre Giroux would all sit in the press box for the game as Jake Taylor headed back to OKC to be with his wife as they celebrated the birth of their daughter. Martin Gerber would make his long awaited return, his first game after suffering a neck injury back in March against Grand Rapids. The Barons would start out well, taking a 1-0 lead into the 1st intermission with a goal by Mark Arcobello. The Aeros would storm back though, scoring 4 goals in the 2nd to the Barons 1 by Milan Kytnar. The 2nd period would end with the Aeros up 4-2. The Aeros would score twice more in the 3rd to make it 6-2 until the Barons' Colin McDonald would make it 6-3 with his 42nd goal of the season, clinching him the AHL Goal Scoring Title, the Willie Marshall award. 6-3 would be the final score though, to end the Barons regular season.

The Barons loss guaranteed them the 5th spot in the Western Division, crossing them over to the Northern Division. The Barons will take on the Northern Division champions, the Hamilton Bulldogs(Montreal Canadiens affiliate) in the 1st round. Credit to Patrick Williams of The Hockey News for this stat, this is the 4th time since 1987 that the AHL affiliates of the Canadiens and the Oilers will meet in the playoffs. They also shared an affiliation in the 2003 playoffs.

Photo © Candace Riley

The Barons season series was only 2 games, which the teams split. The Barons won the first meeting between the two, Oct 24th, which came at the end of rough 3 in 3 weekend, winning 3-2 in OT. The 2nd meeting came on Dec 17th, in which the Bulldogs handed the Barons their first shutout in franchise history, beating the Barons 3-0.

Here's the regular season stats for the teams.

The Barons and Bulldogs will open the series at Hamilton on Thursday at 6:30CDT/5:30MDT.

All Times Central
Game 1 - Thursday @Hamilton, 6:30
Game 2 - Saturday @Hamilton, 3:00
Game 3 - Tuesday, April 19 @OKC, 7:05
Game 4 - Wednesday, April 20 @OKC, 7:05
Game 5 - Friday, April 22 @OKC, 7:05*
Game 6 - Sunday, April 24 @Hamilton, 3:00*
Game 7 - Monday, April 25 @Hamilton, 6:30*
*-if necessary


Just some final thoughts, the Barons have peaked at the right time. They look like they're in playoff form.... Their defense in the crease and slot has gotten 10 times better from a few weeks ago, which has helped their cause tremendously.... The Oilers officially sent down Linus Omark, Ryan O'Marra, Teemu Hartikainen, Jeff Petry, and Chris VandeVelde today, further bolstering the Barons lineup.... Milan Kytnar ends the season with a 7 game point streak with 6 goals and 4 assists....

The Barons are going to be a very formidable team in the playoffs, and I'm looking very much forward to the next month and hopefully 2.

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

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