by Lisa Brown on 05/19/12 at 01:45 AM ET
After being blanked by the Toronto Marlies in game 1 of the AHL Western conference finals Thursday night, the Oklahoma City Barons have battled back to take game two 5-1 evening up the series.
With the Oilers’ season long gone, EdmontonOilers.com staff have journeyed to Oklahoma City and Ryan Dittrick reports on the game:
The Oklahoma City Barons needed a quicker start than they had in Game 1. They got it.
They needed their power-play to answer the Marlies’ AHL-best PK, which went 6-for-6 Thursday night in a 5-0 win. They got that, too.
They needed to battle, compete and show up at puck drop. No complaints here, either, as goals by Mark Arcobello and Teemu Hartikainen in the opening 20 spurred the home side to a dominant 5-1 win over the Toronto Marlies in Game 2 of the AHL’s Western Conference Final at the Cox Convention Center in OKC.
The Barons scored the first 3 goals of the game as well as the final 2, but the first professional playoff goal by Will Acton got the Marlies on the board and stole the shutout from Barons’ netminder Yann Danis.
Magnus Paajarvi earned the first star of the game for his 4 shots on net, 2 assists and +3 rating for the night. This is exactly the type of experience that Paajarvi needs to regain his confidence in himself and his game after the season he had with the Oilers this season.
More Oiler fans around the world may have listened to the game online than saw the game live in OKC. Maybe. A scant 2621 hockey fans passed through the turnstile in the Cox Convention Centre in what may have been the Barons final home game (but hopefully not). This topic will not go away over the summer months because the Barons will need to be successful financially to stay afloat. Success on the ice usually is the key to drawing in the fans, but in this case, sports fans in Oklahoma City are more likely to spend $75-1000 for tickets to see the Oklahoma City Thunder than $11 to see the Barons.
The fans that do follow the Barons are devote and passionate, but whether or not they will be able to sustain the team is yet to be seen.
This series now switches to Toronto, a city like Edmonton in that they have long thirsted for NHL playoff hockey, where the Marlies will host the next three games. The Barons will need to win at least one game on the road if they want to take this series, but with each team scoring 5 goals in one game this series should get interesting.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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