Friday and Saturday brought to OKC a strengthening Abbotsford Heat team while the Barons themselves were reconstructing through call-ups and trades. Not to mention the hiring of former OKC Blazer coach Doug Sauter as a color analyst for radio broadcasts of Barons games. Ok,ok, that didn’t REALLY affect the team…..or did it????
In recent trades, the Oilers/Barons acquired defenseman Kevin Montgomery from the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Shawn Belle and Colten Teubert for Oilers forward Dustin Penner.
Before Friday’s game, the Oilers recalled Alex Plante (11 points (1-10-11) and has the team high 112 penalty minutes in 57 games) and sent back down to the Barons goalie Martin Gerber and Richard Petiot.
Friday saw a lackluster performance by the Barons, losing to the Heat 5-3 in front of a decent size home crowd but at least the new kids put in their effort and looked good. It was the rest of the team that looked like they didn’t want to be there. Both Teubert and Montgomery scored a goal for the Barons, along with Colin McDonald with his 25th of the season. The game also saw a goalie change yet again, with Jeff Deslauriers starting only to be replaced by Gerber, who still allowed one goal for the Heat.
Before Saturday’s rematch game, more moves were made within the organization. The Barons announced a signing deal for veteren Bryan Helmer to stay with the team through the end of next season. The flipside being the Oilers recalling long time AHL’er Alexander Giroux Saturday morning after practice, who immediately left to meet the team in Denver.
While many bemoaned the Giroux recall, I was fairly happy about it. Sure he can score goals, but he isn’t leading the team. I HATE seeing players “mope” around the ice. Get at least a little excited about playing. Helmer is always out there with a smile, egging his guys on, patting every ones back. That is a leader. I honestly could not wait to see this new team without the “drag” around. I was not to be disappointed. While some frustrating moments, the Barons played quicker, harder and just appeared more into it. The players, while still seemingly hesitant to shoot towards the net sometimes, ended having some great chances, but Abbotsford defense was in top form.
After an intense third period, it really looked like the end was near for OKC, but gladly, they pulled Gerber for the extra man. As long as they try, I am a happy fan. With just 17.1 seconds left in the game, Colten Teubert became the new super hero for Oklahoma City hockey fans, scoring his second goal in as many games with the Barons, tying the game and eventually sending it into overtime. With a little more than a minute left in overtime, Brad Moran scored the game winner much to a shocked Heat team. The arena erupted along with the Barons bench. Here-in lies my point. I think this was the first game I have seen this year where the players celebrated that emotionally! Sticks raised, bodies jumping, whoops and yells and smiles all around, you would they won the Cup.
The Barons host the Manitoba Moose on Tuesday night and I for one can’t wait to see my new team again. Oilers, keep Giroux around up there, we don’t need his moping.