The moment the puck dropped on to the center ice circle, the crowd could smell the tension in the air. Or maybe it was sulfur.
I think it would be fair to say, when the Rampage and Barons play, you are never going to be quite sure what will happen. While no fights actually took place, it seemed like mayhem could break out at any time. The crowd was ready.
After back to back losses to the Rochester Americans at home, Oklahoma City was hoping to turn things around and bring a win into 2012. San Antonio had other plans, handing the Barons their third straight loss, 4-3. Plagued with injuries and call ups, the Barons kept the game close with a great comeback chance, but couldn’t seal the deal, losing two more players in the game. Kirill Tulupov and Tristan Grant each left the ice with undisclosed injuries midway through the game and would not return.
Shortly after, Josh Green would tie it up for OKC. The game would tie again at 2-2 in the third, keeping the crowd on it’s toes with a goal from newly returned Annti Tyrvainen. The Rampage would score twice more in the third. The Barons regained some life and threw a flurry at the San Antonio defense in the remaining minutes, even getting a goal from Hunter Trembly to bring the game within one.
The Barons couldn’t find an opening through San An’s Jacob Markstrom however, despite a 16-4 shot advantage in the third period. 4,859 Barons fans were sent out into the chilly night to spend their remaining New Year’s eve amongst happy Thunder fans, who won their game across from the Cox center.
Sunday the Barons traveled down to Houston for an afternoon game. Besides wanting to put a stop to their recent skid, OKC had another reason to get the win. Barons head coach Todd Nelson was up for consideration to lead the Western Conference All-Star team, but his team had to beat the Aeros. Win they did, trouncing Houston 6-0 bringing their record to 22-8-1 and holding onto top spot of the AHL. Both Bryan Helmer and Magnus Paajarvi each scored their first goals of the season in the win, Yann Davis getting his third shut out for the season.
The Barons will rest up until Wednesday, when they travel to take on the Lake Erie Monsters. They will remain on the road over the weekend for games against Toronto and hamilton, returning for a home series on Jan 13th.
OKC will be rearranging lines and hoping for chemistry with new players brought in. The Oilers recalled Teemu Hartikainen after returning Colton Teuburt for Sunday’s game. Lennart Petrell was sent down as well from the Oilers on Monday. Darcy Campbell was signed to a PTO from the ECHL Chicago Express and Cameron Abney was sent back to the Barons again from the Stockton Thunder. Andrew Martens, another newcomer this week from the CHL Wichita Thunder, has been playing solid in his couple games so far. Taylor Chorney will be returning to the line-up, after serving his three game suspension, by Friday’s game.
Game pics from the San Antonio game follows below.