BARONS VALIANT EFFORT COMES UP SHORT IN 5-4 LOSS TO GRAND RAPIDS IN GAME 7
By Josh Evans, OKC Barons
The Oklahoma City Barons accomplished their first goal of the trip to Grand Rapids and that was to force the first Game 7 in Oklahoma City Barons franchise history.
Four different players scored in a valiant effort, but the Barons came up short in a 5-4 loss to the Griffins.
Grand Rapids staked themselves to a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the game when Jan Mursak deflected the point shot of Adam Almquist past Yann Danis at the 54-second mark of the first. The goal is the earliest scored by a Barons opponent in playoff franchise history.
The Barons would take the lead just past the midway part of the game with two goals in a span of 25 seconds.
Chris Vandevelde got the Barons on the board with his second goal of the playoffs. At center ice, Ben Eager freed the puck and then collided with a pair of Griffins players. At the same time, the Griffins defense was in the midst of a change. The puck found its way to Vandevelde who was able to move in from the blueline and slide the puck under Petr Mrazek.
Oklahoma City took the lead just 25 seconds later. Toni Rajala found Teemu Hartikainen deep in the left-wing circle. Hartikainen worked the puck from the backhand to his forehand and then snapped one over the shoulder of Mrazek.
Grand Rapids would tie the game with a power-play goal with just over four minutes to play. Joakim Andersson was able to get the puck into the slot near Tomas Tatar. He was able to get control of a bouncing puck and lift a shot over the left shoulder of Danis.
A fairly wide-open period saw the teams combine for 26 shots on goal.
Grand Rapids re-took the lead with their second power-play goal of the night at 9:47 of the second. Shortly after the Barons were assessed a too many men on the ice penalty, the Griffins controlled a draw and worked the puck to Gustav Nyquist near the top of the right-wing circle. He fired it past a screened Danis.
The Barons would respond with just under three minutes to play in the frame. Antti Tyrvainen worked himself free in the neutral zone and kept possession of the puck into the left-wing circle. He faked a slap shot, took an additional stride and wristed one toward Mrazek. A bevy of players were crashing the net and the puck appeared to deflect into the goal off the skate of a Griffins’ defender. Ben Eager and Brandon Davidson each had assists on the play.
Taylor Fedun gave the Barons their second lead of the game just 1:21 into the third period when he collected a Mark Arcobello pass and rifled past Mrazek.
Grand Rapids would claw their way when Jan Murzak scored his second of the night. He was chasing down a loose puck near the bottom of the left-wing circle when he swiped at the puck and was able to send it over the left shoulder of Danis.
The game winner came with just under six minutes to play in the third. Tomas Jurco broke free from the Barons defenders and was able to snap a shot past Danis.
Oklahoma City ramped up their pressure in the final three minutes of the game and even pulled goaltender Yann Danis with less than a minute to play. They were able to have some sustained pressure in the zone, but were unable to get the puck past the Griffins netminder. A power-play chance with seven seconds left in the game provided the Barons one last opportunity, but they were unable to get a shot goalward.
The Griffins move on to battle the Syracuse Crunch in the Calder Cup Finals. Game 1 of the Finals series will be in Syracuse on Saturday, June 8, with Game 2 on Sunday, June 9.
Although the Barons season ended tonight, head coach Todd Nelson and staff can be proud of these two facts: Including the playoffs, the Barons finished the season with 50 wins. Over the last three seasons, the Barons are one of just three teams to have made the Calder Cup playoffs and earned 40 wins.
click here for boxscore: http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1011089
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