NUGENT-HOPKINS SCORES TWO IN BARONS SECOND STRAIGHT WIN OVER MILWAUKEE
By Josh Evans, OKC Barons
The Oklahoma City Barons and Milwaukee Admirals renewed their acquaintance Saturday evening, closing out the second of back-to-back games at the Cox Convention Center. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice en route to a 5-2 win.
Fireworks from last night were re-ignited early in the game when a shot on goal after the whistle resulted in a gathering of players and coincidental minors to the Barons Alex Plante and Admirals Mike Moore. Milwaukee would take advantage in the resulting 4-on-4 situation. Austin Watson found Daniel Bang who deposited the puck past Barons starter Yann Danis.
The fireworks were far from over. Seconds after Plante and Moore left the penalty box, the two squared off in a spirited bout. That would be the first of three first period altercations that resulted in 64 minutes in penalties between the two teams.
Oklahoma City would even the score at one with a power-play at 16:08. Defenseman Justin Schultz collected a pass at the top of the high slot and rifled a shot that initially caught the post, but bounded off of Ads netminder Jeremy Smith and into the goal. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle picked up assists on the play.
The Barons would extend their lead to 2-1 with under a minute to play in the first when Nugent-Hopkins deflected in a Taylor Hall shot from just in front of the Ads goaltender. Eberle also added an assist.
Nugent-Hopkins’ goal snapped a dubious streak for the Barons. It broke a streak of 353 minutes 28 seconds between goals scored 5-on-5. Prior to his goal, the last goal scored at 5-on-5 was November 3 against the Houston Aeros.
Oklahoma City would extend the lead to 3-1 when rearguard Taylor Fedun scored his second goal in as many nights. With the Barons on a power play, he worked his way into the deep slot, collected a pass from Magnus Paajarvi and flipped it over the left shoulder of Smith.
Milwaukee would climb to within one when Mattias Ekholm scored his third of the season from the slot in front of Danis just past the midway mark of the second.
The third period saw Milwaukee begin to apply pressure early in the period. Although they held a shots on goal advantage, they couldn’t solve Barons netminder Yann Danis.
While killing a Milwaukee power play, Dane Byers picked off a pass in the neutral zone, gained the blueline and fired a shot goalward. Smith made the initial save, but Curtis Hamilton was on the spot to convert on the rebound for his first of the season. It marked the Barons third short-handed tally of the season.
With just under two minutes to play in the game, the Ads pulled their goaltender and appeared to score, but the goal was waived off as it was ruled to be played with a high stick. Oklahoma City shut the door on remaining chances and Nugent-Hopkins sealed the win with an empty-netter with just under a minute to play.
Goaltender Yann Danis stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced for his second straight win. In the two games against Milwaukee this weekend, Danis stopped 78 of the 81 shots he faced, winning both games.
Oklahoma City returns to action Wednesday evening on the road against the Texas Stars at 7:35 p.m. Their weekend concludes in Charlotte against the division-leading Checkers on Saturday and Sunday.
click here for boxscore: http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1010075
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