TEAM EFFORT LEADS TO 5-1 WIN OVER MARLIES
By Cassie Gage,The Oklahoma City Barons got an all-around team effort Friday evening to down the Toronto Marlies 5-1 at the Cox Convention Center. The win evens the Western Conference Final 1-1 as the series moves to Toronto for the next three games.
The Barons got a scoring chance early as Chris VandeVelde was setup at the edge of the crease by Magnus Paajarvi but VandeVelde couldn’t get his backhand shot past Marlies goaltender Ben Scrivens. Oklahoma City’s crisp passing paid off moments later as the Barons snapped Toronto’s penalty kill streak at 39. Mark Arcobello banged home his own rebound to give Oklahoma City a 1-0 lead at 4:23. Arcobello’s first attempt came off a highlight-reel pass through a defender’s legs by Philippe Cornet.
Prior to the goal, the Barons had gone 0-for-14, including the regular season, against Toronto with the man advantage. It was only the second power play goal allowed by the Marlies this postseason.
Tyler Pitlick got a scoring chance later in the period as his shot took an odd bounce to give Scrivens some concern as it bounced off his shoulder but rolled just past the net. Toronto got yet another prime scoring chance late in the period as the puck was taken off Yann Danis’ stick but the Marlies centering pass was broken up to keep the Barons up 1-0.
Paajarvi came through again at 19:11 in the period as his pass went right to the tape of Teemu Hartikainen who slammed home his fourth goal of the postseason. Hartikainen’s shot from the high slot went high glove side on Scrivens to put the Barons up 2-0 at the first intermission.
Danis came through with a fantastic save on Toronto’s Will Acton early in the second as Acton got off a backhanded shot while the Marlies were shorthanded. Nazem Kadri got another chance moments later as he hit a shot off the goal post behind Danis.
Cornet got on the scoreboard at 16:49 of the second as he went straight up over Scrivens off a centering pass through the crease from Arcobello to make it 3-0. It was Arcobello’s team-leading 13th point of the playoffs.
The Marlies broke through midway through the third period as Acton curled in front of the crease and got Danis to commit down and put the puck past him to cut the lead to 3-1 at 9:21.
VandeVelde finally got the puck in the net at 16:25 of the final frame as he buried Taylor Chorney’s rebound to give Oklahoma City a 4-1 lead. Chorney created the chance with a turnover and close-range shot that resulted in a big rebound from Scrivens that VandeVelde was able to cash in on.
The Marlies pulled Scrivens late and Ryan Keller added an empty netter at 17:28 to secure the 5-1 win for Oklahoma City.
The best-of-7 series moves to Toronto for the next three games. Monday’s game is an afternoon contest with a 2 p.m. CT on Victoria Day in Canada. Game four is Wednesday, May23, at 6 p.m. CT and game five follows Friday, May 25, at 6 p.m. CT. All three games can be heard locally on KXY 96.1 FM or watched on AHL Live.
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