IN THE NEWS
BARONS DROP SECOND STRAIGHT TO GRAND RAPIDS, 4-3
By George Darkow,
Andrej Nestrasil scored two goals off assists from Mitch Callahan as the Grand Rapids Griffins outskated the Oklahoma City Barons 4-3 Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center, sweeping the two-game weekend series with the Barons.
For the second straight night, Nestrasil opened the game’s scoring. Five seconds after Oklahoma City’s Steve Pinizzotto was whistled for roughing at the 7:49 mark of the first period, Nestrasil took a Callahan pass from behind the net and flipped it over the glove of Barons goalie Richard Bachman.
Late in the third, Callahan and Nestrasil combined once again to net the game-winner. Once again on the power play thanks to a tripping penalty assessed to the Barons’ Andrew Miller at 8:38 of the third, Callahan sent a pass through the Oklahoma City slot that Nestrasil quickly flipped into the open side of the Barons net to give the Griffins their decisive fourth goal.
Five minutes after Nestrasil’s first goal, Grand Rapids extended its lead when Alden Hirschfield sent a shot towards Bachman that the Oklahoma City goaltender initially stopped. As players converged on the rebounding puck, Hirschfield chopped at it and sent it past a sprawling Bachman to give the Griffins a 2-0 lead at 12:56.
The Barons narrowed the deficit to 2-1 with exactly one minute remaining in the first. After battling for the puck in the corner of the Griffins’ zone, Matthew Ford sent a backhand pass to the high slot, where Roman Horak picked it up and snapped a shot over the blocker of Grand Rapids goalie Tom McCollum.
A pair of penalties to the Griffins’ Travis Novak and Trevor Parkes gave the Barons a 5-on-3 advantage 6:11 into the second period, and just over a minute into the power play, Oklahoma City tied the score at two. Taylor Fedun sent a pass from the top of the left circle to Brad Hunt near the top of the right, who blasted a slap shop that sailed past McCollum at the 7:32 mark of the second.
On the play, Mark Arcobello was credited with an assist, extending his current point streak to 15 games.
The Griffins reclaimed the lead later in the second when David McIntyre sent a shot towards the Barons net, where Jeff Hoggan redirected it around Bachman for a 3-2 Grand Rapids lead at 18:36.
After Nestrasil’s second goal gave the Griffins a 4-2 lead in the third period, Oklahoma City narrowed the gap to one when Tyler Pitlick propelled a shot towards the Grand Rapids net that Ford spun around in front of the Griffins crease to deflect past McCollum at 12:18.
Despite a pair of late power play opportunities, Oklahoma City was unable net a tying goal and fell to 29-26-1-7 on the season.
The Barons travel to Cedar Park, Texas next weekend for a two-game set against the Texas Stars on Friday and Saturday, before returning to the Cox Convention Center for a 7 p.m. contest against the San Antonio Rampage on March 25.
Click here for the boxscore: http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1012018
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