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BARONS SCORE TWO SHORTHANDED GOALS, BUT FALL TO STARS 6-5 IN OVERTIME

By George Darkow,

The Oklahoma City Barons tied a team record with two shorthanded goals in a single game, but it wasn’t enough as Texas Stars center Chris Mueller recorded a hat trick and the Stars scored five unanswered goals to skate past the Barons 6-5 in overtime Tuesday night at the Cox Convention Center.

Oklahoma City opened the game’s scoring late in the first period when Ryan Martindale slung a no-look, spin-around pass to Curtis Hamilton near the low slot of the Texas zone. Hamilton redirected the pass high over the shoulder of a sliding Nilstorp, giving the Barons a 1-0 lead 15:23 into the game.

Just 23 seconds later, Derek Nesbitt began another Barons scoring sequence by firing a shot from the right circle that ricocheted off Nilstorp to Acton near the opposite circle. Acton fired the rebound past a sprawling Nilstorp and into the Stars net for a 2-0 Barons lead at 15:46.

The Barons' first shorthanded goal came after C.J. Stretch was penalized for slashing at 1:02 in the second period. As confusion ensued in front of the Texas net, Acton intercepted a Brett Richie pass near the Stars crease and pushed the puck past Nilstorp at 1:12.

After Texas answered with Mueller’s first goal of the game at 2:23 into the second to cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 3-1, Brad Hunt was sent to the penalty box for two minutes on a cross-checking penalty at 4:53, putting the Barons on what was then their fourth penalty kill of the night. Just over a minute into Hunt’s penalty, Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton skated into the Stars zone on a 2-on-1 rush, where Pitlick glided a pass over to Hamilton who drove the puck past Nilstorp for a 4-1 Barons lead at 6:11. Oklahoma City’s second shorthanded goal of the game tied a team record that was set on Oct. 19, 2012.

Oklahoma City extended its lead to 5-1 Acton sent a cross-ice pass that deflected to the slot, where Derek Nesbitt picked it up and rifled a wrist shot into the Stars net at 11:47 in the second. Following Nesbitt’s goal, Nilstorp was pulled in favor of Josh Robinson.

The Stars answered quickly, though, when Mike Hedden blasted a slap shot from the point that caught much of Bachman’s pads but eventually trickled into the Barons net, cutting the Barons’ lead to 5-2 at 12:34.

The Stars’ comeback continued into the third period, when at 1:15 Brett Richie’s attempt at a wraparound goal resulted in Bachman surrendering a rebound to Taylor Peters who tipped the puck into the back of the Barons net, narrowing Oklahoma City’s lead to 5-4.

Texas’ surge continued when Mueller scored his second goal of the game, picking up a loose puck in the Barons’ slot and guiding a backhand shot past Bachman and pulling the Stars to within 5-4 at 6:05.

With 1:48 left in regulation, Stars head coach Willie Desjardins elected to pull Robinson in favor of an extra skater, and 31 seconds later Mueller tallied his third goal of the game for his second career hat trick, pushing the puck past Bachman after a scramble in front of the Barons net and ultimately sending the game into an overtime period with the score tied at five goals apiece.

The Stars would complete their comeback 46 seconds into overtime, when Colton Sceviour skated towards Bachman, sent a backhand shot towards the Barons goalie and swatted his own rebound into the Barons net, giving the Stars an unlikely 6-5 victory.

Acton’s shorthanded goal was his second of the season, with his first coming on Dec. 21 against Texas.

With the two shorthanded goals Tuesday night, the Barons have now scored a total of 28 in team history. Former Barons Hunter Tremblay and Liam Reddox hold the all-time Barons lead in shorthanded goals, with Tremblay having had five in 2011-12 and Reddox tallying four in the 2010-11 season.

The Barons travel to San Antonio Friday evening for a 7:30 p.m. CT game against the Rampage. Oklahoma City is back home Saturday evening against the Rampage at 7 p.m. CT.

Click here for the boxscore: http://theahl.com/stats/official-game-report.php?game_id=1011574

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