By Cassie Gage, OKC Barons on 04/22/2012

The Oklahoma City Barons were unable to close out their series withp the Houston Aeros Sunday evening as the Aeros won 1-0 to force a game four in the best-of-five conference quarterfinal. Oklahoma City leads the series 2-1 and returns home Tuesday evening with a chance to advance in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Despite not finding the back of the net in the first period, the Barons had several scoring opportunities, including two from Chris VandeVelde and a backhanded attempt from Tyler Pitlick early in the game.

The Barons were aided by three power play chances with one carrying over to the second period. Oklahoma City played the last 23 seconds of the first with the man advantage. Bryan Rodney blasted a shot off the post with three seconds remaining as the period ended in a scoreless tie. Each team put 11 shots on goal in the frame.

The Aeros scored the game’s only goal at the 11:26 mark of the second period. Seconds after the Barons made a big defensive stop on a breakaway attempt, Brett Bulmer put in the loose puck behind Yann Danis to give Houston a 1-0 lead. Oklahoma City led in shots on goal 20-18 at the end of the period.

The Barons got a prime scoring situation at 8:10 of the third period with a 5-on-3 power play for two minutes. Bryan Helmer got a shot high on Mike Brodeur but the Aeros netminder shoved the pass away. Teemu Hartikainen had Brodeur beat glove side later in the advantage but hit the post. Hartikainen redirected another shot wide as Oklahoma City was unable to tie the game up with the man advantage.

The Barons held the Aeros to just three shots on goal in the final period and took the advantage in that department matching the 11 put on goal in the first period. Oklahoma City led in shots 31-21 at the end of the game. Houston moved to 8-7 all-time in the AHL when facing elimination.

Game four of the conference quarterfinal series between the two teams is Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets for home playoff games are currently on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets including the Cox Convention Center Box Office, online and by phone. For the first round of the playoffs only, the Oklahoma City Barons are offering a $10 ticket for any seat in the upper bowl of the Cox Convention Center.

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