Justin Schultz scored in regulation time and in the shootout but it wasn't enough for the Oklahoma City Barons as they dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the Houston Aeros at the Toyota Center on Thursday night.
Yann Danis got the start in goal for the Barons and Matt Hackett for Houston. Eric Hunter makes his season debut for the Barons, with Chris VandeVelde out. Taylor Fedun is out with an illness which means Dan Ringwald draws in.
Houston got on the board first just past the five-minute mark. Nick Palmieri carried the puck into the Barons zone and went wide around Justin Schultz before going backhand roof to make it a 1-0 game.
Curtis Hamilton took the game's first penalty 6:40 into the period. The winger was sent off for interference, giving Houston a power play.
Just past the period's midway point, the Barons tied it up as Justin Schultz stepped in from the point, stickhandled to the left faceoff dot and wristed it past Hackett to make it 1-1.
15 minutes into the period, Houston had a 10-4 edge in shots over OKC.
The final shot count for the opening frame was 13 to 6 for Houston.
The 'Stockton' line of Phil Cornet, Toni Rajala and Eric Hunter created some pressure in the Aeros zone early in the middle frame and the result ended up being the Barons' first power play of the night after Ryan Ginand upended Cornet. The best chance on the man advantage actually came off the stick of Houston's Jason Zucker who created a turnover and skated in on a two-on-one with David McIntyre. He elected to shoot and it was scooped up by Danis.
Past the midway point of the period, Eberle stripped the puck from an Aeros defender then dished it to Nugent-Hopkins in the slot but RNH's shot rang off the post behind Hackett.
Shortly after the scoring chance, Taylor Hall took a penalty and with 12 seconds left in the penalty, the Barons took another which looked to extend the Aeros power play. But a skirmish erupted after the whistle resulting in off-setting minors.
Shots on goal after two were 23 to 14 for the Aeros.
Following a penalty kill by Houston, tempers erupted in the Aeros end. Dane Byers got into a shoving match with Drew Bagnall with the end result being four extra minutes in penalties to Byers.
On the ensuing Aeros man advantage, the Barons did an excellent job keeping the puck out of harm's way. Houston didn't really come close to scoring, managing two shots on net over the four-minute span.
With five minutes to play in the third, OKC got some sustained pressure in the Aeros zone. For about 90 seconds, they cycled the puck and had some great scoring chances in the slot. Eventually, the Aeros iced the puck but were forced to burn a timeout for their weary skaters.
At the end of regulation, shots were 29 to 21 for Houston.
Kris Friedham nearly ended it for Houston with a great individual effort to make a move around Marincin and break towards the goal. Danis made a nice pad stop on the deke attempt.
About a minute later, Danis made another unbelievable save, unwittingly getting a skate on a shot from Zucker at the top of the crease while down and out.
After 65 minutes of play, shots were 33 to 24 for the Aeros.
- Justin Schultz scores | Jason Zucker scores
- Jordan Eberle is stopped by Hackett | Zack Phillips scores
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed the net | Charlie Coyle missed the net
- Taylor Hall is stopped | Justin Fontaine is stopped by Danis
- Toni Rajala scores | Nick Palmieri is stopped by Danis
- Teemu Hartikainen is stopped | Kris Foucault scores
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