AT THE MORNING SKATE
HOUSTON - Following a 2-1 shootout loss last night at the Toyota Center, the Oklahoma City Barons were back at it this morning in preparation for this evening's rematch against the Houston Aeros.
Last night, the Barons gave up the game's first goal and were outshot 13-6 in the opening frame.
"We have to have a better start tonight," said Barons head coach Todd Nelson. "I thought Houston really took it to us in the first period. We have to be ready as a group. After we got through the first period we started to get better but we have to play 60 minutes. I thought we were pretty fortunate to get out of the first period tied 1-1 -- but we did -- and tonight, moving forward, we have to be ready from the start and play a solid game."
The loss was the Barons' first in five straight games, although they did pick up a point in the shootout setback which now makes it eight straight games gaining at least one point.
One element that has struggled lately for the Barons has been the team's power play.
"Our special teams are going to have to be on tonight. I thought our PK was pretty good (last night) but our power play wasn't," Nelson continued.
"First thing, we want to make sure we protect him a bit. We ease him into the game where he doesn't have point-blankers right off the start. We have to be better in front of him," Nelson commented. "From Oliiver's standpoint, he has to be focused. He was ill last time he started, so he didn't feel quite right. But now he's ready to go, he's eager to play."
Roy's last outing he was pulled in the first period of the game against Toronto on November 13 after allowing three goals.
"We don't expect our goalies to make acrobatic saves or stuff like that, just be solid and control the rebounds."
Olivier Roy stated he was eager for the challenge.
"It's been a little while but I've been waiting for that opportunity, working hard every time I get a chance to go on the ice so when the call comes I'll be ready," said Roy. "You've just got to bring the same energy you'd bring in a game in practice so when you play a real game you're used to the feeling and energy out there."
After missing Thursday's game with an illness, Taylor Fedun returns to the lineup tonight.
"Taylor was ill at the start of the week and he didn't skate since Sunday so he got a good practice in yesterday and skated this morning. He's going to go in for Danny Ringwald. Danny left the game last night with an upper body injury -- we're not quite sure what it is," said Nelson. "(Fedun) was going to get back in tonight regardless so it's an easy change for us."
Fedun was looking forward to the return.
"Getting to watch the game last night from the stands, you see how hard they came at us last night. I'm really excited to get out and be a part of it tonight and try and get back to our winning ways and put a stop to a team that's had our number the last few times we played them," he said.
THE STOCKTON LINE
A new wrinkle in the Barons attack last night was reuniting the line of Eric Hunter, Philippe Cornet and Toni Rajala. The trio was tearing up the ECHL in Stockton although now all three find themselves in Oklahoma City due to the team's injury situation.
"I thought they were pretty good (Thursday)," Nelson stated. "In fairness to them, with the penalties we didn't really have a chance to see them as a line that much. We did use Phil and Toni on the power play. We used Hunter on the PK. They all did a good job with that."
The trio had a combined 23 goals and 54 points with the Thunder.
"I like their chemistry. Obviously, they had success in Stockton. I think we'll see some more of that chemistry tonight."
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