The Oklahoma City Barons used a five-goal explosion in the third period to down the Texas Stars 7-3 and take a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 series.
Although the final was 7-3, the game was far closer than the score indicated. After a scoreless first period, Texas took a 3-2 lead to the dressing room on the strength of goals by Brett Ritchie, Colton Sceviour and Joe Morrow. Barons tallies in the second period came from C.J. Stretch and Mark Arcobello.
The pace of play during the third period was similar to that from the first two periods. Each team had sustained action in their offensive zones, but both Stars goaltender Christopher Nilstorp and Barons goaltender Yann Danis were up to the challenge.
Momentum would swing the Barons’ way when Antti Tyrvainen scored his first of the playoffs at 6:52 of the third period. Ben Eager fired a shot from the left-wing circle that Nilstorp kicked out, but the rebound came toward Tyrvainen who dove toward the puck and was able to sweep it in to the net to tie the game at three.
With just over five minutes to play in the game, Taylor Fedun snapped home the rebound of a Tyler Pitlick shot from high in the right-wing circle to give the Barons the lead they would not relinquish. Pitlick wound up from the left-wing circle and blistered a shot toward Nilstorp. The Texas netminder made the initial save, but Fedun was able to feather a shot in for what proved to be the game winner.
After the Fedun goal, the Stars began to press and earned a power play just a minute after the Fedun goal. The Barons were able to kill off the penalty to preserve the one-goal lead. Following the power-play opportunity, the Stars began to press for the equalizer and the Barons were able to take advantage of an odd-man rush.
Jonathan Cheechoo found Arcobello who snapped home his second goal of the night with exactly two minutes to play in the game. The goal is his league-leading eighth tally of the postseason and extends his goal-scoring streak to four games.
Including Arcobello’s goal, Oklahoma City scored three goals in the final two minutes of the game to secure the win. Antti Tyrvainen added his second of the night on an empty-netter, while Garrett Stafford scored his first of the postseason on a late power play.
The three goals in 1:45 is a Barons franchise record for fastest three goals in a playoff game. The five third period goals is an AHL playoff best for this season.
Lost in the goal-scoring frenzy was the play of the Barons goaltender. Danis made 26 saves on the night, including several key stops during the Stars’ third-period power play. He even picked up an assist on Tyrvainen’s empty-net goal.
The first Texas goal snapped Danis’ personal consecutive shutout minutes streak at 109 minutes 37 seconds. That bests the previous playoff franchise record, previously held by Martin Gerber by 11 seconds. Gerber authored a 109 minute 26 second shutout string in the 2011 postseason against Hamilton.
Oklahoma City has an opportunity to close out the series in Game 5 tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. at the Cox Convention Center. Listen live on 96.1 KXY or watch on AHL Live.
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