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Under the Scope: Barons at Bulldogs - Game 6

An in-depth look at Sunday's 4-1 loss to Hamilton

Sunday, 24.04.2011 / 8:40 PM / Cenovus Game Story
By Ryan Dittrick  - edmontonoilers.com



Oklahoma City came into today's contest looking to force a seventh and deciding game with a victory in Game 6 at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. Alex Giroux got the Barons on the board with an early goal in the third period to put his club up 1-0, but the Bulldogs responded with four answered to win the game 4-1 and capture the North Division Semi-Final series 4-2.

Martin Gerber returned to the crease and was tested with 17 Bulldogs shots. Although he was able to steer aside 15, Bulldogs netminder Drew MacIntyre bested his outing with a 24 save performance to limit the visitors to a single tally.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

Hamilton scored the game-winning goal with only 2:56 to play, but the game had turned long before that point. After Alex Giroux scored the ice-breaker 5:41 into the scoreless third period, the Bulldogs responded only 1:02 later. Although momentum was on the visitors' side, Hamilton's leading-scorer Nigel Dawes brought his club back on even terms with a quick snapshot from the slot to equal the score 1-1. The Barons appeared to have the game under control at this point, but the quick-strike response essentially botched Oklahoma City's hopes of a Game 6 victory.


10 It was expected that goaltending would be the story in this North Division Semi-Final series. Drew MacIntyre reinforced that notion with a tremendous opening round.

The Hamilton netminder allowed only 10 goals in six games, which underlined his 1.67 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. 
30 Oklahoma City was presented with 30 power-play chances in the series. Only one goal was scored with the man-advantage, while Hamilton was able to tally six times on 35 opportunities.
8 The Barons' top line of Brad Moran, Alex Giroux and Colin McDonald had a disappointing output in the opening round. The trio combined to score only eight points in 18 games.


Frederic St. Denis
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 1


Nigel Dawes
G A P +/- Shots
2 0 2 +2 4


Alex Giroux
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 -1 4



BULLDOGS
Drew MacIntyre
SA SV GA TOI SV%
25 24 1 60:00 .960

BARONS
Martin Gerber
SA SV GA TOI SV%
17 15 2 59:07 .882


Among others, Alex Giroux needed to step up. The veteran had only scored once and collected an additional assist through five games in the series. On this day, Giroux registered the ice-breaker on a fortuitous play that gave Oklahoma City a 1-0 lead. Jake Taylor's point shot was directed toward the side-boards following an ill-advised Bulldogs block. The puck landed on Giroux's tape, where the 29-year-old sniper made no mistake in depositing the garbage. With Hamilton netminder Drew MacIntyre well out of position, Giroux slid the puck past the goal line to establish the Barons' only lead of the game.


When the North Division Semi-Final series began last week, many expected Nigel Dawes to be the story with his dominant production throughout the regular season. Dawes backed those expectations with a tremendous performance in Game 6 that essentially sealed the Barons' fate. In six games vs. Oklahoma City in the post-season, Dawes accumulated eight points, including a pair of goals today to sink the Barons on home ice. His performance earned him the game's second star honours as well.


In a game (and series) that has largely been decided by special teams play, the importance of a strong penalty kill was essential for a Barons team that was looking to force a seventh and deciding game. CIS product and Barons rookie Hunter Tremblay had an excellent evening in this regard, helping contribute to Oklahoma City's outing on the disadvantage. Although the Barons would eventually succomb to the unrelenting Hamilton attack, Tremblay did his part in Game 6 with a solid two-way game.


Head Coach Todd Nelson had been wanting more from veteran scorer Alex Giroux throughout the series. In a do-or-die game, Giroux came through with a goal early in the third period. It was his physically play, however, that was most surprising. In the defensive zone when Nigel Dawes was covered by linemate Colin McDonald, Giroux raced over and propelled his shoulder into Dawes' chest, sending him violently to the ice and slowly to the bench. Perhaps too late, but Giroux most certainly awakened.


Coming into today's contest, the Bulldogs had scored only 12 goals in the series, despite leading the best-of-seven matchup 3-2.

The importance of special teams played into another interesting statistic, that saw only two players (Andreas Engqvist and JT Wyman) in Hamilton's lineup had a positive rating on the plus-minus spectrum.


"I thought Gerber gave us a chance to win every night that he was in there and that's all we can ask. We're a pretty high scoring team but we didn't get the goal support that we needed."

- Head Coach Todd Nelson's assessment on the North Division Semi-Final loss to Hamilton.




Barons vs. AHL
September 2011


Oklahoma City's season has come to a close. The team will begin the 2011-12 campaign this September as the Barons look to build on a successful inaugural year.

Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com