Barons edged 2-1 by Monsters in season opener
Late third-period goal lifts Lake Erie over Oklahoma City in first game of the year
Andrew Agozzino scored late in the third period to lead the Lake Erie Monsters to a 2-1 win over the Oklahoma City Barons in Cleveland on Friday night.
The game was OKC's first of the regular season with Mark Arcobello scoring the Barons' only goal of the night, assisted by Justin Schultz on a two-man advantage.
The first penalty of the game went to Lake Erie's Mark Olver for holding. Hartikainen, Nugent-Hopkins and Paajarvi skated out as the first power play unit with Eberle and Schultz on the point.
Paajarvi had the first solid scoring chance, driving to the net and trying to backhand it from the top of the crease but Monsters netminder Sami Aittokalio made the save.
Dane Byers and Ben Wilson squared off for a spirited fight shortly after the penalty expired. The pair fought to a draw after a lengthy bout.
Lake Erie took another penalty near the opening period's midway point to give Oklahoma City another man advantage but the Monsters were able to kill that one off.
The Monsters went on a three-on-one for their best scoring chance of the period. Bill Thomas shoveled it in on Danis who made the stop but a Taylor Fedun slashing penalty on the play put Lake Erie on their first power play.
At the end of the Lake Erie power play, Colten Teubert cross-checked David Van Der Gulik in front of the Barons net and put the home side back on the man advantage.
Oklahoma City was able to kill off their second-straight power play but over the four-minute span Lake Erie had five shots on goal to take a 12-9 edge on the shot clock.
With 39 seconds to go in the opening frame, Ryan Martindale took a penalty -- OKC's third of the period -- but the Lake Erie man advantage was very shortlived. Four seconds later, Geoff Walker hauled down Teubert off the draw to set up a four-on-four situation.
The Barons brought out Fedun, Schultz, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins for the four-on-four and got some pressure but time ran out on the opening 20 minutes. Shots on goal after one were 12-10 for the Monsters.
Monsters netminder Aittokallio makes a big stop early in the period after Schultz received a nice feed from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and put the puck on net.
Bill Thomas scored near the five-minute mark of the middle frame. The Monsters sniper snuck up to the right side of the net and poked it in to make it 1-0 for the home side.
Jordan Eberle on a two-on-one nearly tied the game as he skated in with Nugent-Hopkins. Eberle made a move at the right circle and fired it on goal. Nugent-Hopkins then fired it just wide of the post with a wide-open cage.
With a two-man advantage, Justin Schultz found Mark Arcobello perched at the left side of the net where he put it into the open net to tie the game.
At the end of two periods, shots on goal were 22 to 21 in favour of Lake Erie.
Chris VandeVelde took a cross-checking penalty 4:09 into the final frame to give Lake Erie a power play opportunity to break the 1-1 deadlock.
After the penalty expired, the line of Eberle, RNH and Paajarvi generated some great scoring chances as they pinned the Monsters deep in their end for the entire shift. Marincin had a blast from the left circle that just missed the mark and Eberle made a great move before putting it on goal only to be stopped by Aittokallio.
With nine minutes to play in the third, shots on goal were 27 to 25 for Lake Erie.
Off the rush, Josh Green was upended by Barry Goers as he broke into the zone to give OKC a power play with less than eight minutes.
At the 16:27 mark, Andrew Agozzino carried the puck up ice off the draw and created a two-on-one. Agozzino elected to shoot and made no mistake, firing the puck top corner behind Danis to give Lake Erie the lead.
In the final minute, Lander was clipped with a high stick by Mark Olver to give the Barons a power play with a chance to tie the game but OKC was unable to convert.
The game's final shot count was 30 to 29 in favour of the Barons.