Schultz leads Barons over Rampage with 3 points, +5 rating
Oklahoma City takes out San Antonio 5-2 on Friday night
The Oklahoma City Barons trumped the San Antonio Rampage 5-2 Friday evening in front of 6,323 fans at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. The Barons (2-1-0) got two shorthanded goals from rookie defenseman Justin Schultz and Teemu Hartikainen added a goal and assist.
“I thought our second period was strong,” said Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson. “We were coming and had some good zone time. Going into third period with a two-goal lead, everyone talks about how it’s the worst to have in hockey, but our guys were good. I thought the effort was really good tonight.”
Oklahoma City got its only power play of the evening just 25 seconds into the game. The Barons had plenty of scoring chances with the man advantage, including a look by Hartikainen, but couldn’t slip the puck past San Antonio goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
The Rampage got on the board first, as James Wright scored his first goal of the season at 4:38 to give San Antonio a 1-0 lead.
Jordan Eberle nearly got the equalizer later in the period, fooling Markstrom on a backhanded shot from the near circle. Markstrom moved just in time to make the save, keeping the score 1-0.
Martin Marincin scored his second goal of the season at 10:41 to even the score. Marincin’s goal was the recipient of a beautiful pass from Hartikainen along the boards.
Justin Schultz then gave Oklahoma City the lead as his shot from the right faceoff circle went just above Markstrom’s blocker. Schultz’s shorthanded goal would be his first of the evening and gave the Barons a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
“I had a little jump tonight,” Schultz said following his performance. “It makes it easy when you’re playing with (Ryan) Nugent-Hopkins and (Jordan) Eberle a lot. It was just a fun game to play in.”
The second period proved to be a breakout period for the Barons. Even after San Antonio tied the game at 2-2 on a Greg Rallo goal at 15:35, the Barons took control of the contest.
Oklahoma City held San Antonio to just two shots on goal in the second, taking a 26-10 advantage in the category. One of those shots came off the stick of Colten Teubert. Teubert took a no-look pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Teubert’s shot was picked up by Markstrom.
Hartikainen’s goal came at 9:35 on a highlight reel relay from Nugent-Hopkins and Schultz. Nugent-Hopkins got a pass off from behind the net while falling down and Schultz’s pass to Hartikainen was right on the tape to give the Barons the lead for good at 3-2.
Eberle went high on Markstrom to double the lead to 4-2 at 18:30. Nugent-Hopkins made a backhanded pass to Eberle to create the scoring chance.
“He got in there on the forecheck and found me,” Eberle said of the pass. “I just tried to get it on net – stop picking corners and get it on net and things happen. (Ryan’s) got great vision, so you just have to always be ready for the puck.
The Barons held on to the lead in the third as Oklahoma City goaltender Yann Danis made a stop on a Rampage two-on-one. The Rampage managed to get six shots on goal in the period, but none of them past Danis.
Schultz sealed the win with a shorthanded, empty net goal at 19:32. He and Marincin ended the game plus-five, a franchise record. The Barons out-shot the Rampage, 38-16.
Following the game, Nelson had nothing but praise for his rookie blue liner.
“He’s a special player. He feels very comfortable out there. He scored a nice goal, got an empty netter. Also the pass he made to Hartikainen was a big-league pass.”
Oklahoma City continues the homestand Saturday evening with a 6 p.m. MDT contest against the Lake Erie Monsters.