Schultz scores two to lead Barons over Stars
The Oklahoma City Barons got two powerplay goals from Justin Schultz to push past the Texas Stars, 4-2, Sunday afternoon at the Cox Convention Center. The Barons (4-3-0-0) went 2-for-4 on the powerplay during the game, moving to 8-for-34 on the season. Seven of those goals have come in the last three games.
“We were sharper mentally,” Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson said. “We still have a ways to go. We have to learn from game a like this. We were up by two goals, enough to win, so we have to quit forcing pucks in and keep things simple. I thought we got better as the game went on. I was happy with the effort.”
Schultz’s two goals marked the third straight game where an Oklahoma City player had scored two goals in a game and his 12 points on the year give him the AHL lead in the category.
“I’m really surprised,” Schultz said of learning he was leading the league in scoring. “It’s a good start for me, and the team is starting to come together. It’s going well so far for everyone, so hopefully we can continue.”
Olivier Roy set the defensive tone early, shrugging away a Mike Hedden rebound shot with his blocker to keep the game scoreless early.
The Barons took advantage of a Texas line change as Dane Byers ripped a shot from the left wing side that rocketed past Cristopher Nistorp to give Oklahoma City a 1-0 lead. Byers’ goal was his first of the year and Brandon Davidson earned his first point of the year with the primary assist. Chris VandeVelde had the second assist.
The Stars did not waste time in bringing the score back even as Matt Fraser’s one-timer evened the score at 1-1 at 9:03.
Oklahoma City continued to take advantage on the powerplay as Schultz scored his fifth of the year at 12:04 with a shot from the point that trickled in behind Nistorp. Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had the assists on the goal.
The Barons led in shots, 11-10 at the end of the first period.
The Barons extended the lead to 3-1 at 2:24 of the second as Antti Tyrvainen ripped a shot off the post past Nistorp on Oklahoma City’s first shot of the frame. Kristians Pelss and Taylor Fedun earned the assists. Following the goal, Nistorp was replaced in goal by Jack Campbell. Nistorp allowed the three goals on 12 shots in 22:24 played.
Cody Eakin scored his team-leading fourth goal of the year at 5:51 to draw the Stars to within one at 3-2.
Schultz added his second powerplay goal of the game at 13:05 as his shot from the right point found its way into the net. Magnus Paajarvi and Nugent-Hopkins got the assists as Oklahoma City improved to 2-for-4 during the game with the man advantage.
“I think we’re finally getting some chemistry on the powerplay,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “I think we just need to shoot pucks. Obviously, Justin has a great shot and shows it out there.”
The period ended with Oklahoma City leading in shots, 17-15.
The Stars got their first powerplay of the game at 4:19 of the period as a bevy of penalties were handed out to both teams. Antoine Roussel received a five-minute major penalty for kneeing Eberle. Roussel also got a 10-minute misconduct, while Colten Teubert received a franchise-record 27 total penalty minutes, including a two-minute penalty for instigating following a hit on Roussel.
Texas pulled Campbell with 1:49 remaining in favor of the extra attacker but was not able to draw even as the Barons won 4-2. Roy made 27 saves on the afternoon as Texas took a 29-19 advantage in shots.
“We want to put a streak together here,” Schultz added. “That’s the biggest thing. We’re starting to find our chemistry. Hopefully, we can find our groove.”
The Barons close out the current seven-game homestand next weekend, Nov. 2-3, with a pair of 6 p.m. MT games against the Houston Aeros.