Schultz wins it for the Barons in OT
Taylor Hall ended a streak of over 180 minutes without a goal and Justin Schultz scored 1:36 into overtime as the Oklahoma City Barons beat the Abbotsford Heat 2-1 Saturday night.
In a free-flowing first five minutes, Oklahoma City controlled the pace with a strong forecheck and crisp, tape-to-tape passes. Already, it's a better start and exactly what Head Coach Todd Nelson needed from his group.
Reunited on the top line, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall orchestrated the game's best chance nearly eight minutes in, but Hall's off-the-rush snapshot sailed wide.
Tyler Pitlick and Mark Arcobello picked up where the kids left off, pouring on several quick succession shots that provided the visitors with a commanding edge in shots by the 10-minute mark.
After surviving the early onslaught, Abbotsford's Ben Street went to work by engineering serveral goalmouth chances that nearly resulted in the icebreaker, but Yann Danis turned them all aside.
Both teams then picked up their physical game. First, Heat pivot Carter Bancks leveled Jordan Henry with a destructive sideboard hit, but the Barons responded as Tyler Pitlick crushed Joe Piskula moments later, bringing the sold-out crowd into it with rambunctious cheers of appreciation.
After 20 minutes, the Barons led 15-5 in shots but were unable to solve Heat goalie Danny Taylor.
Taylor Hall turned the puck over at the offensive blueline 20 seconds in, allowing Abbotsford to race back on a partial 2-on-1. Sven Baertschi's laser-like wrister grazed the crossbar, keeping the game scoreless.
Hall was the centre of attention later in the period as Chris VandeVelde tried to spring him on a breakaway, but an ill-positioned referee disrupted the pass. Hall was still able to continue on and get a sharp-angle shot away, but Taylor smothered the chance.
A wild scramble near the Heat net provided Eberle with a glorious opportunity to score, but an outstretched Taylor made a spectacular diving save to preserve the 0-0 score.
By the 14-minute mark of the period Oklahoma City eclipsed the shot total they achieved in Friday's loss (23), but Taylor was solid in answering them all.
With 3:58 on the clock, Colten Teubert was assessed the game's first penalty -- a roughing minor, sending the Heat's red hot power-play to the ice. A delay of game penalty to Jordan Henry gave Abbotsford an even better chance to crack the goose egg, but the Barons did what they could only do 66.6 percent of the time yesterday by killing them both.
After 40 minutes the Barons extended their shot lead to a 24-13 advantage, but neither team could find twine.
Once again, the Barons' Big 3 nearly put their team ahead early in the period. Down the wing, Hall dished to a wide-open Nugent-Hopkins in the slot. RNH wasted little time and ripping a snapshot up high, but Taylor made a spectacular glove save.
With 12:54 remaining, Hall was upended in the neutral zone by Piskula, resulting in a tripping minor that put the Barons on their first power-play of the night.
40 seconds into the advantage, Teemu Hartikainen put a backhander on goal that was initially stopped, but the rebound popped loose to Hall at the doorstep. No. 22 made no mistake, rifling a shot over Taylor to put the Barons up 1-0. The goal ended a streak of 187:02 without one for OKC.
A 'Let's go Oilers!' chant echoed throughout the building soon after.
Abbotsford got a chance to equalize moments later as Teubert was sent off for interference. However, the Heat were unable to generate much of consequence, keeping the Barons' one-goal lead on the scoreboard as the clock wound down.
But with only 1:45 to play, Dustin Sylvester collected a loose puck in the crease and deposited it into the gaping cage, setting the score at 1-1.
At 1:36 of the extra period, Justin Schultz walked right down main street and ripped a shot over Taylor's glove-side shoulder to win it 2-1 for the Barons.