THE TEAM TODAY: Back to Texas
Barons take part in off-ice workout before flight to Houston
BACK TO TEXASOKLAHOMA CITY - The Barons had an off-ice workout on Wednesday prior to departure for Houston where they will play the Aeros on Thursday and Friday this week.
The games will be the fourth and fifth of the team's current seven-game road swing. The trip has gone well so far with three straight wins in Texas (Austin) and Charlotte.
"I think guys are starting to get confidence. Yann has played really well over the course of this streak here, which gave guys confidence. Some of those games we were getting outshot and there's been some injury trouble," said Assistant Coach Rocky Thompson.
The three road wins have extended the team's overall stretch to five consecutive victories and points in seven straight (13 out of a possible 14 points) dating back to the team's second game in Abbotsford, a 2-1 OT win. However, Thompson says that the games against Milwaukee were what really turned the ship around.
"It was against Milwaukee. They came really hard at us and played a great game," said Thompson. "We were able to find a way to win that one. Then we played better that next game (against Milwaukee) and dictated the pace of that game.
"Then things just started to roll. We went into Texas, scored some goals and persevered. We were blowing some third-period leads earlier in the year and those were things that we stopped doing here over the course of the streak."
The streak culminated with two wins in Charlotte against what was at the time the league's top team.
"We gained some confidence coming out of Milwaukee, holding those leads -- and adding to them in a lot of cases -- so it's nice our guys are starting to believe in what they're doing and starting to see the rewards of it."
HEADING TO HOUSTON
The team is now on its way to Houston where it will play Thursday and Friday. The last time the two sides met, the Barons squeaked out a win after giving up a three-goal third-period lead and then the next night squandered another three-goal lead before losing in a shootout.
"They always play hard. They have a ton of skill. They've lost Brodin and Granlund, which are their two top players but they seem to have battled through that themselves since we saw them the last time," Rocky said.
Considering both the Brodin and Granlund injuries were suffered that weekend in Oklahoma City, it should be a spirited affair.
"They're right behind us in the standings. You look at our conference and just a couple of points separates fourth from 11th. Every point is so important. We don't want to give up any points. We want to play hard, continue with the momentum that we've created and the results will always end up being there."
THREE PLAYERS ON ICE
Three players who will not be making the trip to Houston skated on Wednesday on their own. Ryan Martindale (knee), Tyler Pitlick (concussion) and Josh Green (ribs) all went out on the ice. Green is likely for the San Antonio series a week from now while the other two are in the early stages of recovery and could be termed questionable for the Rampage.
Eric Hunter has been recalled from ECHL Stockton to help bolster the forward ranks for the Barons against Houston.
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com