Barons beat Checkers 6-2, advance to second round
|Photo by Steven Christy / Oklahoma City Barons
The Oklahoma City Barons advanced to the AHL's Western Conference semi-finals on Saturday by breaking a 2-2 tie with three second-period goals in a 6-2 win in the fifth and deciding game over the Charlotte Checkers at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Barons won the final two games of the series in Charlotte after dropping behind in the series 2-1 on Wednesday. Oklahoma City opens its second-round, best-of-seven series against the No. 1 seeded Texas Stars on Thursday at 7:30 pm CDT at Cedar Park Center in Cedar Park, Texas. The Barons were 8-3-0-1 against the Stars this season.
Teemu Hartikainen and Toni Rajala each had a goal and two assists, while linemate Anton Lander produced a goal and an assist. Goaltender Yann Danis stopped 49 of 51 Charlotte shots, both Barons playoff highs.
A wide-open first period saw Charlotte out-shoot Oklahoma City 21-13 and each team have a shot at the lead. Charlotte opened the scoring with a goal at 10:56 by Riley Nash in the deep slot after a giveaway back of the Barons' net. Oklahoma City then took the lead 2-1 with a pair of goals 40 seconds apart. Jonathan Cheechoo put in his own rebound at 13:30, followed by Lander sliding one past starter Rob Madore from in deep at 14:10.
The Checkers drew even at 2-2 when Bobby Raymond slipped down from the point and converted a Brody Sutter centering pass at 17:37.
The Barons scored all three goals in the second period to open a 5-2 advantage through two periods. Hartikainen shot one past Madore from the right-wing circle at 9:57. Josh Green executed a wrap-around at 11:35 to make it 4-2, resulting in Madore being lifted for the second straight game. Rajala snapped home high glove side past relief goaltender John Muse at 16:07.
Madore took the loss, stopping 13 of 17 shots.
Andrew Hotham completed the scoring with an empty-net goal at 18:34 of the third period as the Barons advanced to the second round for the second straight season.
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OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Barons will take on the Texas Stars in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs..
The best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series starts in Cedar Park, Texas on Thursday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m., while Game 2 of the series will be played Saturday, May 11:
SECOND ROUND SCHEDULE >>
Oklahoma City and Texas met a total of 12 times during the regular season, with the Barons holding an 8-3-1-0 record in those games. Texas finished with the top record in the Western Conference during the regular season.
Oklahoma City was led by Mark Arcobello who had 12 points (1-11-12) against the Stars. Yann Danis did the lion’s share of the work in goal, posting a 2.58 goals against average and .918 saves percentage in seven games against Texas. The Stars were led by Colton Sceviour who had 14 points (6-8-14) in the season series. Goaltender Jack Campbell appeared in eight games against Oklahoma City and posted a 2.33 goals against average and .913 saves percentage.
Oklahoma City advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by defeating the Charlotte Checkers 3-2 in their first-round, best-of-5 series. Texas advanced by defeating the Milwaukee Admirals 3-1 in their first-round best-of-5 series.
Tickets for Games 3 & 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals start at $11 and go on sale Monday morning at 10 a.m. at 232-GOAL (4625) as well as all Ticketmaster outlets and online at ticketmaster.com.
Season Seat Holders that have already received their ticket books for the playoffs will use the ticket marked Round 2 Game A for the game on Monday, May 13, Round 2 Game B for the game on Wednesday, May 15 and if necessary, Round 2 Game C for the game on Thursday, May 16.
All Barons playoff games can be heard on the Barons flagship station, 96.1 KXY and are also available on a pay-per-view basis via AHL Live.