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Barons fall to Checkers, 5-2

by Cassie Gage / Edmonton Oilers

The Charlotte Checkers raced out to a 4-0 lead and held on for a 5-2 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons Friday Night at the Cox Convention Center.

It took just one shot and 33 seconds for the Checkers to find the back of the net. Victor Rask fired a shot from the slot that beat Chet Pickard’s blocker. Matthew Pistilli extended the lead to 2-0 on the power play after sneaking behind the Barons defensemen and beating Pickard off the post and in.

Chris Terry and Pistilli then got breakaways 25 seconds apart to extend the lead to four. Terry made a move to get around the defender and held off before making a move and slipping the puck five hole on Pickard. Pistilli picked up a turnover and went in all alone beating Pickard for his second of the night.

After the fourth goal, Head Coach Todd Nelson went to Richard Bachman. The Barons trailed 21-8 in shots after the first frame.

The second period was scoreless for both sides, but Oklahoma City was able to put some offensive pressure together. The Barons led the second period in shots 18-10.

The third period found Oklahoma City finally breaking the ice as Matthew Ford beat Mike Murphy to the blocker side at 3:53 to prevent the shutout.

A few power play chances went by without a Barons goal before Ryan Martindale found the back of the net on a rebound of a Ford shot. The secondary assist was credited to Brandon Davidson.

The Checkers found the back of the net at 18:49 with Bachman on the Barons bench for the extra attacker. Aaron Palushaj fired the puck from the Checkers defensive zone for the unassisted, empty net goal.

Oklahoma City fought back to outshoot Charlotte 43-38. Bachman made all 22 saves he was challenged with after coming in to relieve Pickard after 15 shots. Murphy made 41 saves for Charlotte.

Oklahoma City takes on Charlotte once again Saturday night at 7 p.m. CT at the Cox Convention Center to close out the series. Saturday night is also Drive Away Every Saturday game, where one lucky fan will win a 2013 Chrysler 200. Fans may register for a chance at becoming a semifinalist by attending the game.

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