AT FRIDAY'S PRACTICE
With a matinee match-up on the agenda Saturday, the Barons completed their on-ice preparations Friday afternoon in Hamilton.
Understandably disappointed with Thursday's 5-2 loss in Game 1, Oklahoma City coaches are emphasizing discipline and good decision-making heading into Game 2.
"I think we came out a little bit nervous and we were making a lot of unforced errors, unfortunately," Barons assist coach Rocky Thompson said. "We were trying to do things a little bit more complicated than what we had to and what had basically got us into the playoffs, so if we can simplify our game, get back to just our simple structure that we have, support the puck well, make short passes, we'll be able to get back into the offensive zone and do what we do good."
The Barons practice was short but upbeat. Based on the drills, there appears to be few line-up changes for tomorrow's contest, except for a defensive switch: Colten Teubert
will replace Alex Plante
"I'm super excited to get the opportunity to play," Teubert said. "I struggled at the end of the season, so to get this opportunity to help the team get a big win in the series, I'm just really excited and it's going to come down to a great team effort tonight."
Sharing the coach's observations, Tuebert said simplicity will be key in Saturday's game.
"I think we've just got to play solid and keep it simple," he said. "We've got to keep pucks away from the middle. They're a pretty good team, they play really patient and wait to counter, so I think we just play a good road hockey game and get the puck deep and just give the puck to our forwards. We've got tons of skill up there."
In Game 1, Jeff Deslauriers was given the start in net only to be replaced by Martin Gerber in the second period. There is no word yet on who will start Saturday afternoon. -- Jen Sharpe, edmontonoilers.com
OKC BARONS GAME NOTES
The Barons look to square this best-of-7, first-round Calder Cup playoff series in Game 2 at Copps Coliseum. OKC dropped the opener 5-2 on Thursday. The Barons finished fifth in the West Division and earned the crossover spot as the North Division’s fourth seed after amassing more points than fourth-place Abbotsford. OKC and Hamilton split a 2-game season series, with OKC winning in OT Oct. 24 at Hamilton and the Bulldogs prevailing 3-0 in OKC Dec. 17. GAME 1 LEFTOVERS:
Thursday’s relief goaltender Martin Gerber denied a penalty shot by Ga- briel Dumont at 15:32 of the second period. Counting the regular season, Barons goaltenders have stopped all 4 opposing penalty shots. It was Gerber’s first penalty shot faced as a Baron. Gerber re- placed Jeff Deslauriers after the first period with the Bulldogs ahead 3-0. In the regular season, the Barons lost all 4 games in regulation where a goalie was pulled for reasons other than an injury. OKC went 7-0-0-0 when the opposition’s starting netminder was lifted. Ben Ondrus recorded 1 goal and 1 assist in Game 1. The Barons’ captain had 3 multi-point games during the regular season. Combining the regular season and his goal on Thursday, all 7 of Bryan Helmer’s goals have come on the road. DESLAURIERS RETURNS TO COPPS:
Jeff Deslauriers, a Hamilton Bulldog for 13 games in 2005-06, was the Barons’ starter in 9 of the last 12 regular-season games while Martin Gerber was sidelined with an injury sustained Mar. 16 at Grand Rapids. Deslauriers won 4 straight starts from Apr. 1-9, including all 3 of his shutouts, as the Barons out-scored the opposition 18-2 in those games and clinched a playoff berth on the next-to-last night of the regular season. Deslauriers stopped 96 of 98 shots in his final 4 regular-season games for a .980 save percentage. MCDONALD TAKES GOAL TITLE:
Colin McDonald scored his league leading 42nd goal of the season at 17:28 of the third period in Sunday’s finale at Houston, eclipsing Hamilton’s Nigel Dawes for the Willie Marshall Award. With 6 goals in the final 3 games, McDonald won the Reebok/ AHL Player of the Week Award. McDonald recorded his first professional 4-goal game in Friday’s 7-2 win at San Antonio. He had 17 goals in the last 16 games of the regular campaign. McDonald led the league with 19 power play goals and did not have an empty-netter. Prior to this season,McDonald had totaled 35 goals in 3 seasons as a professional. GIROUX SECOND IN AHL POINTS:
Alexandre Giroux finished as the AHL’s second-leading scor- er with 78 points, trailing only league MVP Corey Locke of Binghamton (86). Giroux was rested in the Barons’ final regular-season game on Sunday, the first time he was eligible for an AHL game this season that he did not play. Giroux saw a 10-game point streak end on Saturday at Texas. He had 3 goals and 12 assists during the streak, which had extended to Feb. 27, prior to his 2 March callups to Edmonton. Giroux is the first-team left winger on the AHL post-season All-Star Team, his third straight season as a first-teamer. That feat has been accomplished by only two other forwards in AHL history (Pete Leswick, 1948-50 and Art Stratton, 1963-65). Giroux has had seven consecutive 30 (or more) goal seasons, tying a record held by AHL Hall of Famer Dick Gamble.
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