OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The Oklahoma City Barons have been on a tear, having won 10 of their last 11 games and overall a 20-4-0 record since November 21, skyrocketing up the standings to top spot in the American Hockey League.
|Jordan Oesterle (photo by Steven Christy / OKC Barons)
There are plenty of reasons why the team has enjoyed so much success, not the least of which is the team's strong play on their back end. On that blueline, Oilers prospects David Musil and Jordan Oesterle have been a tremendous pairing throughout the stretch.
Barons head coach Gerry Fleming talked about the emergency of Oesterle, who has been playing like a veteran in his rookie season.
“Oystie’s been a pleasant surprise,” Fleming said. “He came out of Western Michigan with some pretty good numbers. Highly touted. He’s come and picked up right where he left off with his college career. Most kids coming out of college or junior, there’s a bit of a learning curve there but Jordan’s adjusted quickly and hopefully he can continue with his progress.”
The 22-year-old Oesterle has 18 points this season (5 goals, 13 assists) in 37 games which ranks him second on the team among defencemen in both categories, behind Brad Hunt.
“I think it’s been good,” said Oesterle. “I’ve been able to transition my college game pretty well to the professional game and hopefully it keeps improving.”
He added that having played four regular season and one playoff game at the end of last season in OKC likely helped him get off to a running start this season.
“It gave me a head start in front of some of the rookies we have this year, including myself, just knowing how to train and how much stronger I need to get this summer to come in and be able to compete every night in this league.”
MUSIL TAKES A STEP FORWARD
|David Musil (photo by Steven Christy / OKC Barons) |
While Oesterle was a free-agent signing by the Oilers, David Musil came to Oklahoma City as a high draft pick (first pick of round two in 2011). After an up-and-down 2013-14 campaign, he has taken a leap in this his sophomore season.
“I think I started feeling a lot more comfortable as the year has gone on. I just try to play my game and get better any way I can,” said Musil. “I think confidence is a big thing. Just playing hard and trying to improve every day. In general, I’ve been getting better in my game.”
Last year Musil had two goals and 12 points in 61 games with a -10 rating. He added that the adjustment from junior to pro was a difficult one both on and off the ice.
“It was a little bit different. It’s a totally different life, you have to start looking after yourself and all that. But there’s a lot of guys who helped me out. You battle through it at the start but once you get used to it it’s not that bad.”
PAIRED UP WITH OESTERLE
This year, the 21-year-old defender has a goal and three assists for four points in 32 contests. He had his first career multi-point effort last week with a goal and an assist. In his last 12 games, he's +3 after going -7 to start the season. Musil attributed some of his improvement to the pairing with Oesterle.
“We’ve been doing pretty good. Just kind of feeling each other out. When I need help, he’s always there to help me out. Supporting each other, that’s a big part for us,” he said.
Coach Fleming talked about the defence pairing and Musil's improvement throughout this season.
“They complement each other. Moose (Musil) is a big body. He eliminates the cycle in the defensive zone. He’s been strong in front of his net and great at killing penalties and blocking shots,” Fleming remarked. “Jordan’s more offensive, making plays in the defensive zone, skating the puck out of the danger areas. It’s been a nice complement and hopefully they can continue to feed each other.”
Oesterle added that he felt the synergy between the pair has been mutually beneficial.
“It’s gone good. I’ve enjoyed playing with David. He knows where I’m going to be. I know where he’s going to be. I can always count on him to be behind me when I want to jump into the rush and stuff like that. I always give him the green light to go every now and then and he’s been doing it a lot recently,” Oesterle noted.
“I think we both just feed off each other and we have a good friendship off the ice and it seems to be carrying over onto the ice.”