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Under the Scope: Barons vs. Bulldogs - Game 3

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Oklahoma City came into this evening's contest looking to avoid an 0-3 uphill climb as the AHL's North Division Semi-Final series continued between the Barons and Bulldogs. Scoreless through 40 minutes, both teams continued to pepper the opposing goaltender in search of the ice-breaker.

Goaltending was the story as the Bulldogs had established a commanding 2-0 series lead prior to tonight. Hamilton netminder Drew MacIntyre stood tall once again, but the hometown Barons continued to press.

Third period goals by Colin McDonald and Alex Giroux, in addition to 26 saves by Martin Gerber propelled Oklahoma City to a well-earned 2-0 victory over the visiting Bulldogs. In doing so, Hamilton's series lead has been sliced, narrowing the gap to 2-1.

With momentum now on the side of the Barons, Games 4 and 5 will be played at Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City this Wednesday and Friday.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

48:38 had passed before the ice-breaker was recorded. For much of the evening, it appeared as though the Barons and Bulldogs would play through the night. Near the midway mark of the third period, the line of Brad Moran, Alex Giroux and Colin McDonald emerged. The trio was challenged by Head Coach Todd Nelson following a disappointing performance by all three Saturday night in Hamilton. In response, they stepped up. At the 8:38 mark of the third, Moran's snapshot from the slot created a loose puck near the goal line. McDonald pounced on the rebound, registering the go-ahead goal.

4 Brad Moran, Alex Giroux and Colin McDonald combined to score four points tonight.

This line was challenged by Head Coach Todd Nelson following Saturday's loss in Hamilton.
46 As the Barons searched for answers on the scoresheet, continuing to throw pucks on goal seemed to be the logical course of action.

OKC produced a series-high 46 shots on goal tonight (Hamilton could only respond with 26).
15 In total, 15 minor penalties were assessed tonight, with 12 of those leading to power-play chances.

Both teams went 0-6 with the man-advantage tonight.

Martin Gerber
26 26 0 59:59 100

Alex Giroux
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +2 3

Drew MacIntyre
46 44 2 59:54 .957

Drew MacIntyre
46 44 2 59:54 .957

Martin Gerber
26 26 0 59:59 100

Once Oklahoma City had established a 1-0 lead, the top line continued to showcase their elite-level talent. Alex Giroux in particular was able to notch the Barons' second goal of the evening on the back of hard work. After breaking in on the Bulldogs defence, he fell to his knees with the puck quickly escaping his reach. The veteran forward powered through the check, sprung to his feet and broke in on goal against Hamilton netminder Drew MacIntyre. Giroux wasted no time, releasing a quick wrister under the bar to put the Barons up 2-0 late in the third period; all the Barons would need to win.

While Alex Giroux had an excellent outing for the Barons, this series has been shaped by goaltending. The Bulldogs were able to muster 26 shots on Martin Gerber this evening; all of which were turned aside by the veteran netminder. Until this point in the series, Oklahoma City's goaltenders had been heavily outplayed by Drew MacIntyre at the other end. MacIntyre played well, stopping 44 of the 46 Barons attempts, but Gerber's shutout performance vaulted his club to a well-earned 2-0 victory.

"They can give more. We need them to give more. They'll be there for us in Game 3." - Coach Todd Nelson on the performances of Brad Moran, Alex Giroux and Colin McDonald Saturday night in Hamilton. The top line accepted the challenge and had an excellent collective evening for the Barons. Giroux notched two points, while McDonald and Moran each collected one in the victory. Overall, the response was exactly what was needed as the Barons' top guns propelled their squad to victory.

The quickest way to get involved in a game early is to engage in the physical play. Tough-as-nails rearguard Colten Teubert did that and more in the opening period with a pair of crunches on separate, unsuspecting Bulldogs skaters. Late in the opening period, Teubert met Aaron Palushaj near the penalty boxes, where he dumped the talented forward with a thundering shoulder-to-shoulder blow. The impact sent the Hamilton skater heavily to the ice where he would require attention from the training staff.

Coming out with a quick start has been the Barons' goal since a disappointing Game 1 saw them fall behind 3-0 in the opening period. Tonight, Oklahoma City produced 11 scoring chances on 15 first period shots. Hamilton could only respond with three scoring chances on six shots. While no goals were scored, it was an excellent start to set the tone early on.

"I'm playing with two good players as well. They know what I'm going to do every night. I try and get to the net as quick as I can and try to create as much garbage and commotion as possible."

-  Colin McDonald following the 2-0 victory over Hamilton.

Barons vs. Bulldogs - Game 4
Wednesday, April 20th - 6pm MDT

Hamilton and Oklahoma City will reconvene tomorrow evening at Cox Convention Center for Game 4 of the North Division Semi-Final series.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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