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Under the Scope: Barons vs. Bulldogs - Game 5

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Following a pair of excellent performances earlier in the week that saw the Barons climb from an 0-2 series shortage, Hamilton rebounded to silence the home side with a 2-0 victory Friday night at Cox Convention Center. The Barons went 0-7 on the power-play, while the visiting Bulldogs scored once on six opportunities to mark the game-winning tally early in the opening period.

Dynamic Bulldogs stars Nigel Dawes and Aaron Palushaj scored for the visitors, while netminder Drew MacIntyre stopped all 20 Barons shots to earn the shutout in Game 5.

Martin Gerber made his fourth consecutive start in goal for the Barons, stopping 23 shots in the loss.

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

With production coming easy for the Barons in the past two games vs. Hamilton, Oklahoma City was presented with six power-play chances to help propel an increasingly lethal attack. The Barons were within striking distance throughout the evening, but a power outage with the man-advantage quelled the opportunity to move ahead in the series. No single event took Oklahoma City out of contention, but the Bulldogs were able to go ahead early in the opening period with a power-play tally. Oklahoma City was presented with more chances, but none were cashed; seven missed opportunities in total.

20 Oklahoma City was only able to produce 20 shots on goal tonight.

That total equals a regular season low for shots on goal in a single game; and quite the drop from the series' 35.8 per game average.
26 Despite snapping an 0-18 skid on the power-play the other night, Oklahoma City fell short this evening with the man-advantage.

With an 0-7 outing, the Barons have now only scored only one goal on 26 opportunities in the post-season.
2 As the saying goes, the series doesn't start until someone loses a home game. The Barons had that happen tonight, and now will require two wins at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton to earn the series victory.

Aaron Palushaj
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +1 4

Nigel Dawes
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +1 4

Drew MacIntyre
20 20 0 59:51 100

Drew MacIntyre
20 20 0 59:51 100

Martin Gerber
25 23 2 57:41 .920

Although Oklahoma City was unable to beat Drew MacIntyre in Game 5, Teemu Hartikainen did his best with an excellent second period opportunity that was turned aside by the veteran Hamilton netminder. Hartikainen burst down his opposite wing, challenging the Bulldogs with speed and creatvity along the way. With his head up and with an unrelenting focus on driving the net, the 20-year-old Finn conducted several dazzling dekes on the opposition defender, Brendon Nash. Hartikainen was able to get around the blueliner, but was stopped by MacIntyre in dramatic fashion, preserving the shutout performance.

When Barons defenceman Colten Teubert eliminated Bulldogs forward Aaron Palushaj in Game 3 with a thunderous hit, momentum quickly switched sides. Without the dynamic scorer in the lineup, Hamilton's attack had been downgraded. Tonight, Palushaj proved his importance with a tremendous performance that helped push his club to a well-earned victory over the Barons. When all was said and done, the 21-year-old winger collected one goal and two points in the 2-0 win.

With the top line struggling to produce so far this series, secondary scoring has been crucial for Oklahoma City. While the Barons were shutout in Game 5, Mark Arcobello continues to impress. After starting the season with the ECHL's Stockton Thunder, Arcobello has had an incredible season in Oklahoma City. Tonight, he was unable to get on the scoresheet, but led the club with four shots on goal in the loss. In addition, solid two-way play underlined a great performance; one of the few for the Barons on this night.

While shorthanded midway through the second period, captain Ben Ondrus was looking to kill time as he maintained possession through the neutral zone. Ondrus made a calculated move toward the boards before challenging the Bulldogs defence as he skated across the line. Hamilton rearguard Kyle Klubertanz became impatient, taking a quick stride toward Ondrus before laying his hands into the captain's chest. Ondrus was sent heavily to the ice, losing possession in the process.

Oklahoma City's top line of Brad Moran, Alex Giroux and Colin McDonald was silenced for the second consecutive game. In a time when the Barons require the expected elite-level production, chances aren't being generated. Alex Giroux recorded one shot on goal this evening, and this lone attempt came with only a minute to play in the game when Martin Gerber was called to the bench. If the Barons hope to come back and win the series, Giroux and others need to step up in a big way. 

"I think it was a bit of both. I thought [Hamilton] did a very good job of blocking us out and paying the price to block shots.

But also, coupled with our effort; we didn't have the jump like we normally do."

-- Head Coach Todd Nelson on the lack of shot production in the 2-0 loss to Hamilton.

Barons vs. Bulldogs - Game 6
Sunday, April 24th - 2pm MDT

Hamilton and Oklahoma City will continue the North Division Semi-Final series this Sunday back at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. Game-time is 2:05pm MT.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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