The OKC Barons got their 12-13 season off to a strong start with a 4-0 exhibition win over Houston. The major stars of the game were Justin Schultz, Teemu Hartikainen and Ryan Martindale. The game also saw the return of Taylor Fedun to pro hockey, about one year after his terrible and unnecessary injury.
Photo courtesy of Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins didn’t play tonight, nor did Jordan Eberle. The Barons had more than enough firepower and the game highlighted a major problem for coach Todd Nelson and the organization this week: cutting down the roster. There’s too much talent here, someone–a very good player at pretty much every position–will be sent to Stockton as early as tonight.
The lines and pairings
Based on OKC’s twitter the lines and pairings for tonight looked like this:
In listening to Jim Byers do the PBP and various online accounts, the Martindale-Hartikainen combination was excellent tonight, especially on the PP. Lander and Hamilton’s line did solid work in their own zone and young Pelss-clearly fighting for an AHL job–scored a goal and impressed.
Arcobello scored a goal (and took a monster hit) and Antti Tyrvainen was his usual effective agitating self and picked up an assist. Among the 4th lines, Rajala had his name mentioned several times and was part of the action (certainly more than Hunter and Abney).
Since Hartikainen is expected to make the Barons, I’ll suggest Ryan Martindale had the biggest game among those who are possible bubble players.
The pairings looked like this:
All of the Baron defenders got good marks tonight. Schultz scored the game’s second goal and played a lot with Ringwald at evens. Zahn came to the defense of Hamilton on one exchange and Fedun flew some successful sorties (including a starring role in the Arcobello goal). It was Davidson’s shot that was tipped by Pelss for his goal and Teubert played a steady game.
Olivier Roy got the start and the win, Tyler Bunz was impressive too although neither goalie was terribly busy.
Scratches included Yann Danis, Alex Plante, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Pitlick, Josh Green, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Magnus Paajarvi, Tanner House, Martin Marincin, Chris VandeVelde, Dane Byers and Ryan Ludwig. Jim Byers mentioned that Martin Marincin’s injury is an upper body problem (I believe he said shoulder) and Eric Rodgers tweeted tonight "Marincin has tendonitis in his shoulder."
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Barons are going to score a lot of goals this season. Did you see the list of scratches? Holy hell. The OKC Barons are exceptional value for the price. I couldn’t get the PPV to work tonight, but will try again tomorrow. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Update: Tyler Bunz has just tweeted he’s heading for Stockton.