With Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish in attendance, Oklahoma City Barons team captain Anton Lander came up big in his attempt to return to the NHL.
Lander supplied the go-ahead goal early in the third period in a Barons' 3-1 win over the San Antonio Rampage Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center.
The 22-year-old center won a race for a loose puck in San Antonio's defensive zone. Lander fired a shot from the point that hit the right post and trickled over the goal line, his ninth goal in 17 games with the Barons.
“My focus is to go out and win the game and keep working on my game regardless who is in the crowd,” Lander said. “I didn't even know he was here. Whether it's my dad, my family or MacTavish, I've always believed you have to focus on the right things.”
Lander appeared in one game with the Oilers earlier this season. He has spent the bulk of the season with the Barons in the American Hockey League, scoring 15 points in 17 games with OKC.
A second-round pick four years ago, the 40th overall selection, Lander appeared in 56 games with the Oilers two years ago as a 20-year-old rookie.
Lander has split time between Edmonton and OKC the past three seasons — 68 games with Edmonton, 78 games with Oklahoma City. But most of his ice time the past two seasons has been with the Barons.
“Anton has really worked on his offense,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “That will help him at the next level. Here he's playing on the No. 1 line. Up there he might only play on the third or fourth line but this will help him have the confidence so if he gets called up he can chip in some points.”