Things have been going well on the ice recently for the Oklahoma City Barons' Antti Tyrvainen.
On his 23rd birthday, the Finnish winger had to do something really special.
Tyrvainen scored an unassisted short-handed goal early in the second period to help the Barons to a 3-0 win over Hamilton in front of 2,652 at the Cox Center on Tuesday night.
After the game, while injured Andrew Lord distracted Tyrvainen with his cowboy hat as he did a postgame interview, Josh Green delivered a shaving cream pie to Tyrvainen's face as much of the rest of the team squealed in laughter.
“It was way bad,” Tyrvainen said after a quick rinse. “I couldn't open my eyes and it tastes very bad.”
That didn't matter, though, as the birthday boy's play was a big reason the Barons (43-19-4-5) moved a step closer to wrapping up the American Hockey League's Western Conference crown.
After clinching both a playoff spot and the Western Division title on their recent two-game road trip, Oklahoma City is now six points ahead of second-place Toronto in the conference race with five games to play.
Paired with Anton Lander and Tanner House of late, Tyrvainen's play has blossomed.
Tyrvainen now has a four-game points streak, scoring three goals and a pair of assists.
“From the start of the season, we knew he had the skills,” Barons coach Todd Nelson said. “He plays an abrasive style. He's playing with confidence now and has good chemistry with his linemates.”
The Barons had a six-minute power play prove fruitless early when Hamilton's Olivier Malka was called for tripping and an attempted spearing double minor.
But any momentum that slipped Hamilton's way was erased by Tyrvainen just more than three minutes into the second period.
He blocked a shot, then raced past the shooter as the puck bounded across the blue line.
House charged up the opposite side but after faking a move to the trailer, Tyrvainen buried it past Peter Delmas to put the Barons ahead.
Hunter Tremblay gave the Barons some breathing room midway through the third with his 15th goal of the season, and Ryan Keller added an empty-net goal as time wound down.
David LeNeveu stopped all 30 Hamilton shots to record his second shutout of the season.
“He's been in a tough situation sometimes lately getting the third in three, playing when everybody's tired in front of him,” Tremblay said. “We hung him out today a few times but he came up big for us.
“It's nice to give him a game where we'll all fresh.”
The Barons host Peoria at 7 p.m. Friday in the second of a four-game homestand.