What Oklahoma City Barons coach Todd Nelson didn't say was as important as what he did following his team's 1-0 American Hockey League loss to San Antonio on Sunday afternoon at the Cox Center.
In a season where the Barons have built a big division lead playing close, hard-fought games, Nelson has rarely been frustrated with his team's play, even in losses.
That clearly wasn't the case after the Rampage made an early first-period goal stand up in handing the Barons their second loss during a three-games-in-three-nights stretch at home.
“It just wasn't a very good game,” Nelson said. “That's all I have to say about it really.
“You'll have to ask the players about it.”
Barons captain Bryan Helmer's assessment wasn't much brighter.
“It's disappointing,” he said. “We came out and laid an egg for the first two periods. I thought we played well in the third, but it wasn't enough.”
The Barons were scoreless on five power-play attempts and managed just 22 shots.
They also spent more than six minutes of the third period on the penalty kill and, though the kill was effective, holding San Antonio 0 for 6 with the advantage, it took away teeth from the Barons attack when they needed it most.
“It does,” Nelson said. “We did a good job on the penalty kill, but the power-play was nonexistent. That was the difference in the game.”
The Barons (33-14-2-3) started and ended the third period on the penalty kill, both on Mark Arcobello infractions.
Arcobello was called for cross-checking at the end of the second period, then with just 25 seconds left in the game, drew a tripping call that likely prevented a Rampage empty-net goal.
“You don't want to take penalties, but they happen,” Helmer said. “We took a couple there that weren't real smart.”
San Antonio (28-22-2-1) got on the board just more than seven minutes into the game when Michal Repik took advantage of a Barons giveaway. Oklahoma City goaltender Yann Danis stopped Repik's initial shot but failed to negate Repik's attempt off the rebound.
“He was our best player tonight,” Nelson said.
He declined to elaborate on any other players' performance.
“I don't want to say anything I'm going to regret,” Nelson said.
The Barons host Texas at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the last game of a four-game homestand before going on the road for six consecutive games.