When the Barons play the Texas Stars in Cedar Park, Texas, a suburb near Austin, a group of fans behind the Oklahoma City bench use the OU-Texas rivalry as motivation to heckle Barons players.
The Texas Stars, the Triple-A affiliate of the Dallas Stars, are the closest thing the Barons have to a rival, which could lead to some heated moments during a best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series.
The South Division rivals already played each other 12 times during the regular season.
“Because we play them a lot every year it can get real chippy,” said forward Teemu Hartikainen. “In a playoff series everything starts to build.”
The Stars will host Games 1 (Thursday) and 2 (Saturday). The series shifts to the Cox Convention Center next week for Games 3, 4 and 5.
“We always have some interesting games,” said coach Todd Nelson. “They're the No. 1 seed for a reason. They have all the parts. They have great goaltending. Their defensemen are strong. Their forwards have skill and grit. They're a complete team. But we've been playing good hockey. It should be a great series.”