The Oklahoma City Barons will play the Houston Aeros in a first-round, best-of-5 American Hockey League playoff series. Pairings were decided on the final day of the AHL regular season Sunday, and the Barons, who lost a meaningless 1-0 decision to the San Antonio Rampage, remained in the Alamo City for awhile after the game to find out who they would play in the opening round.
The Barons' possible opponents were Rochester (N.Y), Charlotte (N.C.) or Houston. But after games were complete Sunday, including Houston's 2-1 win vs. last-place Texas, the Aeros beat out Charlotte for the eighth and final postseason berth in the Western Conference. Rochester drew the Western Conference's No. 2 seed, the Toronto Marlies, in the first round.
“This is good for hockey,” Barons forward Josh Green said during a KXXY-FM 96.1 radio interview. “I don't remember a season going down to the final day like this.”
The Barons, since they won the conference championship, had the choice of beginning the first-round playoff series at home or on the road. They chose two road games at Houston first and then three home contests at the Cox Center.
So Oklahoma City's schedule lines up like this:
Game 1 will be at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at Houston, and Game 2 will be 7:35 p.m. Friday at Houston.
Game 3 will be 7 p.m. Sunday at Oklahoma City; Game 4, if necessary, will be 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 24 at Oklahoma City; and, if necessary, Game 5 will be 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 25 at Oklahoma City.
Playoff tickets for the Barons' home games are on sale at the Cox Center box office or ticketmaster.com. All upper bowl tickets will be $10 for the first-round series.
Oklahoma City (45-22-9) won seven of eight games vs. Houston (35-25-16) this season, including a 2-1 victory Friday at the Toyota Center.
On Sunday at San Antonio, the game's only goal came with 12:57 left the first period. The Rampage's Mark Cullen pumped home a rebound off a Yann Danis pad. The Barons had several chances to tie, and it appeared Teemu Hartikainen scored in the first period, but neither referee Jean Hebert nor the goal judge behind the end boards glass could determine if the puck indeed crossed the goal line.