With five players coming back from the NHL for the start of the playoffs, the Oklahoma City Barons chemistry was a little shaken up at the start of their American Hockey League first-round playoff series against Hamilton.
Things seem to be clicking now for the Barons.
Wednesday night, the Barons beat the Bulldogs 5-2 in front of 2,041 at the Cox Center.
With the series now tied 2-2, the teams will play again here 7:05 p.m. Friday.
“Now, we are in the front seat,” Barons winger Linus Omark said. “If we win that (Friday), I think we make it.”
The scoring output in Game 4 came from the expected (Omark, an empty-netter from Chris VandeVelde) and from the very unexpected (Hunter Tremblay, Zack Stortini and Mark Arcobello).
Omark and VandeVelde were two of the players sent back from Edmonton for the playoffs. Arcobello played most of the season in the East Coast Hockey League before sticking with the Barons late and turning into one of the team's most dependable centermen.
Tremblay's contributions have been even more eye-opening.
The 25-year-old was signed to an amateur tryout contract in the final week of the regular season after playing at the University of New Brunswick.
But, after sitting out the first game of the playoff series, Tremblay has gained enough confidence from Barons coach Todd Nelson to see time on the power play and penalty killing units. He put the Barons ahead just more than three minutes into Wednesday's game with his first professional goal.
“As a new player coming in, you can't ask for more than that,” Tremblay said. “But at the same time, trying to earn your respect by keeping your mouth shut and doing your job as best you can and not screwing (up) for the boys.”