The Oklahoma City Barons have been hampered by constant roster shuffling the past two weeks, but coach Todd Nelson said that's no excuse after a 6-0 to the Chicago Wolves on Friday night at the Cox Convention Center.
“Making any excuses because of call-ups or injuries, that would be taking the easy way out,” Nelson said. “Chicago was good tonight. They have (veteran) players that they go (sign). Those players have been around a long time. They showcased their skills tonight.”
With Edmonton experiencing a rash of injuries, the Barons are forced to rely on more young players. OKC's roster on Friday night featured nine players who saw time in the Double-A ECHL last season.
In contrast, the Wolves, the St. Louis Blues' AHL affiliate, have several NHL-tested veterans, including goaltender Jake Allen, who posted a 9-4 record last season in 15 game with the Blues.
“Those young guys getting an opportunity to play is going to really help us at the end of the year,” said Barons veteran forward Matthew Ford. “These guys are gaining valuable experience. (Saturday) will be the real test, how these guys respond. We can't hang our heads. We're playing the exact same team.”
After a scoreless first period, Chicago scored five goals in the second period. The Wolves scored four goals in the final nine minutes of the period.
“We weren't consistent with our system,” Nelson said. “That could be due to working with different lines all week, guys going to Edmonton, some guys coming back. Right now we don't have any continuity.”
Three Chicago players — veterans Alexandre Bolduc and Shane Harper and 20-year-old highly ranked prospect Ty Rattie — scored two goals each for Chicago, which had scored only 20 goals all season before Friday night's eruption.