Linus Omark's first goal of the season wasn't officially a power-play goal. But it was a game-winner.
Texas Stars defender Aaron Rome had just left the penalty box and was nearing the blue line when Omark fired the puck past Texas goalie Cristopher Nilstorp to give the Oklahoma City Barons a 2-1 overtime win Tuesday night at the Cox Convention Center.
“It was a fantastic move, how he paused to get around the defenseman to get a clean shot on net,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “It was a creative play that only so many players can do. It was nice to see him get that first one.”
Omark, the flashy left winger from Sweden, said he's usually a slow starter, which made the game-winner 32 seconds into overtime even sweeter.
“I'm happy that I finally scored a goal, an important goal that helped us win,” Omark said. “I knew it was going to come. Hopefully I can keep it going.”
Considering he's scored 97 goals since turning pro at age 19 seven years ago, it was just a matter of time before Omark lit the lamp.
Omark, 26, played in 46 games for the Barons and 65 games for the Edmonton Oilers in 2010-11 and 2011-12, but played in Switzerland last season. Omark became the first Swede to lead the Swiss pro league in scoring.
“Everybody wants to go up (to the NHL),” Omark said. “That's what makes this such a good league. Everyone wants to take that next step up.”
Omark's goal essentially was a power-play goal, which continued an early season trend in which the Barons' special teams have been dominant.
Oklahoma City's first goal, Andrew Miller's first as a professional, gave OKC a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the second period. Miller's goal was on the power play.
Nearly half of the Barons' 11 goals have come with the man advantage. On the flip side, they're second in the league in penalty kill, killing all but one penalty for a 93.8 percentage.
“If we continue to do that, we'll be in good shape,” Nelson said. “Our goal is to be in the top 10 in both categories. Usually if you do that over the course of a season, you're a playoff team.
“The strength of our team this year is we have a lot of players that can play on both the power play and the penalty kill. That gives us as a coaching staff a lot of versatility. We hope it keeps going.”
The Barons outshot Texas 19-3 in the third period, but one of the Stars' three shots resulted in a Colton Sceviour goal that tied the game with just over 15 minutes left. The Barons, though, continued to attack before Omark finally won it in overtime.
“We got stronger as the game went on,” Nelson said. “I like the direction our team is going. If we can continue to play like we did in the third period, we'll be a tough team to beat.”