Earlier this season the Oklahoma City Barons appeared in serious jeopardy of missing the American Hockey League playoffs for the first time in their four-year history.
With two months left in the regular season, the Barons are still slightly below the playoff cutoff line, but they are back in the Western Conference chase after they posted their sixth consecutive win Friday night, a dramatic 2-1 win over Lake Erie.
Anton Lander, the Barons team captain and leading scorer, beat Lake Erie goaltender Sami Aittokallio from 40-feet with 19.8 seconds left off a pass from Brad Hunt. The Barons were on the power play after Lake Erie's Karl Stollery was called for hooking with 2:03 left in the game.
“I was going for a one-timer,” Lander said. “I was just trying to put the puck on net. Maybe this time I got lucky. It was a big win.”
The Barons (22-22-6) can match the franchise's longest winning streak with another victory Saturday night over Lake Erie (20-24-4) at the Cox Center. The Barons won seven in a row two years ago.
“If you go back to earlier in the year, a couple of bounces cost us a few games,” said Oklahoma City goaltender Richard Bachman. “We're now playing a full 60 minutes, playing the game the right way. Now those kind of bounces are going our way. For it to continue, we have to work hard.”
It also was Bachman's sixth consecutive win. He stopped 39 of 40 shots to improve to 14-12-3.
“When we won (four) games on that road trip, we gave Richard a lot of goal support,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “On the road, he made key stops when we needed him. Tonight, he was spectacular.”
Bachman spent the past two seasons as the Dallas Stars backup goalie. After starting this season in Oklahoma City, Bachman spent three weeks with Edmonton before he was sidelined by a groin injury. He's been back with the Barons the past two months.
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