CEDAR PARK, Texas — The Oklahoma City Barons spent a lot of time killing penalties Wednesday night — and during the series for that matter — against the Texas Stars in the first round of the American Hockey League playoffs.
And the end result was not good for Oklahoma City. The Barons’ season came to an end with a 4-2 loss to the Stars in Game 3 before 4,786 fans at the Cedar Park Center. Texas swept the best-of-5 series, winning twice in overtime in Games 1 and 2 in Oklahoma City.
Barons coach Todd Nelson didn’t mince words when discussing the referees constantly calling penalties against his squad saying: “We had situations where we got called, and there were situations where they didn’t and that’s how it goes sometimes.”
The Barons, who rolled up 20 penalty minutes to Texas’ 6 Wednesday night, recovered from a 2-0 deficit to tie on goals from Anton Lander and Brad Hunt. But Texas took the lead for good at the 11:21 mark of the third period, when Justin Dowling buried a shot behind Oklahoma City goaltender Richard Bachman.
The Stars had a two-man advantage when Dowling scored his first goal of the postseason.
“The penalties were a big portion of where they were getting their shots,” said Bachman, who faced 34 shots.
Scott Glennie added an empty-net goal with a minute remaining. Oklahoma City had pulled Bachman for an extra attacker.
Texas, which had the AHL’s best regular season record, had a 1-0 lead after the first period on a goal from Brendan Ranford. The Stars took a 2-0 advantage on Chris Mueller’s breakaway goal. Lander followed later in the period with a short-handed score.
“Every goal is big in the playoffs” Lander said. “Especially if you get one while on the penalty kill. But it doesn’t matter right now ...it’s still disappointing.”
Oklahoma City, which was six games under .500 at one point this season, finished 36-29-11 and qualified for the playoffs’ No. 8 seed after a second-half run. Oklahoma City had made the Western Conference finals the previous two seasons under Nelson, but it appeared doubtful the Barons would even make the postseason thanks to injuries and an incredible 152 player transactions with the parent Edmonton Oilers.