Barons fourth line center Tanner House was carted off the ice on a stretcher in the second period and transported to the hospital following a hit by Grand Rapids forward Triston Grant, who played for the Barons last season. House was knocked unconscious.
Oklahoma City coach Todd Nelson said it's uncertain when House might return. Nelson added it didn't look like a clean play on tape, but “we'll let the league deal with it themselves. That's what they do. Whatever happens happens.”
Ben Eager, who scored the Barons' first goal, immediately went after Grant. Both players were given fighting penalties. Eager was given a game misconduct for abuse of officials. After the second period ended, officials told Barons team captain Josh Green it was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit.
“I didn't see it, but I've never seen anyone get knocked out cold with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit,” Eager said. “That's why I was frustrated with the ref. He's looking at it and someone is out cold on the ice. That's usually not a shoulder-to-shoulder hit.”
With House and Eager missing more than half the game the Barons essentially played the final 33 minutes with only three forward lines. Antti Tyrvainen was the only forward remaining from the fourth line.
$50,000 DONATED TO TORNADO VICTIMS
Granted an exemption from the American Hockey League and Professional Hockey Players' Association, $50,000 from Wednesday's game was donated to the United Way Disaster Relief fund.
A crowd of 2,320 donated more than $16,000, which was matched by Express family of companies, owned by the Funk family, including Barons' owner Bob Funk Jr. The Funk family raised the final total to $50,000.
During pregame ceremonies, Barons officials honored first responders from the recent tornadoes and lit 26 candles at center ice to honor the 26 people that lost their lives.
SYRACUSE LEADS EASTERN FINALS
If the Barons win the best-of-7 Western Conference final, they will play in the AHL finals against the winner of Syracuse-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Syracuse added an empty goal for a 2-0 win Wednesday night in Game 3 to lead the Eastern Finals series 2-1.
If Syracuse wins the series, and the Barons advance, the AHL finals would start with Games 1 and 2 in Syracuse.
If the Penguins win the series, and the Barons advance, the AHL finals would start with Games 1 and 2 in OKC.
OIL SPILLS ...
Both teams' penalty killing units have been near perfect in the series. The Barons are 1-of-11 on the power play, Grand Rapids' 0-of-9. ... Taylor Fedun had a goal waved off early for a high stick shot off a rebound. ... Similar to the regular season on Friday night, Game 4 will be $1 hot dogs and $2 beers.
BY MIKE BALDWIN