HOUSTON — The Oklahoma City Barons flexed their muscle and then some against the Houston Aeros in Game 1 of a first-round American Hockey League Western Conference playoff series.
Oklahoma City took more shots in the first period than the Aeros took in the whole game, and then poured on the scoring in the second period en route to a 5-0 dismantling of Houston on Thursday night in front of 3,158 fans at Toyota Center.
“It was a good win for us” Oklahoma City coach Todd Nelson said. “The guys worked hard for us. They executed the game plan well. We wanted to keep things simple, and they did that for the most part. I liked the way our guys played, but it was only one game. We need three wins to win this first round.”
Hunter Tremblay had a goal and assist, Mark Arcobello dished two assists and goaltender Yann Danis needed to make just 14 saves for the shutout as the Barons took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-5 series. Game 2 is 7:35 p.m. Friday at Toyota Center. The Barons will return to the Cox Center at 7 p.m. Sunday for Game 3. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, will also be at the Cox Center.
“You keep going and keep shooting and one of them is going to bounce in,” Tremblay said. “They all kind of seemed to come within a 10-15 minute period for us. It was kind of nice.”
The Barons dominated Houston throughout, outshooting the Aeros 19-3 in the opening 20 minutes and just missing a goal on an Alex Plante shot that hit off the right post in the opening minutes.
Oklahoma City finally cashed, grabbing a 1-0 lead at 13:25 in the first period on a goal by Tyler Pitlick. He rebounded Tremblay’s shot just inside the right circle and flipped it past Houston goalie Matt Hackett.