Before Sunday’s game at the Cox Convention Center, defenseman Brandon Davidson had scored two goals in 94 career games with the Oklahoma City Barons.
He matched that on Sunday.
Davidson scored the tying goal, and then supplied a dramatic game-winner with 35 seconds left to lift the Barons to a 6-5 American Hockey League win over San Antonio.
“Things just kind of happened for me,” Davidson said. “I’ve been trying to shoot the puck more. Today, I was just shooting the puck and it somehow went in.”
The paid attendance was announced at 2,567, but an estimated crowd of 500 braved icy roads to witness one of the wildest games of the season.
The Barons (26-24-7) took a 3-0 lead midway through the first period, but San Antonio (24-24-8) answered with five consecutive goals to lead 5-3 early in the third period.
Twenty-six seconds after Travis Ewanyk scored to give the Barons hope, Davidson’s first goal in a year tied the game with 8:30 remaining. Davidson then won it with a shot from the point.
“The way we’ve been playing, I felt we would come back strong, but I didn’t know it would be me,” Davidson said. “This is huge trying to get on a run to get into the playoffs.”
Davidson, 22, last season was sidelined for three months to undergo treatment for testicular cancer. This season, he was stronger but struggled at times during the first half of the year.
“I want to shoot the puck and be more of a scorer like I was in juniors,” Davidson said. “The key for me is to be strong defensively, but I feel there’s an offensive side that can contribute as well. To get two in one game is definitely something I’ll always remember.”
Barons coach Todd Nelson said the five unanswered San Antonio goals could be traced to playing three games in three days — all Oklahoma City victories.
“We were a tired team,” Nelson said. “We didn’t have much gas left in the tank, but we found a way to get it done. The guys played with a lot of heart and desire.”
Bolstered by Mark Arcobello, the AHL’s leading scorer the past month (19 points in nine games), the Barons are 7-0-1 their past eight home games and are 10-2-1 overall since Jan. 30.
By winning three high-scoring games over the weekend, the Barons are back in the playoff race.
With six weeks left in the regular season, Oklahoma City is three standings points behind Milwaukee, currently in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Oklahoma City has reached the Western Conference finals the past two seasons.
“We knew this could be our season in a nutshell,” Nelson said. “If we lost all three we knew the playoffs probably wouldn’t be very realistic. Taking care of business at home puts us in position. Now we just need to keep the momentum going.”