The Barons are hopeful the power-play/goaltender combination that produced a 2-1 win against San Antonio on Tuesday night at the Cox Convention Center is one they can use to make another playoff run.
Goalie Richard Bachman stopped 33 of 34 shots. Both OKC goals were scored with the man advantage.
“This kind of game reaffirms we’re doing the right things,” said defenseman Taylor Fedun. “Even though we lost four games in a row, we were right there against the top two teams in our conference. To get this win, it lets us know we’re still on the right track.”
With 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Barons are tied with Charlotte for ninth place in the Western Conference, both one point behind Rochester, which currently owns the final playoff spot. OKC trails seventh-place Rockford by two points.
Bachman, a 26-year-old veteran with 35 games of NHL experience, has been in net for 25 of the Barons’ past 28 games dating back to Jan. 11, but was given a game off last weekend.
“I think it refreshed me, which will help going down the stretch,” Bachman said. “It’s not so much physical as much as mental. It was nice to get a mental break. But during this stretch, we’ve won a lot of games. It didn’t matter to me how tired I was as long as we were winning.”
Since mid-January, Bachman is 15-6-2, but he dropped three games during a recent four-game losing streak against Grand Rapids and Texas.
“That one night off I think was really beneficial for him,” said coach Todd Nelson. “He looked really good tonight. He was controlled and stopped goals in traffic. The only time they beat him he didn’t have a chance on a backdoor play.”
Bachman most likely will play all but one or two games the remainder of the season.
“He’s the backbone of our team,” said Will Acton, who scored the Barons’ second goal. “He has stood on his head a ton. When a team has belief in their goalie, you can see it in everyone’s game. No one worries about making a mistake, knowing he has our back.”
The Barons are playing without several key forwards who helped them get back in the playoff race.
Team captain Anton Lander and veteran Tyler Pitlick are with the Edmonton Oilers. All-time franchise scoring leader Mark Arcobello and current scoring leader Roman Horak have been sidelined the past three games with undisclosed injuries.
The difference Tuesday night was OKC was 2-of-4 on the power-play.
“We don’t have the firepower we did before when we were on those winning streaks,” Nelson said. “I thought Bachs was really good and then we capitalized on the power play.
“This is pretty much the way we’ll have to continue to play until we get some guys back. Who knows what will happen. Maybe we’ll get some help from (Edmonton). Right now we’re moving forward with the group we have. They worked really hard tonight to get a quality win.”