Barons goaltender Richard Bachman was on the brink of his first shutout in two years when the Abbotsford Heat showed why teams pull their goalie the final minute for an extra skater.
Paul Byron poked in a loose puck with 38 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, and Abbotsford won 2-1 in a shootout Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center on a night both goalies played well.
“Overall I thought we played a pretty good game,” Bachman said. “You never want to give up a goal that late in a game. I wanted to make that save. You really can't fault our D-men. They blocked the shot. It got lost at their feet and they just whacked it in.”
Although he's been an NHL backup the past two seasons, Bachman said Saturday's game was his first shootout in two years. Abbotsford's first two skaters both scored. Derek Nesbitt was the only one of five OKC shooters to light the lamp in the shootout.
Still, Saturday's game was indicative of Bachman's start this season. His overall stats are solid: A 1.99 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.
“That's not bad,” quipped Barons coach Todd Nelson. “He was great again tonight. He made some great saves when we had some breakdowns. He gave us a chance. I'm just disappointed we couldn't get that shutout for him. That's hockey.”
Bachman's last shutout was with the Dallas Stars against the New York Rangers in December of 2011 at Madison Square Garden. That season, he also had three shutouts with the Texas Stars in the AHL.
Because Edmonton's two veteran goalies have struggled, there are rumblings the Oilers might consider promoting Bachman to essentially compete with 33-year-old veteran backup Jason LaBarbera (3.21 GAA, .871 save percentage).
“You hear things here and there. It's on TV every once in a while,” Bachman said. “But I've heard a lot of rumors over the past five years. Until your phone rings, or something truly happens, you can't pay any attention to it.”
Joel Broda barely beat the second-period buzzer to give the Barons a 1-0 lead. Broda's goal with two-tenths of a second left in the middle period was the game's only goal until Byron scored after Abbotsford pulled goaltender Reto Berra with 50 seconds left.
“We had some great chances in overtime and couldn't capitalize,” Nelson said. “Tonight our power play let us down (0-for-6). We really had some good chances throughout the game. Again, I'd like to see us shoot the puck more.”