For the first time this season, the Oklahoma City Barons won a game when trailing after two periods.
Down 3-0 midway through the second period, the Barons scored three third-period goals in a little over one minute to storm back for a 5-3 win over the San Antonio Rampage Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center.
The Barons entered the game 0-15 in games they trailed after two periods. In contrast, they've lost six games this season when leading after two periods.
“We've been playing solid hockey since Christmas with the exception of the late collapse (New Year's Eve) against Texas,” said coach Todd Nelson. “We learned from that and hopefully we can keep pushing forward.”
Oklahoma City scored two goals in the second period, then lit the lamp three times in a one-minute, 13-second span to post back-to-back wins for the first time in nearly three months.
“It started (Friday) night when we protected a lead where in the past we've sometimes collapsed,” Nelson said. “We gained a lot of confidence from that.”
Derek Nesbitt tied the game with 6:36 remaining. Just 55 seconds later, team captain Anton Lander, who arrived in Oklahoma City late Saturday afternoon after being reassigned by Edmonton, scored the go-ahead goal. Eighteen seconds, later rookie defenseman Martin Gernat scored an insurance goal.
“That's why he's our captain,” Nelson said. “He's a solid character guy. He pounced on a miscue by them and scored a beautiful goal.”
Gernat, a 20-year-old rookie defenseman from Slovakia, scored his first two professional goals. Gernat's first goal trimmed San Antonio's lead to 3-2 late in the second period. Gernat's second goal capped the three-goal barrage.
“That goal late in the second gave us some energy,” Lander said. “Nelly gave us a great speech (at the second intermission). Once we tied it up, we just wanted to keep it going, get more. The best defense is when you keep scoring.”
The Barons didn't have a shot on goal the first nine minutes but had 41 shots the final 2½ periods, including outshooting the Rampage 17-8 in the third period.
“We just have to play our game for 60 minutes,” Gernat said. “We just need to keep it simple and keep shooting everything on net. That was important. Tonight we scored two or three goals off rebounds.”
Saturday's game opened a seven-game homestand that continues Wednesday against Utica and next Friday and Saturday against Charlotte.
“This was a good start (to the homestand),” Nelson said. “The guys cranked it up the last 10 minutes and were relentless. It was great to see.”