The Barons’ only lead Friday night at the Cox Convention Center was the only time it mattered.
Tyler Pitlick’s goal 46 seconds into the extra period lifted Oklahoma City to a 5-4 overtime win over the Rockford IceHogs in an American Hockey League game before a crowd of 3,853.
With the win, Oklahoma City is riding a season-high six-game, regulation “unbeaten” streak at home. The Barons’ only home loss in February was a shootout setback to Lake Erie two weeks ago.
“This was a huge win to be trailing the entire game and find a way to get it done,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson after his club improved to 24-24-7 on the season. “Rockford has been the hottest team in the league. This will give our team a huge boost of confidence.”
Pitlick scored the game-winner on a one-timer off an overtime draw. But Matthew Ford factored in all four regulation goals to help force the extra period. Ford set up Ben Eager’s game-tying goal with 2:46 left in regulation.
“Ben has so much speed,” Ford said. “He came down and almost used their own defenseman as a screen. I don’t think (Rockford goaltender Jason) LaBarbera ever saw it.”
Nelson said the tying goal was an example that good things happen when you fire shots instead of looking for the perfect pass.
“He backed off the defenseman and gave our other guys time to get to the net,” Nelson said. “With trailers coming late, we instruct them to throw the puck at the net. That’s what Benny did. He has a heavy shot. It was a huge goal for us.”
The IceHogs owned 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3 leads, but Oklahoma City stayed within striking range.