CHICAGO — The Oklahoma City Barons had an ominous start without its “Fab Four” Sunday afternoon. The Barons recovered from a two-goal deficit and tied the game — but they lost a 6-3 American Hockey League decision to the Chicago Wolves before 6,329 fans at Allstate Arena.
Oklahoma City (18-13-4) played without Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Justin Schultz, who were to join Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in Edmonton for the beginning of training camp. News reports indicate that the NHL lockout will end this week, and the league will start an abbreviated season within the next two weeks. Eberle, Hall and Nugent-Hopkins, who just finished playing in the World Junior Championships, make up Edmonton's No. 1 forward line. Schultz, a rookie out of the University of Wisconsin, is expected to make the Oilers' opening night roster.
Josh Green and Teemu Hartikainen provided the Barons' offense Sunday against Chicago (15-11-6). Green scored in the first period and again in the second to help OKC draw within 3-2. Hartikainen, who is expected to get a look-see by Edmonton, tied the game 3-3 early in the third period. But the Barons failed to score again.
Brett Sterling, Derek Joslin and an empty-net goal from Andrew Gordon gave Chicago its third consecutive victory over Oklahoma City dating back to last season. Joslin and Gordon finished the game with two goals each; Sterling added two assists.
OKC outshot the Wolves, 46-39.
A new-look Oklahoma City team next plays 7 p.m. Friday against the Charlotte Checkers at the Cox Center.