Team captain Anton Lander scored two “lucky-bounce” goals but it wasn't enough for the Oklahoma City Barons to match the franchise-record winning streak.
Lander's late goal forced overtime, but the Lake Erie Monsters escaped with a 5-4 shootout win Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center, ending the Barons' six-game winning streak.
Scoring his team-leading 15th and 16th goals of the season, Lander tied the game it with 3:36 remaining when his shot deflected in off a Lake Erie defenseman's skate. Lander also scored 30 seconds into the game when his shot caromed off a stick and floated over Monsters goalie Sami Aittokallio's shoulder.
“I think that last one deflected off several things, a skate and a stick,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “Now we're getting a few bounces go our way. At the end of the year it usually evens out. We just happened to go through it early in the season.”
The game was tied 2-2 before the Monsters took control with third-period goals by Garrett Meuers and Brad Malone. Brad Hunt and Lander got it tied with goals the final six minutes.
“We're playing the right way,” Hunt said. “When you do that it seems bounces start to go your way. We just need to continue to build off this. We'd like to have won but we still got a (standings) point. We just have to get back on the train and keep going and make a push for the playoffs.”
The Barons were attempting to tie the 2011-12 team's seven-game winning streak, but the Monsters scored three times in the shootout while Roman Horak was the only OKC player to light the lamp in the shootout.
It continued a franchise trend. The Barons are 1-6 in shootouts this season, 15-29 all-time.
“This was a weird game,” Lander said. “We had a great push there at the end and came back. We've got to figure out the shootouts.”
After starting 5-5 in shootouts their first season, the Barons have lost 24 of their last 34 shootouts.
“We've never been over .500 in shootouts in any of the four seasons,” Nelson said. “I guess that's a trait of the Barons. Hopefully that changes in the future.”
The Barons, 8-2-1 the past month, salvaged a standings point by overcoming a 4-2 deficit late in the game.
Involved in all four Barons goals with a goal and three assists, Hunt got the Barons within striking range on OKC's third power-play goal with 5:33 remaining.
“We can take a lot of positives out of this game,” Nelson said. “We played a lot better than we did (Friday) night. Both teams elevated their play. The intensity was a lot higher. It was a fantastic game to watch.”