The Oklahoma City Barons' play was a complete turnaround. After suffering one of the most lopsided losses in the franchise's four-year history Friday night, the Barons responded with a 4-2 win over the Chicago Wolves Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center.
“That was probably our best game of the season for a full 60 minutes playing the system,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “We had a lot of secondary effort and did a great job with the forecheck. It was a really solid game.”
The Barons lost 6-0 Friday night but never trailed in the rematch.
Matthew Ford scored his fourth goal of the season to give OKC a 1-0 lead. The Wolves tied it on Ty Rattie's power play goal, but the Barons took command with two goals in the early stages of the third period.
The go-ahead goal after the game was credited to Kale Kessy on a play defenseman Brandon Davidson kept alive inside the blue line. Derek Nesbitt's fourth goal of the season made it 3-1 with 16:42 remaining.
The Wolves clawed to within 3-2 on their second power-play goal of the night, but OKC re-established control when Linus Omark scored on a penalty shot with 13:13 left.
“It was a great team victory,” said Brad Hunt, who appeared to score his first goal of the season that was later changed to Kessy. “We played the right way. We played the way they played yesterday. They have a heck of a team. We really battled.”
The shots were even 33-33.
“We saw what happens when we don't work hard,” Hunt said. “They have a really good team. We talked about that (Saturday) morning, how we needed to play really hard or it would be another shellacking. This was great to see. Now everyone can start buying into all the systems.”
Starting back-to-back games on back-to-back nights for the first time since last year's ECHL Double-A playoffs, goaltender Olivier Roy recorded 31 saves after being replaced Friday night after two periods with OKC trailing 5-0.
“The guys did a great job tonight letting me see the puck. That makes my job a lot easier,” Roy said. “It's great after going through a tough one like we had (Friday) that you don't have to wait a week to get back at it. We put that game behind us and got a lot better result.”
The Barons have been unable to put a streak together the first month of the American Hockey League season but are 5-6-1 despite constant roster changes.
“I was really proud of all the guys,” Nelson said. “They really stepped up their game. Whatever we're missing on paper compared to Chicago our guys made it up with heart. That's what I'm most proud of.
“Our guys played their hearts out. We're going to have to do that to compete at this level. Until we get some players back from injury or sent down (from Edmonton) this is the way we're going to have to play.”