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Oklahoma City Barons: OKC hoping for a repeat of the conference semifinals

In their semifinal series against the top-seeded Texas Stars, the Barons split two tight games in Cedar Park, Texas, then won all three home games to win the series in five games. They're hoping that happens again in the conference finals.
BY MIKE BALDWIN Published: May 26, 2013
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photo - CELEBRATION: The Barons celebrate a first-period goal by Teemu Hartikainen (10) as Charlotte's Riley Nash (20) skates by during Game 1 of the AHL hockey playoff series between the Oklahoma City Barons and the Charlotte Checkers at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Friday, April 26, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
CELEBRATION: The Barons celebrate a first-period goal by Teemu Hartikainen (10) as Charlotte's Riley Nash (20) skates by during Game 1 of the AHL hockey playoff series between the Oklahoma City Barons and the Charlotte Checkers at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Friday, April 26, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Teemu Hartikainen, who had two goals in Saturday's game, including a game-clinching empty-netter, has 13 points in the playoffs.

“This is my 10th year playing professionally,” said defenseman Garrett Stafford. “I can honestly say I have never been on a team with this much talent up front. This is the best scoring team I've ever been on.”

Offense is essential. But the primary reason the Barons have a viable shot to win this series, and reach the Calder Cup finals, is Yann Danis. The 31-year-old veteran goaltender has been a wall between the pipes.

Since returning from Edmonton in mid-March, playing nearly every game the final month of the regular season and all dozen playoff games, Danis is 18-6-3 with a 1.95 goals against average and .929 saves percentage the past two months.

“He's been excellent, very consistent,” Nelson said. “Every once in a while there's been a blemish but he's playing with a lot of confidence. When your goalie plays like he's playing it gives the entire team confidence.”

The Barons kept a four-month streak alive Saturday night. Oklahoma City hasn't lost back-to-back games in regulation since mid-January.

“It's been a lot of fun,” said veteran Jonathan Cheechoo, who has eight playoff points. “It's always more fun when you're winning. We have a wave of momentum. Hopefully that bodes well for us heading forward. If we keep playing the way we've been playing we'll have a pretty good shot.”


WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

(OKC Barons vs. Grand Rapids Griffins)

(series tied 1-1)

Game 1 — Grand Rapids 2, Oklahoma City 1

Game 2 — Oklahoma City 4, Grand Rapids 2

Game 3 Wednesday: Cox Convention Center, 7 p.m.

Game 4 Friday: Cox Convention Center, 7 p.m.

Game 5 Saturday: Cox Convention Center, 7 p.m.

Game 6 — x-June 4: at Grand Rapids, 6 p.m.

Game 7 — x-June 5: at Grand Rapids, 6 p.m.

x-if necessary

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