Oklahoma City Barons: Rookie defenseman Justin Schultz leads Barons past San Antonio

The former University of Wisconsin star scores two goals and assists on another as 6,323 watches OKC rout Rampage at Cox Center. Oklahoma City hosts Lake Erie at 7 p.m. Saturday.
by Michael Baldwin Published: October 19, 2012
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photo - Oklahoma City's Justin Schultz (5) celebrates after scoring a goal during a game between the Oklahoma City Barons and the San Antonio Rampage at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Friday, Oct. 19, 2012.  Photo by Garett Fisbeck, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Justin Schultz (5) celebrates after scoring a goal during a game between the Oklahoma City Barons and the San Antonio Rampage at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. Photo by Garett Fisbeck, The Oklahoman

It's only three games into the season, but no NHL defenseman averaged a point a game last season. Schultz has five points (three goals and two assists). It would be difficult to maintain that pace, but he's showcased his unique offensive skills the first week.

“You can see he's a special player,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “His pass to Hartikainen was a big-league pass. That's all fine, but I was happy with his defensive game. He had a good stick, he was in good position and had good reads. It was an outstanding effort.”

Oklahoma City outshot San Antonio 16-2 in the second period, but the game was tied 2-2 before Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle got untracked after going scoreless in two games last weekend in Cleveland.

Nugent-Hopkins recorded two assists, the first a pass to Schultz that led to the Hartikainen goal. Nugent-Hopkins' second assist was from his knees behind the net that set up Eberle in the crease for a 4-2 lead late in the second period.

“Anytime you get your first one it feels good,” Eberle said. “It's good to see that we kind of finished them off. That's going to be a big key for us going into third periods. It was a good effort tonight.”

Early in his pro debut, Schultz is showing he should fit in well with the Oilers' other young stars.

“The points are coming, but (in the AHL) defensively guys are stronger, faster and tougher for us to control them,” Schultz said. “It may look like it's easy for me, but it's definitely a challenge every night.”


by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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