Ryan Martindale scored his first American Hockey League goal Friday night.
Martindale's second AHL goal was a dramatic game-winner that lifted the Barons to a 2-1 win over San Antonio in front of 4,208 fans Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center.
“It was awesome, whatever you can do to help the team win,” Martindale said. “Everyone has been getting a lot of chances. It's nice to get one at the end and get a nice bounce.”
Martindale's goal with 1:09 remaining helped the Barons end a five-game losing streak. In the last three losses, Oklahoma City significantly outshot its opponent.
“When that goal went in, everyone on the bench lifted off their feet,” said coach Todd Nelson. “It was like the world was lifted off us. I'm proud of the guys. They put four good games together. We finally broke through tonight.”
Martindale's line scored both goals. Dane Byers, who scored the first goal, screened San Antonio goaltender Jacob Markstrom on Martindale's game-winner, a 40-foot slap shot.
“I think our line brings a little bit of everything, some sandpaper and some skill,” Byers said. “It's a good combination.”
Martindale made the Barons' opening day roster but was sidelined a month after tearing the meniscus in his right knee in early November. He played five games with Stockton in the ECHL before returning to Oklahoma City.
A third-round pick three years ago, taken 61st overall, Martindale is one of several players that will get more ice time with Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Teemu Hartikainen and Magnus Paajarvi in Edmonton.
“This is a big confidence boost for Marty,” Nelson said. “Hopefully he can keep rising. The last couple of games he's played really well for us.”
For the second straight game, a textbook Tyler Pitlick corner pass produced a highlight-reel goal. Pitlick set up Byers for his third goal of the season with 7:08 left in the first period.
“It was great effort by Marty on the forecheck to get the turnover and then Pitter found Byers back door,” Nelson said. “It was just a good hockey goal.
“Marty also had a chance in the first period and didn't shoot. We talked about it: ‘Marty, you can beat this guy. You have a good enough shot.' He got the opportunity again late and it went in.”
OKC once again outshot its opponent (36-25) but needed goaltender Olivier Roy to make 24 saves.
With starting goaltender Yann Danis called up to Edmonton three days ago, Roy played in back-to-back games for the first time all season.
“You're more confident the more you play,” Roy said. “It's a great feeling to play the second game in a row. I don't know how long Yann will be up there but I'm going to enjoy it while I can.”
San Antonio tied the game 1-1 late in the second period on Andre Deveaux's goal. The Barons once again had more scoring opportunities. The previous three games, all losses, they outshot opponents 119-60.
“When you're on a losing streak the next game you win is never easy,” Nelson said. “It's not a 5-0 or 5-1 win. It's always a tight game. Hopefully this gives us confidence heading into this (three-game) road trip.”