Similar to Game 1, the only time the Oklahoma City Barons trailed Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center was when the Texas Stars celebrated a game-winning overtime goal.
The Barons were on the brink of tying the best-of-five series before American Hockey League MVP Travis Morin scored late in regulation to tie it. The Stars won 3-2 on Brendan Ranford’s goal with 4:56 left in the sudden-death extra period.
“Give them credit. They’re tenacious,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “They threw the puck at the net and all of a sudden it’s chaos. We had a couple of guys out there that were tired, a little overextended.”
Morin, who scored both of Texas’ regulation goals, tied the game 2-2 with 39.8 seconds left after the Stars pulled goaltender Jack Campbell to insert an extra skater. Morin also had the key assist on Ranford’s game-winner
Posting back-to-back overtime wins in Oklahoma City, the Stars own a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. The series shifts to the Cedar Park Center for Game 3 Wednesday night. If necessary, Game 4 would be played Friday night, Game 5 Saturday night.
The Barons owned a 2-0 lead in Game 1 on Wednesday night but lost 3-2 in overtime.
“If you start doing the thinking game about how we could be up 2-0 instead of down 2-0 you don’t need that in our minds,” said defenseman Brad Hunt. “We have to learn from this, go to Texas and get three in their barn."
This 3-2 overtime loss was even more disheartening since they were less than a minute away from tying the series.
Like in Game 1, the Barons grabbed the early lead when Roman Horak scored on a breakaway early in the first period on an assist from team captain Anton Lander.
The Stars answered with a power play goal in the waning seconds of the second period from Morin with 17.2 seconds left in the period.
The Barons were viewed as a dangerous No. 8 seed because several AHL tested veterans were re-assigned to Oklahoma City after the NHL season ended two weeks ago, but it was a kid that put the Barons up 2-1 in the third period.
Jujhar Khaira, a 19-year-old center who joined the Barons late in the season after finishing his junior career, scored with 8:03 left in regulation to give Oklahoma City a 2-1 lead.