“The younger guys are going to learn a lot from Clark and Jonesy,” Cheechoo said. “They move the puck pretty quickly. They solidify the blue line for us. They make the easy play to move it up to the forwards. That's stuff you have to learn, know where the puck is going before it comes to you.”
It appeared the veterans' contribution would allow the Barons to cruise to a win, but they had to sweat out the final 69 seconds.
Leading 4-2, Antti Tyrvainen couldn't coral a bouncing puck that would have produced an empty-net goal and a 5-2 cushion.
Less than a minute later, the Aeros clawed to within 4-3 on David McIntyre's second goal of the game with 1:09 left.
“I was disappointed giving up that goal, but was I upset with the whole third period,” Nelson said. “That's the third time here at home Houston has scored three goals in the third period. That's unacceptable and the team heard about it.”
Nelson was pleased with the first two periods when OKC outshot the Aeros 26-17, but Houston outshot the Barons 9-4 in the third period.
“The disappointing thing is it's more mental than anything,” Nelson said. “We've got to be stronger mentally. We knew Houston would make a push, but we have to be mature enough to push back.”