Barons fans got an early glimpse of some young players who could be playing in Oklahoma City next season.
Having clinched a playoff berth Friday night, coach Todd Nelson rested many of his top players Saturday night. Several kids who recently completed college or junior hockey got significant ice time in a 3-2 shootout win over Iowa in front of 4,837 fans at the Cox Convention Center.
“Because of the pressure we’ve been under to try to make the playoffs it was good to get these guys into a game,” said Barons general manager Bill Scott. “This helps us evaluate them and we can give them some tips on different things they may need to work during the offseason.”
Five young players that played in Saturday’s game are under AHL or NHL contracts for next season, which means there’s a decent chance they could be playing for the Barons in 2013-14.
In his pro debut, 20-year-old Canadian Joshua Winquist scored the game-winner. Winquist was the third Baron to score in the shootout after veterans Jack Combs and C.J. Stretch had scored earlier in the shootout.
“I was pretty nervous going into the game,” Winquist said. “It was really cool they put me out there for the shootout. Being from there in Edmonton all my buddies are diehard Oilers fans. They’ll get a big kick out of this. It’s very exciting for me heading into the summer.”
Goaltender Frans Tuohimaa, under an NHL two-way contract, made his professional debut. A 22-year-old rookie from Finland, Tuohimaa notched 38 saves in his North America debut.
“Once he got settled in, Frans played a very strong game,” Nelson said. “There were times he really got tested. We had some big penalty kills in the second period when Frans made some big saves.”