It had been some time since the Oklahoma City Barons had last won a hockey game but on this night the crew of Edmonton Oilers were too much for the San Antonio Rampage to handle. Taylor Hall scored the eventual game winner, while Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and Justin Schultz also lit the lamp, in the Barons 5-1 victory. The win not only snapped OKC's losing streak but marked only their second win in five tries against the last place Rampage.
With his club seemingly finding any way imaginable to lose games of late, head coach Todd Nelson decided to break up the Jordan Eberle - Taylor Hall duo and at least for one night, it paid immediate dividends.
Eberle would notch his fifteenth of the season, just past the midway point of period one, after stripping defenceman Michael Caruso at the San Antonio blueline and beating Jacob Markstrom high to the glove side. The goal not only gave the Barons the early lead but pulled the former Regina Pats standout into a tie for top spot in the American Hockey League goal scoring race with Syracuse Crunch forward Tyler Johnson.
Less than two minutes later, the lead would be doubled, courtesy of of nifty little finish from Hall. The former NHL first overall selection drove hard to the Rampage net, before going five-hole, for his seventh of the campaign. In his sixteen games since joining his Edmonton Oilers teammates in Oklahoma City, Hall has registered twenty points, moving him into a tie for third in team scoring, with centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Colten Teubert would bang home a loose puck, after joining Chris VandeVelde on the rush and within a span of just over seven minutes, a scoreless game had turned in to a 3-0 OKC advantage. They could not have asked for a better opening twenty minutes, now it was just a matter of whether they could actually hold onto a lead.
After Jon Sim had made it a 3-1 game, sliding home his first of the season between the wickets on Yann Danis, after an awful giveaway from Teubert at the Barons blueline, the AHL's leading scorer would restore the three goal bulge, before the period was out.
Markstrom stopped Mark Arcobello's initial shot on a two-on-one break but the talented rearguard was in the right spot at the right time, trailing the play and picking up the big rebound and snapping home his twelfth of the year. Twenty-four games into his pro career and Schultz continues to lead all AHL skaters with thirty-five points, three better than Eberle.
With this one all but over San Antonio decided to turn things into a bit of a street brawl in the third, as the two sides combined for seventy-two minutes of penalties in the period. The Barons would add one more before the final buzzer, as Magnus Paajarvi beat Dov Grumet-Morris for just his fourth of the season, making it a 5-1 final.
With the win, the Barons improve to 12-9-1-2 on the season and will be looking to make it two in a row on Saturday night, as they take on the Rampage one more time and hope to even up their season series.