Friday, December 28, 2012
Barons hold off Stars, as Hall registers first AHL hat-trick
Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall was the star of the show on Thursday night, scoring three of Oklahoma City's five goals, as the Barons edged the Texas Stars by a score of 5-4. Centre Mark Arcobello chipped in with four helpers and the American Hockey League's co-leading scorers, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz, each picked up another two points and remain tied atop the scoring race, with forty-two points apiece.
OKC jumped out to an early lead in this one, as Eberle scored his league leading twentieth of the season, with the Barons on the man advantage. The Oilers sniper took a lovely feed from Schultz and calmly waited, before beating Texas starter Jack Campbell for his fifth power play marker on the year.
They would extend the lead before the period was out, as Hall one-timed a rocket past Campbell, on you guessed it...another power play, to make it 2-0. The goal was the former first overall pick's tenth of the season and sixth on the man advantage, as he continues to morph into an all out trigge-rman on the power play.
To the Stars credit, they would fight back to even things up with second period goals from Jamie Oleksiak and Colton Sceviour but Teemu Hartikainen would restore the lead, just over a minute later, beating Campbell on the glove side, for his ninth of the campaign.
After missing part of the previous season due to injury and a late season call-up to the Oilers, the feisty Finn has now registered fifty-two points in his last eighty games in a Barons uniform, making it almost impossible for Edmonton to keep him off their NHL roster...if and when the National Hockey League ever gets back onto the ice.
Texas would draw even in the third, courtesy of Antoine Roussel's power play marker at the 5:39 mark and suddenly the game was their for the taking. Fortunately for OKC, Hall turned it up a notch and put this one to bed.
Just as he did late in the first, Hall would bury another cross ice feed from Arcobello, for second of evening and league leading seventh on the power play, putting the Barons back in front for the third time on the night. Just under two minutes later, he would make it a two goal bulge, as the "dynamic duo" teamed up yet again.
The Barons diminutive centre sprang Hall for a clear-cut breakaway, with a beautiful lead pass, and the talented winger made no mistake, beating Campbell for the third time on just four shots, with a nifty little deke, to make it 5-3.
The Stars would cut the lead back down to one but that was a s close as they would get, falling to Oklahoma City for the second straight time. The two points pull the Barons to within a single point of Texas for second place in the South Division and leaves them just five points back of the first place Charlotte Checkers.
After having the previous four days off for what amounted to a brief Christmas break, the Barons will be playing their second game in as many nights, as the play host to the San Antonio Rampage on Friday night. They will closeout 2012 against these same Texas Stars on New Year's Eve, as the two sides face-off for the fourth time in eleven days.