The Oklahoma City Barons took advantage of their power plays Monday night and took a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference Semifinals with a 4-0 victory over the Texas Stars at Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
After a scoreless first period, Oklahoma City scored twice in the second to take a 2-0 lead. The first one came just two seconds after the Barons’ first power play of the night expired. Toni Rajala beat a screened Texas goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp with a shot from the high slot at 5:26 of the second.
The Stars had a couple of chances to tie. Brett Ritchie came close, but the puck was swept away from the goal line by a Barons defender. Justin Dowling hit a crossbar.
The Barons made it 2-0 by cashing in on their second power play of the game. Anton Lander scored from the left circle off the rush at 12:28 of the second.
The Barons extended their lead to 3-0 early in the third. Andrew Hotham sent a pass from the right boards to Mark Arcobello, who beat Nilstorp with a shot from the slot at the 4:37 mark.
Less than two minutes later the Stars went on a four minute power play when Barons defenseman Garrett Stafford took a double minor for high sticking, but they were unable to cash in.
Texas coach Willie Desjardins juggled his forward lines in the third period looking for a spark, but the Stars couldn’t find a way to get a puck past Barons goaltender Yann Danis, who stopped all 30 shots he faced in the game.
The Stars pulled Nilstorp for an extra attacker with 4:18 left when they went on another power play, but again they couldn’t take advantage.
Oklahoma City’s C.J. Stretch scored into the empty net with 14 seconds left to make it a 4-0 final score.
Game 4 of the series is Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.
*Monday’s game marked the first time in seven playoff starts that Texas goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp has allowed more than two goals. Nilstorp stopped 27 of 30 shots in the game.
*Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and right wing Brett Ritchie led Texas with three shots apiece.
*Stars forwards Francis Wathier and Luke Gazdic collided with each other in the Texas zone with 8:27 left in the game. Wathier was attended to on the ice for several minutes, but did return to play. Gazdic appeared OK and remained on the bench for the rest of the game.