Barons roll into Western Conference Finals
|Game 5 |
With some unfinished business ahead of them, the Oklahoma City Barons are moving on to the Western Conference Finals for the second straight spring.
The Barons snuffed out the Texas Stars on Thursday night, completing an impressive five-game series victory with a 5-1 decision at the Cox Convention Center.
Oklahoma City, seeded fifth in the West, eliminated the top-seeded Stars by winning the last three games of the series by a combined score of 16-4 after Texas had allowed a total of eight goals in its first six playoff games. Last year, the Barons owned the No. 1 seed in the conference but fell short of the Calder Cup Finals, losing in the third round to Toronto.
After scoring the final five goals of Game 4, Oklahoma City scored the first five goals of Game 5, beginning with Teemu Hartikainen's shot off the short-side post and in past Cristopher Nilstorp at 17:21 of the first period.
Taylor Fedun, the trailer on a 4-on-2 Barons rush, took a feed from Mark Arcobello at 1:36 of the second period and scored to make it 2-0.
The lead went to 3-0 at 9:16 when C.J. Stretch scored for the third consecutive game, driving to the net and deflecting home a centering pass from Toni Rajala.
Former Stars forward Garrett Stafford scored off a point shot on the power play 1:24 into the third period, extending the Barons' lead to 4-0.
Arcobello then scored his sixth goal of the series and league-leading ninth of the postseason, wristing a 30-footer past Nilstorp at 12:02 of the third. Arcobello, who also had two assists in Game 5, is tied for the AHL scoring lead with 15 playoff points.
Justin Dowling foiled Yann Danis's shutout bid -- and a streak of 10 consecutive goals by the Barons -- with a power-play goal with 2:57 left in the game.
Danis (7-3) finished with 33 saves on 34 shots, picking up his sixth win in his last seven starts.
Nilstorp (4-5) made 29 saves in the loss.
Oklahoma City will face either Grand Rapids or Toronto in the Western Conference Finals.
Western Conference Semifinal – Series “K” (best-of-7)
1-Texas Stars vs. 5-Oklahoma City Barons
Game 1 – Thu., May 9 – Oklahoma City 2, TEXAS 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sat., May 11 – TEXAS 2, Oklahoma City 1
Game 3 – Mon., May 13 – OKLAHOMA CITY 4, Texas 0
Game 4 – Wed., May 15 – OKLAHOMA CITY 7, Texas 3
Game 5 – Thu., May 16 – OKLAHOMA CITY 5, Texas 1