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Barons win opener in quadruple OT

Curtis Hamilton corralled a loose puck and scored 16 seconds into the fourth overtime period to give Oklahoma City a 2-1 win over Utica to open their Western Conference semifinal series at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Thursday night.

The Barons and Comets head right back at it with Game 2 of the best-of-seven series going Friday night at 7 p.m. ET.

On the opening shift of the seventh period, a Utica clearing attempt hit the skate of Jason Williams and bounced to Hamilton in the left slot, where he turned and snapped a shot past Jacob Markstrom to end the sixth-longest game in the American Hockey League’s 79-year history.

Before the game-winner came at 12:14 a.m. ET, the teams played more than 96 minutes of scoreless hockey. Richard Bachman (3-0) made 56 saves on 57 shots for the Barons, stopping all 50 shots he faced from the second period on. Markstrom (3-3) finished with 65 saves for the Comets.

Utica struck first at 17:10 of the opening period, when defenseman Kent Huskins snuck in from the point, took a pass from Darren Archibald between the hashmarks and fired a shot past Bachman. It was Huskins’ first postseason goal since 2006 when he played for the Portland Pirates.

Oklahoma City tied it at 4:13 of the second as Kellen Jones took a lead pass from Matthew Ford, slipped behind the Comets defense and deposited his second goal of the playoffs behind Markstrom.

Both goaltenders was outstanding throughout, with each team having numerous opportunities to win the game – including a combined five power plays in overtime.

The win was the Barons’ third in overtime already this postseason after they set an AHL record with 14 OT victories in the regular season.

The Comets fell to 2-2 in overtime this postseason, with Markstrom going to OT for the ninth time in 14 career AHL playoff starts.

Western Conference Semifinals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
1-Utica Comets vs. 6-Oklahoma City Barons

Game 1 – Thu., May 7 – Oklahoma City 2, UTICA 1 (4OT)
Game 2 – Fri., May 8 – Oklahoma City at Utica, 7:00
Game 3 – Mon., May 11 – Utica at Oklahoma City, 8:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 13 – Utica at Oklahoma City, 8:00
*Game 5 – Thu., May 14 – Utica at Oklahoma City, 8:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 18 – Oklahoma City at Utica, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 20 – Oklahoma City at Utica, 7:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern