Late heroics help Barons to win

Magnus Paajarvi scored with 9.2 seconds left in regulation and set up Josh Green‘s winner in overtime as the Oklahoma City Barons defeated the San Antonio Rampage, 5-4, Saturday evening at the Cox Convention Center.

The Rampage scored three power-play goals but the Barons put offensive pressure on San Antonio late in regulation and into the overtime period to tie the best-of-seven series Western Conference semifinal at 1-1.

Chris VandeVelde put Oklahoma City up 1-0 at 8:31 of the opening period. VandeVelde’s first goal of the playoffs came as a rebound off Dylan Yeo’s shot trickled low and VandeVelde put the puck high over Jacob Markstrom to give the Barons the lead.

Bill Thomas evened the score at 1-1 late in the period at 19:18 on the power play. With one second remaining with the man advantage, Thomas put the puck past a fallen Yann Danis on a centering pass from Michal Repik. The Barons led in shots 13-5 after the first period.

The Rampage took a 2-1 lead at the 2:59 mark of the second period as Mark Cullen beat Danis low glove side just 12 seconds into San Antonio’s third power play of the night. Ryan Keller had an opportunity to tie the game at 11:01 of the second period when he was awarded a penalty shot. Markstrom made the save to hold San Antonio’s 2-1 advantage.

Mark Arcobello scored at 11:47 to tie the game at 2-2 after Bryan Rodney sent a shot through the crease and Arcobello put a backhanded shot up past Markstrom. Oklahoma City regained the lead at 13:37 as Teemu Hartikainen put a shot up high on Markstrom off a centering pass from Green.

Both teams put seven shots on goal in the frame as Oklahoma City led in the category 20-12 at the second intermission.

The Rampage scored a third power play goal at 10:16 of the third period as Evan Barlow put a shot past a screened Danis to tie the game at 3-3. Thomas’ second goal of the game at 15:31 gave San Antonio a 4-3 lead. It was the Rampage’s first even strength goal of the night.

Paajarvi had a shot hit off the post with just over a minute remaining in the game, but got a second chance to tie the game with 9.2 seconds remaining and didn’t fail as his shot from the right circle streaked past Markstrom to force overtime. The power-play goal led to the first playoff overtime game in franchise history.

Paajarvi factored into the game-winning goal as his shot got by Markstrom but Green was there to bank home the rebound and give the Barons the 5-4 win at 11:40 of the first overtime. It was Green’s team-leading fourth goal of the playoffs. Oklahoma City outshot the Rampage 8-2 in the overtime period.

The best-of-seven series moves to San Antonio for the next three games. Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal is set for Monday (8:00 ET, AHL Live) at the AT&T Center.