It was a weekend that could only be defined as "weird," and that's exactly how Barons head coach Todd Nelson described it on Barons Weekly last night (6pm Mondays on 1340 The Game). Both Friday's and Saturday's games against the Houston Aeros had a similar ending, and at the end of a three-in-three weekend, the Barons were gassed when they made it to San Antonio to face the Rampage. Yann Danis started in net for Friday and Saturday, with Olivier Roy in on Sunday.
Friday night was the much-anticipated Barons debut of Taylor Hall, who was officially signed to an American Hockey League contract last week, and he made it count. Thirty-eight seconds into the game and on his first shift, Hall tipped in a shot for his first career AHL goal and a 1-0 lead. One minute later, Jordan Eberle added his name to the goal column after receiving a great pass from Mark Arcobello and he made it 2-0 just 1:26 into the game. After a power play chance for both teams, the period ended with the 2-0 score. There were only two penalties in the 2nd period, and they happened on the same play, giving no power play time to either team in the period. The only scoring came late when Teemu Hartikainen scored with another assist from Arcobello and one from Teigan Zahn as well to make it 3-0 heading into the 2nd intermission.
The 3rd period is where the wheels came off for the Barons. At 3:46, Mikael Granlund scored his fourth of the season from David McIntyre and Bryan Connelly. Thirty-eight seconds later, Johan Larsson made it a one-goal game from Charlie Coyle and Grandlund. Finally, at the 10:53 mark, Houston completed the comeback as Coyle scored from Connelly and Kris Foucault. The Barons came back three minutes later as Jordan Eberle put the Barons back in the lead from Arcobello's third assist of the game and Justin Schultz to keep his point-scoring streak alive, and the Barons escaped with the 4-3 win. A minute after the Eberle goal, Taylor Hall had a good run on Jonas Brodin as the two chased after a puck in the corner and Hall made the check, earning him a Match Penalty for a check to the head and automatically suspending him until a league review. After the league reviewed the play, they concluded that it was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, and Hall's match penalty was rescinded, making him eligible to play again.
Saturday night, it was quick scoring once again with Hall out of the lineup. No scoring was made in the 1st, but fifty-seven seconds into the 2nd, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins started it off with assists from Justin Schultz and Eberle, and that was the only scoring in the period. Starting out the 3rd period, Eberle gained a breakaway right off the faceoff, and scored ten seconds into the period to make it 2-0. Five minutes later, it was Eberle again scoring his second of the night on the power play to make it a 3-0 game. Just like the night before, the wheels came off again, and the Aeros fought back in the span of two and a half minutes. First McIntyre at 9:44, then Chay Genoway at 11:35, and Joel Broda at 12:28 to make it a 3-3 game.
The Barons weren't able to score like the night before, and the game headed to a scoreless overtime and then to a shootout. Zack Phillips and Justin Fontaine scored for the Aeros in the shootout, while Eberle, Schultz, Nugent-Hopkins, and Magnus Paajarvi were all stopped, and the Aeros earned the 4-3 shootout win.
After an overnight bus trip, the Barons had an afternoon game against San Antonio on Sunday and you could tell the team was gassed. Rather than stick to having Jordan Eberle sit out on Sunday, Todd Nelson opted to have him in the line-up with Nugent-Hopkins and Hall. It was a pretty boring game, and the scoresheet showed it. Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins were held without a shot, while Hall had three. Colten Teubert led the team with six shots. Despite still outshooting the Rampage, Alex Petrovic and Colby Robak scored seperate power plays while the Barons went 0-for-5 in the game, and they were shutout in the game, losing 2-0.
It was a three point out of a possible six weekend, and the Barons look to regroup for a weekend set in Abbotsford against the Calgary Flames affiliate. The Barons also signed center Eric Hunter to an American Hockey League contract today, but he remains with the Stockton Thunder. In the event of an injury or the lockout ending, it keeps Hunter's AHL rights with the Barons, rather than allowing him to be signed by another AHL team.