CHARLOTTE, NC – Because of the NHL work stoppage the Oklahoma City Barons have a very strong line-up this season, it showed Saturday night against the Checkers when the visitors came away with the victory. Jordan Eberle, an NHL All-Star, with two goals did most of the damage for the Barons.
It was Charlotte that went ahead in the second period after a goalless first when Zac Dalpe jumped on a rebound from a Justin Faulk shot. Eberle tied the game for Oklahoma from an assist by Justin Schultz. Then with 28 seconds left in the second period Zach Boychuk drove the puck into the roof of the City Barons net, 2-1 Charlotte. Yann Danis, in the Oklahoma goal and AHL goalie of the year in 2011/12, made big saves from Dalpe and Boychuk.
The third period saw Jordan Eberle tie the game after 1.25 minutes, when he cleverly beat Rasmus Rissanen before sliding the puck past Peters in the Charlotte goal. A first round pick in 2008, Eberle lead the Edmonton Oilers last season with 76 points.
The Checkers came back strongly and were unlucky when they hit the City Baron’s post twice. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the 2011 first round draft pick scored the winning goal on an assist from Taylor Hall, who was the first pick in the 2010 draft. Colten Teubert, another first round draft pick scored on an empty net in the final minute of the game.
Although Charlotte suffered the defeat, they realize that Oklahoma are an extremely strong team but the Checkers can play with this opposition. There is a good reason Charlotte were sitting at the top of the AHL going into this game, it will be interesting to see if the Checkers learned anything from Saturday’s game when they face Oklahoma again on Sunday afternoon, face-off 3.00PM.
Eddie.Mitchell@ProHockeyNews.com Follow us on Twitter @prohockeynews