The next stop for the Toronto Marlies on the trek to the Calder Cup was the Oklahoma City Barons. The Barons are the Edmonton farm team, who after drafting first overall the last two years, should be pretty good. Fortunately for Toronto, the only name I recognize on the team is Magnus Paajarvi who played on the NHL club for awhile; a lot of the top prospects for Edmonton are actually playing int he NHL (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall).
I bought tickets for game 5, which was the most convenient as it was on a Friday evening. It is possible that the game wouldn’t happen, if one of the teams swept the series, but fortunately both teams won at least one game and I didn’t get a refund. Even more fortunately, the Marlies were up 3-1 in the series and could close out the conference finals at home.
I also wanted to get tickets near the middle of the arena. Being at the end boards is exciting, but you can’t really see the play down the ice. This time, I got tickets right behind the penalty box (actually, when I got there, I was kind of disappointed because I expected to be on the home/visitor bench side).
Even though these seats are harder to get (“best available” sells these first), I don’t think it was an improvement. It’s not as exciting (there aren’t that enough hits or water bottle slams) and it’s actually difficult to see the play along the near boards. You also end up looking through two panes of glass. You do get kind of close to the players:
Now on to the game – the Marlies started strong scoring a PP goal early in the game. The first half of the first period was exciting with lots of end-to-end rushes. I guess the players started getting a bit tired and slowed the pace down in the last half of the first and second period. OKC tied it up at the end of second on a bad luck scramble play.
The Marlies got the go-ahead after Gysbers scored on a shot from the point which I think the Edmonton goalie should have had (although I’m not going to complain) – he wasn’t screened and it wasn’t tipped. Frattin added his second goal of the night with an empty netter where he slid into the goal and then promptly removed himself from the game.
This was the conference final which means that the Marlies and their next opponent will be playing for the Calder Cup. Norfolk has apparently been very good this year (well OKC was better than the Marlies as well), but hopefully we can win it all.