With the series tied at 1 game apiece, the Oklahoma City Barons and San Antonio Rampage headed to the AT&T Center in San Antonio for games 3, 4, and 5 this week. The week started with Game 3 on Monday and the Barons wasting no time getting their first goal. A little over a minute into the game, Anton Lander gave Oklahoma City an early 1-0 lead. That score would hold until midway through the third period when Chris VandeVelde took a slashing penalty for the Barons, allowing James Wright to net his third goal of the playoffs to tie the game at 1. This goal would be the Rampage’s sixth power play goal of the series. Just like game two, this game would need extra game to be decided. With about 4 minutes remaining in the first overtime period, VandeVelde got the puck past Jacob Markström to win the game 2-1 for the Barons, and giving them a 2-1 series lead.
Thursday night, all eyes were on San Antonio as the Barons and Rampage played the only professional hockey game in North America. Both goalies were able to turn away all shots for the first 50 minutes of play. Finally halfway through the third, Hunter Tremblay got the first goal of the game for Oklahoma City. With 5 minutes left to tie the game up, Mike Caruso shot the puck from the blue line which was given some help from Bracken Kearns and Bill Thomas to find its way behind Barons goaltender Yann Danis. The two teams headed to over time once again, but in this game only 65 extra seconds would be needed. Chris VandeVelde was able to slip the puck over a sprawled out Markström to give the Barons the 2-1 win and a 3-1 series lead.
The two teams would only have to wait a day to take the ice for the fifth and possibly final game of the series. The teams were scoreless for all but the last four seconds of the first period of the tilt when Oklahoma City took a 1-0 lead. Midway through the second, the Barons added to their lead to make it 2-0, with both goals coming on the power play. At the end of the second, the Rampage’s power play found the back of the net again, with Michal Repik scoring his first goal of the post season to cut the Barons lead in half. When the third period started, Oklahoma City regained their two goal lead then proceeded to lose it moments later. Scoring his first goal of the playoffs, Scott Timmins got the puck past Danis to bring the Rampage within one goal of tying the game. 22 seconds later, Mark Cullen would score for the Rampage to tie the game. The score would remain tied at 3 until late in the third. A goaltender interference penalty was assessed to Michal Repik and Ryan Keller was able to score his second goal of the night while the Barons had the man advantage. Oklahoma City would go on to win the game 4-3 and the series 4-1.
The Rampage fought hard to the end, and although it would have been nice to see them go further, the team and fans should be extremely proud of the way they played from the first game of the season up until the final buzzer. As defender Mike Caruso said they were “Team Adversity” — they always kept going at 110% and never gave up, no matter what, until the end.