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Charlotte Tops Barons

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The Oklahoma City Barons finished off their opening weekend with another 3-2 loss to the Charlotte Checkers at the Cox Convention Center. Aaron Palushaj scored the game-winning goal at the 14:40 mark in the third period. Mike Murphy earned the victory for the Checkers, stopping 22 of the 24 shots he faced. Richard Bachman made 23 saves in the losing effort.

Charlotte again took an early lead on a power-play goal by Mark Flood. The puck came to the right point and Flood fired a perfectly placed slap shot over Bachman's right shoulder. Following the goal, the Barons picked up their physical play in an attempt to get the momentum back.

At the 10:24 mark in the first period Kale Kessy had a big hit behind the Checkers' net. Following the hit, Checkers' defenseman Keegan Lowe and Kessy dropped the gloves. About six minutes later, Erick Lizon and Nicolas Blanchard squared up after a neutral zone face off.

In the second period the Barons came out and got some momentum early, but an offensive zone turnover near the blue line led to a breakaway for Zach Boychuk. The Checkers' forward faked a shot, slid the puck to his backhand and lifted it over Bachman to give the Checkers a 2-0 lead.

The second period ended with 2:59 left on a high-sticking double minor to Taylor Fedun, but to begin the third Tyler Pitlick scored on a shot just under the cross bar and over the glove of Murphy. The shorthanded goal gave the Barons momentum and they continued to create chances, but Murphy had the answer.

Charlotte took a 3-1 lead on the goal by Palushaj, but with just two minutes remaining Ryan Martindale scored a power-play goal to bring the game back within one.

The Barons pulled Bachman for the extra attacker, but were never able to get the tying goal. Philip Larsen was called for slashing with 31 seconds left and the Checkers were able to hold onto the puck to run out the time.

The Barons hit the road in search of their first win of the season next weekend with a pair of games against the Iowa Wild.

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