Iiro Pakarinen scored the game winning goal late in the third period and Matt Ford scored two goals for the Oklahoma City Barons who defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-2 Saturday night in front of 4,061 in attendance at the Cox Convention Center. Anton Lander assisted on all three Oklahoma City goals.
With 2:19 left in the third period, Lander sent a shot from just inside the Grand Rapids zone that Griffins goalie Tom McCollum initially knocked down, but a streaking Pakarinen was able to tip the trickling puck in from point-blank range.
Trailing by a 2-0 score in the second period, the Barons comeback began with Ford's first goal of the game. Off an odd-man rush, Oklahoma City's Andrew Miller sent a shot on net that Ford rebounded and put through the legs of McCollum at 7:14 of frame. Following the goal, hundreds of stuffed toys were heaved onto the ice by those in attendance as part of the Barons' annual Teddy Bear Toss benefiting EMSA.
At 1:05 of the third period, Ford tied the game when he deflected a Brad Hunt wrist shot from the point with the Barons on the power play stemming from a tripping penalty to Grand Rapids' Nick Jensen that carried over from the 19:27 mark of the previous period.
Grand Rapids opened the game's scoring at 12:32 of the first period following a Barons turnover in their own zone that resulted in a breakaway chance for Anthony Manta, who skated in alone on Oklahoma City goalie Laurent Brossoit and flipped a wrist shot past the Barons net minder for a 1-0 Griffins lead.
Fifty-one seconds later, the Griffins extender their lead when Ryan Sproul fired a shot off a faceoff in the Oklahoma City zone that was deflected in front of the Barons net by Colin Campbell and skidded in under Brossoit.
Brossoit made 25 saves for the Barons and was perfect in the game's final 46:37.
The Barons are back in action Tuesday, Dec. 16 when they travel to Charlotte and face the Checkers in a 6 p.m. CST start at Time Warner Cable Arena.