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Barons Advance To Western Conference Finals

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The Oklahoma City Barons advanced to the Western Conference Finals by way of a 5-1 win over the Texas Stars at the Cox Convention Center. Five different players scored and Yann Danis earned his seventh win of the playoffs.

Teemu Hartikainen got things started for Oklahoma City when he scored his first goal of the series at the 17:21 mark of the first period. Toni Rajala held the puck near the left-wing boards and found Hartikainen inside the left-wing faceoff dot. Teemu snapped a shot toward Stars goalie Christopher Nilstorp that caught part of his arm, but worked its way over the goal line.

The Barons extended their lead to two goals early in the second period. Mark Arcobello led a 4-on-3 rush up ice, feathering a pass into the slot from the left-wing circle to defenseman Taylor Fedun who joined the rush. Fedun made a move from forehand to backhand and flipped it over Nilstorp.

As Texas began to press, the Barons were able to take advantage of another opportunity. Late in a shift, Rajala found C.J. Stretch streaking toward the net. Rajala's pass found Stretch's stick to give the Barons a three-goal lead.

Oklahoma City started the third period with a one-man advantage and added some insurance. Brandon Davidson and Garrett Stafford exchanged passes near the blue line. Stafford rifled the puck toward the goal past a screened Nilstorp to increase the lead to 4-0.

If there was any doubt, Mark Arcobello erased it when he posted his ninth goal of the playoffs at the 12:02 mark of the third period.

The Stars broke the shutout bid of Danis with a power-play goal with just under three minutes left to play in the game.

Goaltender Yann Danis was solid in net for Oklahoma City, stopping 33 of the 34 shots he saw for his seventh win of the postseason.

The win advances the Barons to the Western Conference Finals for the second consecutive season. They will play the winner of the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toronto Marlies series. Regardless of opponent, the Barons will open the Western Conference Finals on the road.

Oklahoma City hosts Games 3, 4 and 5 if necessary at the Cox Convention Center. Game 3 would be Wednesday, May 29, Game 4 is scheduled for Friday, May 31 and Game 5 if necessary would be played Saturday, June 1. Faceoff for games in Oklahoma City is 7 p.m.

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