But, it sure feels like the Oklahoma City Barons and Texas Stars are going to square off this evening in another edition of a rivalry that spanned from 2010 to 2015, and featured a pair of playoff series.
When the Barons moved to Bakersfield this summer they took everything with them. Much of the players that defined the rivalry games — the Brad Hunts and Andrew Millers of the world — will play for Bakersfield tonight. And subtle reminders of the past where floating around as the Barons logo and name are still imprinted on a handful of the Condors’ bags.
May be the Bakersfield Condors. But still feels like OKC Barons are visiting CPC. pic.twitter.com/cKORAeyhMr
— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) October 30, 2015
“It’s the same team,” Justin Dowling said. “Overall, when you look at the team they look the same … they where always a battle. They are only six hours away when they were in Oklahoma. Every game seemed to be close no matter where were in the standings.”
Stars-Barons game were also physical affairs. Expect the same thing tonight.
“For us it’s a matter of just playing our game,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “Staying fast and sticking to our game plan.”
So far that’s worked for Texas. The Stars lead the league with 33 goals this season and are averaging 4.12 per game.
Oklahoma City, er, Bakersfield, hasn’t found it’s offensive since moving to California. The Condors are 2-3-1 and are averaging 2.66 goals per game, and both victories have come courtesy of shutouts by Laurent Brossoit.
Bakersfield offensive firepower also took a bit of hit this week when Leon Draisaitl was recalled by the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
For Texas, there are a couple lineups changes from Tuesday’s game with the Milwaukee Admirals.
Cole Ully is back in the lineup and will skate on the fourth line with Cory Kane and Branden Troock. On defense Brennan Evans will come out of the lineup and Mattias Backman will step in on a pairing iwth Jesse Blacker.
Maxime Lagace will start in goal and will face a somewhat familiar opponent.
Last season Lagace played 13 games for Bakersfield in it’s final ECHL season. That was where Lagace turned around his rookie season.
He posted 6-4-1 record and .915 save percentage for the Condors. That success led directly to his performance in Stars training camp and his play with Texas this season.
“I loved to play there last year,” Lagace said. “It’s going to be fun. Obviously, it’s going to be special a little bit.”
Remi Elie-Travis Morin-Brendan Ranford
Jason Dickinson-Devin Shore-Matej Stransky
Derek Hulak-Justin Dowling-Greg Rallo
Cole Ully-Cory Kane-Branden Troock
Esa Lindell-Stephen Johns
Ludwig Bystrom-Julius Honka
Mattias Backman-Jesse Blacker