BY RYAN ABER
Desperation had long set in for the Barons in the closing moments of regulation Saturday against Abbotsford.
The Barons needed some kind of break to get past Heat goaltender Leland Irving.
With less than 20 seconds remaining, they got it.
Colten Teubert scored with 17 seconds left, then Brad Moran scored in overtime to lift the Barons to a 2-1 win in front of 4,669 at the Cox Center.
“It’s a big win for us,” Teemu Hartikainen said. “This whole group together pulled this one out. It felt like we’d won a championship out there with the way the fans reacted.
“We needed that.”
It was the Barons fifth overtime win of the season but first at home. It came on the same night they played without leading scorer Alexandre Giroux for the first time this season. Giroux was recalled to Edmonton earlier in the day.
“It was great to be able to go out to center ice and salute our fans after winning one like that,” Matt Marquardt said. “In a game like this, you get that late goal and it deflates the other team and we got the momentum and took control.”
The Barons controlled things for most of the third period but Irving was up to the challenge.
Irving stopped the Barons’ first 17 shots of overtime before the 18th, a blast from Teubert that deflected in off an Abbotsford player past Irving to tie the game.
“I don’t know what happened,” Teubert said. “It was crazy. It’s a credit to our team. They paid the price in front of the net. It was a great team effort tonight.”
Just moments before Teubert’s goal, a sprawling Martin Gerber had kept the Heat from taking a two-goal lead with a series of saves.
In overtime, Hartikainen worked the puck down low before getting a shot off Irving’s pad bounced to Moran on the side of the net where the 31-year-old from Abbotsford put it home to send the Barons to the win.
“I’m proud of the guys with the way we won that one,” Barons coach Todd Nelson said. “We kind of changed things up a bit and went with the guys who were performing well and they stuck with it, didn’t quit and they got the job done.”
Going into the third period, Nelson adjusted lines and shortened his lineup, electing to send the newly formed line of Moran, Hartikainen and Colin McDonald out for every other shift in the third.
The decision paid off as the Barons dominated play in the third before finally breaking through on Teubert’s goal.
“It’s a huge win,” Nelson said. “It’s a good character builder. It was a total team effort.”
The Barons return to action Tuesday at home against Manitoba.