The Oklahoma City Barons home opener Friday is against the San Antonio Rampage, an opponent that is developing a rivalry with the Barons.
The two teams split eight regular season games last season but OKC won a second round playoff series, four games to one to advance to the Western Conference finals.
“We expect a tough game, for sure,” said Barons captain Josh Green. “It’s probably fresh in their minds, the defeat from last year. They’re going to be hungry to come in and get two points. We have to match that hunger and make sure we come out with a lot of enthusiasm, feed off our fans and hopefully get the win.”
Coach Todd Nelson said San Antonio’s methodical style forces teams to play with patience and discipline.
“It’s pretty important to get off on the right foot at home,” Nelson said. “We want to make it tough for teams to come in and play against us. Playing on the road is tough as it is. The last few years we’ve had good road records but we want to make sure we establish ourselves at home so when teams come in here they know it’s going to be a battle.”
Friday’s game is the first of a seven-game homestand.
“It’s always fun to play in front of your fans,” said goaltender Yann Danis. “You always want to do well, especially at home. Hopefully we’ll get a good crowd and that will get us going, for sure.”