By Jim Byers, on 03/19/2012

Recap of Week 24, March 13-18 (4 games, 3-0-0-1)
Season record: 39-17-4-5, 1st, West Division, +11; 1st, Western Conference, +8

THE WEEK PAST: The Barons earned 7 of 8 possible standing points during a 4-game week that opened with a 5-2 home win over Rockford on Tuesday. On Friday, the Barons began a set of 3 road games in 3 days by winning for the fourth time this season when trailing by 2 goals, as OKC rallied for a 4-3 win over the Texas Stars. The Barons took Saturday’s game at Texas by the same score, but on Saturday OKC was the front-runner. The Barons raced out to a 3-1 lead in the first, extended it to 4-1 and held on as Texas scored 2 power play goals in the third. On Sunday, the Barons made their final regular-season visit to Houston and never led in dropping a 2-1 shootout decision. Sunday’s game went to overtime and beyond tied 1-1. Despite OKC scoring on its first 2 shootout attempts, Houston rallied with goals by 3 of its last 5 to win a 7-round tiebreaker.

THE WEEK AHEAD: With 7 home and 4 road games remaining, the Barons are back at the Cox Center this week for their 11th of 12 sets of 3 games in 3 days. The Barons host Texas on Friday and Grand Rapids on Saturday, the both games starting at 7 pm CDT. The weekend concludes with a 4 pm game on Sunday, also against Grand Rapids. The Barons are 6-2-0-0 against Texas, with a 3-1 mark in Oklahoma City. The Barons are 3-0-0-2 against the Griffins, with a win and a shootout loss in Grand Rapids’ previous visit in October.

WESTERN NO. 1: The Barons open this week with the best record and highest standing point total in the Western Conference with 87 points. North Division-leading Toronto is second with 79 points, followed by the Midwest leader, Chicago, with 75. The Barons’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot as of March 19 is 9 points. OKC’s point total is second only to Norfolk’s 93 in the 30-team American Hockey League. The Barons’ point percentage (.669) is also second to Norfolk (.705). The Admirals, top affiliate of the Tampa bay Lightning, set a league record on Sunday for consecutive wins within one season by taking their 18th straight.

DANIS BACK ON TOP: Goaltender Yann Danis re-gained the lead in the league’s goals-against average race after Sunday’s contest at Houston, where he was charged with 1 goal in 64:30 in a 2-1 shootout loss (shootout goals do not count against a goalie’s total). Danis begins this week with a 2.03 GAA. He’s fifth in wins (22), tied for second in shutouts (5) and fifth in save percentage (.924).

TRENDS: When the Barons score at least 1 power play goal in game, they are 26-1-2-4. When a defenseman scores a goal, the Barons are 13-2-0-2. Sunday’s 2-1 shootout loss at Houston ended a stretch of 3 straight games featuring a goal by an OKC blue-liner, a run that followed 10 consecutive games without one.

PLUSES: OKC has scored 188 goals and allowed 151, a +37 differential that is tied for second in the AHL (with Toronto) behind Norfolk’s +75. The Barons’ Ryan Keller is fifth in the AHL in plus-minus at +21. Triston Grant is tied for 14th at +17. Josh Green and Mark Arcobello are part of a group tied for 20th at +15.

This week’s games (times listed as Central)
Date               Opponent     Time   Arena                                     Radio
March 23       Texas             7 pm   Cox Convention Center     KXY 96.1 FM
March 24       Grand Rapids 7 pm    Cox Convention Center     KXY 96.1 FM
March 25       Grand Rapids 4 pm    Cox Convention Center     KXY 96.1 FM

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