BARONS WEEK IN REVIEW: FEBRUARY 18 - 23
By Jim Byers,
Recap of Week 20, Feb. 22-23 (2 games, 1-1-0-0)
Season record: 24-20-2-5, 4th, South Division; 12th, Western Conference
• THE WEEK PAST: The Barons wrapped up a stretch of four straight weeks featuring only 2 games, back-to-back, against the same opponent with a split of a home-and-home series with the Houston Aeros. OKC won the first game, 4-3, on Friday at the Cox Center with the help of a 3-goal second period. Jonathan Cheechoo had a goal and 2 assists for the Barons. On Saturday at the Toyota Center, the Aeros broke a 1-1 tie at 15:49 of the first period and held on for a 2-1 win. The Barons out-shot the Aeros 37-23, but Houston’s Matt Hackett made 36 saves.
• THE WEEK AHEAD: It’s back to work on Tuesday, as the Barons host the Texas Stars at 7 pm at the Cox Center. This weekend brings the Barons their first 3 games in 3 days set since Jan. 11-12-13, starting with a return matchup against the Stars at Cedar Park Center at 7 pm on Saturday. On Sunday, the Barons visit the Charlotte Checkers at Time Warner Cable Arena for the first time since Thanksgiving weekend with a 4 pm (CST) contest. The teams meet again on Monday at 6 pm Central. The Barons are 5-3-0-1 against Texas this season, but have dropped 3 straight head-to-head meetings (one in a shootout, Feb. 15 at Cedar Park Center). OKC has been shut out in all 3 regulation losses against Texas, accounting for half of the Barons’ club-record 6 shutouts this season. The Barons are 3-2-1-0 against the Checkers, including 4-2 and 7-2 victories in the previous games played at Time Warner Cable Arena Nov. 24-25.
FAST START: Despite playing only 11 games since being signed to a Professional Tryout Contract (PTO) in January, former NHL All-Star Jonathan Cheechoo is tied for 10th on the team in scoring among all players who have appeared for the Barons this season. Cheechoo has 15 points, 6 goals and 9 assists, with 13 of those points collected in his 5 home games. Cheechoo is tied for sixth among all Barons this season in home scoring with those 13 points. Dating to his first game as a Baron Jan. 23, Cheechoo is one of 6 players tied for the second-most points in the American Hockey League with 15, 2 behind Providence defenseman Torey Krug.
• HOME HAPPENINGS: The Barons bring a season-high 4-game home winning streak into Tuesday’s contest with Texas. OKC has out-scored the opposition 22-14 in its last 4 home dates. OKC’s home record is 16-8-2-1, featuring a .648 home standing point percentage that is tied for 8th-best in the league. Only 4 AHL clubs have sub-.500 point percentages at home and each is in the Eastern Conference: Hershey (.483), Adirondack (.481), Albany (.480) and St. John’s (.385). In the overall season standings, only 6 of the AHL’s 30 teams have point percentages below .500: San Antonio (.491), Bridgeport (.490), Norfolk (.481), St. John’s (.445), Hamilton (.442) and Adirondack (.441).
• GAME TIME ALERT: Sunday’s game at Charlotte has a 4 pm (CST) opening faceoff, a time change from the schedule’s original release last summer. Some printed schedules contain the original start time, but the game is set to begin at 4 pm Central and will be broadcast on KXY 96.1 FM, www.okcbarons.com and AHL Live.
• EBERLE, SCHULTZ FINALLY DISPLACED ATOP SCORING RACE: Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz were first and second in the AHL in points from the time they left the league to return to the Edmonton Oilers Jan. 6 until this past week. Schultz was overtaken for second in points (48) on Saturday night, Feb. 23. Eberle had been the goal (25) and point (51) leader entering last week, but was surpassed in goals Feb. 18 and points Feb. 24. As of Monday, Feb. 25, Schultz remains second in power play points with 25, while Eberle is third with 23. Schultz owns a 13-point lead in the defensemen scoring race. He tops Tyler Toffoli of Manchester in the rookie scoring race 48-43. Toffoli has played 17 more AHL games this season than Schultz as of the start of this week.
This week’s games (times listed as Central)
Date Opponent Time Arena Radio
February 26 Texas 7:00 pm Cox Convention Center KXY 96.1 FM
March 2 Texas 7:00 pm Cedar Park Center KXY 96.1 FM
March 3 Charlotte 4:00 pm Time Warner Cable Arena KXY 96.1 FM
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