BARONS WEEK IN REVIEW: MARCH 11-17
By Jim Byers,
Recap of Week 23, March 11-17 (1 game, 1-0-0-0)
Season record: 29-22-2-6, 66 points, 4th, South Division; T-9th, Western Conference
• THE WEEK PAST: The Barons played just 1 game last week, a 3-2 shootout win at San Antonio on Wednesday. The 1-game week followed a period where the Barons opened their March schedule with 6 games in 9 nights from March 2-10, a span that included games in 2 time zones and 4 cities, one of which was OKC. On Wednesday at San Antonio, the Barons overcame a 2-0 deficit late in the second period with a goal byTaylor Fedun, followed by a Toni Rajalatally early in the third to force OT and a shootout, which the Barons won 3 goals to 1. OKC has overcome a 2-goal deficit twice this season against San Antonio to win 3-2 in a shootout, the other time being Dec. 28 at the Cox Center. Wednesday’s game, which saw the Barons win when trailing 2-1 after 2 periods, improved OKC’s record to 5-13-1-1 when behind at the second intermission. OKC shares, with multiple clubs, the third-most wins when trailing after 2 behind Worcester (6) and Rockford (9).
• THE WEEK AHEAD: After going 5 days without playing, the Barons return to home ice on Tuesday against the Rochester Americans, top affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, in a 7 pm game at the Cox Center. It’s the first of 2 meetings between the teams this season. Last season, OKC won both games at Rochester in regulation, Jan. 19-20 by 5-2 and 4-2 margins, but dropped shootout and overtime decisions at OKC Dec. 27-28 by 4-3 scores. On Friday, the Barons host the Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild) at 7 pm. OKC is 2-1-0-1 against Houston at the Cox Center this season and 2-4-0-3 overall against their South Division rival. On Saturday, the playing week ends with a one-game trip to San Antonio for a 7 pm meeting with the Rampage (Florida Panthers). OKC is 7-4-0-0 against San Antonio this season, with a 2-3-0-0 mark at the AT&T Center.
• PLAYOFF PICTURE: Eight teams from each conference qualify for the Calder Cup playoffs: the 3 division winners plus the next 5 best teams in order of standing points. The Western Conference race, particularly for spots 5-8, is wide open with 5 weeks remaining in the regular season. Entering this week, 4 points separate 7 teams from No. 5 Houston to No. 11 Rockford. Houston has 70 points, 2 more than No. 6 Rochester (68). Chicago and Abbotsford share seventh in terms of points with 67. The Barons are tied for 9th in the conference with 66 points, joined by Milwaukee and Rockford. OKC is ahead of Milwaukee and Rockford in standing point percentage. The Barons have played fewer games to this point in the season than all Western Conference teams except Chicago, which has also completed 59 games. OKC has 17 games remaining, 8 at home and 9 on the road, with 10 of those against the teams immediately above them in the standings (Rochester, Chicago, Abbotsford, Houston).
• PIVOTAL PERFORMANCES: Mark Arcobello saw a franchise record-equaling 4-game goal streak end on Wednesday, but he secured an assist for a 5-game point streak.Toni Rajala has a 6-game point streak (2G, 6A), the longest of his rookie AHL season. Rajala had points in 13 straight as a member of the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL earlier this season. Philippe Cornet has 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 21 games since rejoining the Barons from ECHL Stockton for a second time this season on Jan. 12.Jonathan Cheechoo has 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists) in 19 games with the Barons since joining the team Jan. 23. After amassing his first 20 points in 7 multi-point games, Cheechoo finally had a one-point game on Wednesday at San Antonio with an assist.
• SHOOTOUT SNIPPETS: OKC improved its record in shootouts this season to 4-6 with the win in San Antonio on Wednesday. The Barons had a season-best 3 goals in the shootout, connecting on 3 of 4 attempts against Dov Grumet-Morris. Josh Greenupped his record to 3-for-4 in shootouts this season by leading off with a goal. All of Green’s attempts this season have been as the first shooter in the opening round.
• ROSTER SHUFFLE: Defenseman Brett Clark was released from his AHL contract on Wednesday when he secured an NHL pact from the Minnesota Wild, an agreed-upon stipulation of his signing in January with the Barons. Clark had 1 goal, 16 assists and a +7 rating in 18 Barons games. Center Anton Lander was activated from Edmonton’s IR on March 12 and loaned to the Barons. Goaltender Yann Danis was returned on loan to OKC March 13 for his third AHL stint of the season. Olivier Roy was reassigned to Stockton to make room for Danis. Veteran winger Ben Eager, a member of the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup championship team, cleared waivers and was assigned to the Barons March 15.
• BROADCAST NOTE: The radio location for Saturday’s broadcast from San Antonio was undetermined as of Monday morning because of Oklahoma State’s participation in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Barons’ game will air on either flagship KXY 96. FM or AM 1340 The Game, depending on the Cowboys’ status in the tournament and its potential game time on Saturday. All Barons games are available online at www.okcbarons.com or ahllive.com.
This week’s games (times listed as Central)
Date Opponent Time Arena Radio
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