By Jim Byers, on 02/01/2013

Charlotte Checkers (27-14-2-3) at Oklahoma City Barons (20-18-2-4)  

Barons Game 45  |  Home Game 24 |  AHL Game 644
Feb. 1, 2013, 7 pm CST  | Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Radio: KXY 96.1 FM
AHL Media Kit:
TONIGHT: The Barons and Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) play the second of back-to-back games at the Cox Center. This is Charlotte’s final game of the regular season in OKC. The road team has won each of the previous 5 meetings this season, with the Barons winning at Charlotte Nov. 24-25 and the Checkers returning the favor at the Cox Center Jan. 11, 12 and last night on a last-minute goal, 2-1. Charlotte has the AHL’s highest point total (59), leading Texas by 1 in the South Division and Western Conference. OKC has 46 points, 9th in the conference.
OFF THE TOP: Nathan Deck scored his first AHL goal last night at 14:49 of the first period. The 22-year-old defenseman, with the Barons on a Professional Tryout Contract (PTO), has 12 career ECHL goals between this season and last for Stockton. Last night began a 4-game homestand for the Barons. Their next road game is Feb. 15. The Barons do not leave Oklahoma or Texas until visiting Charlotte March 3-4. OKC went 3-8-1-1 in January, the team’s first losing month since March 2011 and only its third out of 18 in club history. Magnus Paajarvi was returned on loan by Edmonton yesterday when Anton Lander was recalled.
SPECIAL JERSEYS TONIGHT: The Barons will wear one-of-a-kind jerseys tonight adorned with a Special Olympics logo. The jerseys will be available for bids during a live auction immediately following the game. For the third straight season, the Barons have partnered with Special Olympics Oklahoma in a program called Barons Buddies. Each Barons player adopts a Special Olympics athlete for the duration of the season. The team and athlete meet on three occasions during the season to form a permanent bond. Last season, the Barons and Special Olympics created memories for 20 athletes and their families and raised more than $25,000 in the process via the team wearing and auctioning one-of-a-kind jerseys.
DOUBLE UP: This week begins a pattern where the Barons play 4 consecutive 2-game weeks, each time facing the same opponent back-to-back. After Charlotte visits this week, Grand Rapids is here Feb. 8-9. OKC travels to Cedar Park Feb. 15-16 to take on the Texas Stars, then the Barons and Houston Aeros meet in a home-and-home set Feb. 22-23, with the first game in OKC and the rematch at the Toyota Center. February is OKC’s lightest full month of the season, as the Barons skate in 8 games. 
BARONS-CHECKERS: OKC is 5-6-1-1 against Charlotte in 2 seasons of head-to-head matchups. The teams did face each other in 2010-11, when Charlotte was in the Eastern Conference. At the Cox Center, OKC is 1-5-1-0 all-time against Charlotte, the lone win a 30-save shutout by Yann Danis 1-0 on Nov. 11, 2011. Gilbert Brule scored the game’s only goal off Justin Peters 3:44 into the contest.
SHOT CHART: In 10 games since the departure to the NHL of (at the time) OKC’s top 3 scorers Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz and Taylor Hall, the Barons have out-shot the opposition 362-290. The Barons have out-shot the opposition in 6 of those 10 games by a total margin of 72 shots to draw them even for the campaign on shots for and against at 1,355 each. The Checkers out-shot the Barons last night 29-24, marking the Barons’ lowest shot output since a Jan. 11 loss to Charlotte when they also registered 24 shots.
NEW NETMINDER: Goaltender Niko Hovinen dressed as the backup last night for the first time since being claimed on waivers by the Edmonton Oilers Jan. 25 from Philadelphia and assigned to OKC. Hovinen, a 6-7, 200-pound native of Helsinki, Finland has spent this season, his first in North America, with Trenton of the ECHL, going 4-6-3 with a 3.14 goals-against average and .889 save percentage. His last game with Trenton was Jan. 11. Hovinen has spent parts of 6 seasons in Finland’s top pro league, the SM-liiga.
ARCOBELLO HELPS WEST TO ALL-STAR WIN: Barons center Mark Arcobello, a starter for Monday’s 2013 Dunkin’ Donuts AHL All-Star Classic, recorded 3 assists in the Western Conference’s 7-6 win over the East in Providence, R.I. Arcobello’s third assist set up the winning goal by Toronto’s Ryan Hamilton with 11.2 seconds remaining in regulation, capping a hat trick for Hamilton.
Last 5 Games:
Date        Opp.     Result    OKC Goalie (GA,SV) Opp. Goalie               Attn. 
Jan. 19    SA         W, 2-1      Roy (1, 24)                   Markstrom (2, 34)         4,208
Jan. 23    @ GR    SOL, 4-5  Roy (4, 33)                   Mrazek (4, 33)              5,531
Jan. 25    @ Mil     L, 2-8       Roy (L) / Bunz              Smith (2, 44)                13,011
Jan. 26    @ Rfd    W, 4-3      Roy (3, 33)                   Hutton (4, 27)               4,388
Jan. 31    Cha       L, 1-2       Roy (2, 27)                   Peters (1, 23)               3,142 
Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.                Site                            Time     Broadcast
Feb. 8    Grand Rapids   Cox Center                 7:00      KXY 96.1 FM
Feb. 9    Grand Rapids   Cox Center                 7:00      KXY 96.1 FM
Feb. 15  Texas               Cedar Park Center      7:30      KXY 96.1 FM
Feb. 16  Texas               Cedar Park Center      7:00      KXY 96.1 FM

Feb. 22  Houston           Cox Center                 7:00      KXY 96.1 FM   

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