By Jim Byers, on 10/11/2013

Oklahoma City Barons (0-2-0-0) at Iowa Wild (season debut)   
Barons Game 3  |  Road Game  1 |  AHL Game 34
Oct. 12, 2013, 7:05 pm CDT  | Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, IA
Radio: KXY 96.1 FM,
AHL Media Kit Link:

The Barons take to the road for the first time during the regular season to be the first opponent for the Iowa Wild (Minnesota Wild) in the opener of a 2-game set at Wells Fargo Arena. The last AHL game played in Des Moines was April 11, 2009, when the Iowa Chops dropped a 5-3 decision to the Quad City Flames at Wells Fargo Arena in the final games for both franchises. OKC opened this season by dropping a pair of home games to Charlotte on Friday and Saturday by 3-2 scores. The teams meet again tomorrow at 4:05 pm CDT.  

While the Iowa Wild are new, the Barons have an extensive history with the franchise from its time as the Houston Aeros, a former division opponent. In OKC’s 3 seasons in the AHL, the Barons are 12-11-1-6 in the regular season against the Minnesota Wild’s affiliate. The Barons and Aeros also met in the opening round of the 2012 Calder Cup playoffs, with OKC prevailing in the best-of-5 series, 3-1. Each season has been tilted one team’s way. Houston won 9 of 10 meetings in 2010-11, the Barons took 7 of 8 in 2011-12 (dropping only a shootout), while the Aeros took 8 of 12 last season. OKC has not faced a team coached by Kurt Kleinendorst.

The Barons and Wild meet 4 times this season at opposite ends of the schedule. While OKC is the opponent for the return of professional hockey to Des Moines this weekend, the teams don’t meet again until closing weekend of the regular season, April 18-19, in each club’s regular season finale at the Cox Center. Barons goaltender Richard Bachman has a career record against Iowa/Houston of 4-10-1 with 1 shutout, a 3.06 GAA and .895 save percentage, all with his former team, the Texas Stars. Olivier Roy lost his only previous career start against the Wild’s top affiliate, Nov. 30, 2012 at Houston in a 4-3 final, stopping 23 of 27 shots. Neither Johan Gustafsson nor John Curry has faced OKC. Darcy Kuemper is 2-2-2 in 7 career appearances against the Barons with a 2.57 GAA and .893 save percentage (133 saves on 149 shots).

The Barons have dropped consecutive 3-2 games against Charlotte to start the season, scoring 1 even-strength goal, 2 power play tallies and 1 short-hander. The Barons have yet to light the lamp in the first period and have not led in either of their games, yet they’ve out-scored the opposition 3-2 in the third period. OKC and Charlotte each totaled 58 shots on goal in the 2-game series last Friday-Saturday. OKC has gone 1-for-4 on the power play in each of its games, while killing off 8 of 9 times short. Center Ryan Martindale and defenseman Philip Larsen have points in each game, each tallying 1 goal and 1 assist. Martindale, Larsen, Ryan Jones and Tyler Pitlick have scored OKC’s goals, while Richard Bachman has played both games in net, stopping 52 of 58 shots (.897) with a 3.02 goals-against average.

Todd Nelson returns for his fourth season as OKC’s head coach. The 44-year-old native of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, has a record of 125-86-23 behind the Barons’ bench, a .583 point percentage. Assistant coaches Gerry Fleming and Rocky Thompson each return for their fourth seasons in OKC, as does equipment manager Matt Mitchell. Back for their second seasons are assistant equipment manager Al Oman and strength and conditioning coach Kevin Hanlon. Josh Bennett begins his first season as OKC’s athletic trainer after working most recently for the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks.

Three Western Conference teams switched divisions this off-season, as the Barons’ division added Abbotsford and lost the Houston Aeros, who moved to Des Moines to become the Iowa Wild. OKC’s division is known as the West this season. The Wild move into in the Midwest Division, which had a vacancy when the Peoria Rivermen ceased operations and relocated to Utica, N.Y., to become the Comets. Utica is affiliated with the Vancouver Canucks, while the Chicago Wolves have teamed with St. Louis.

Recent Results:

Date       Opp.    Result     OKC Goalie (GA, SV) Opp. Goalie               Attn.
Oct. 4     Cha       L, 2-3       Bachman (3, 29)            Peters (2, 32)               3,008
Oct. 5     Cha       L, 2-3       Bachman (3, 23)            Murphy (2, 22)             2,682

Next 5 games (all times Central):

Date      Opp.                Site                            Time      Broadcast
Oct. 13   @ Iowa             Wells Fargo Arena      4:05 pm  KXY 96.1 FM
Oct. 15   Texas               Cox Center                 7:00 pm  KXY 96.1 FM
Oct. 18   Abbotsford       Cox Center                 7:00 pm  KXY 96.1 FM
Oct. 19   Abbotsford       Cox Center                 7:00 pm  KXY 96.1 FM
Oct. 23   @ Texas           Cedar Park Center      7:30 pm  KXY 96.1 FM 

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