BARONS GAME NOTES - FEBRUARY 8
By Jim Byers,
Grand Rapids Griffins (27-14-2-2) at Oklahoma City Barons (21-18-2-4)
Barons Game 46 | Home Game 25 | AHL Game 680
TONIGHT: The Barons host the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) in the first of back-to-back games between the teams to wrap up a 4-game season series. The Griffins won both meetings at Van Andel Arena, 5-2 on Jan. 4 and 5-4 on Jan. 23. Grand Rapids leads the Midwest Division with 58 points, 9 more than Chicago. The Griffins, winners of 3 straight and 6 of 8, are 2nd in the Western Conference. The Barons won their last game on Friday, 7-3, over Charlotte and are 4th in the South Division with 48 points, 10th in the conference.
OFF THE TOP: The Barons last played a week ago tonight, a 7-3 win over Charlotte. The 6-day stretch without playing is the Barons’ second-longest break of the season behind a 7-day gap from Dec. 1-7, inclusive. February is OKC’s lightest full month of the season with only 8 games scheduled. This is the second of 4 consecutive 2-game weeks, with each of those featuring back-to-back games against the same team. OKC has had 30 player transactions in the month since an agreement was announced on a new collective bargaining agreement for the National Hockey League Jan. 6. OKC had 26 moves from opening day until the labor agreement was reached. OKC’s power play is No. 1 in the AHL at home (26.5) and overall (23.7). The Barons’ power play is 8-for-49 (16.3%) since Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz and Taylor Hall returned to the NHL.
BARONS-GRIFFINS: The Barons are 6-4-0-4 all-time against the Griffins, with a 3-2-0-1 mark at the Cox Center. Last season the teams split 4 meetings in OKC, with one of the Griffins’ wins in a shootout. Regardless of venue, Grand Rapids has won 4 straight head-to-head meetings by a combined margin of 20-9.
CHEECHOO MATCHES CLUB HIGHS: Former NHL All-Star and Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo equaled two club records in Friday’s 7-3 win over Charlotte. Cheechoo matched the club mark, set three times previously, for points in a game with 5, on 1 goal and 4 assists. The mark is shared with Jordan Eberle (4G, 1 A, Dec. 15, 2012), Alexandre Giroux (3G, 2A, Jan. 29, 2011), and Linus Omark (5 goals, Nov. 7, 2010). Cheechoo’s 4 assists on Friday also match the club mark, set several times, most recently twice this season by Mark Arcobello. Cheechoo, signed to a Professional Tryout Contract (PTO) Jan. 20, has 1 goal and 6 assists in 5 Barons games.
BARONS SIGN RANDY JONES: The Barons signed veteran defenseman Randy Jones to a PTO on Feb. 3. Jones, 31, spent the past 2 seasons in the NHL with Winnipeg and Tampa Bay. His 365 games of NHL experience also include time with Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Jones has 20 NHL goals, 85 assists and 185 penalty minutes. Jones has AHL experience with the Philadelphia (and later Adirondack) Phantoms. He was a member of Philadelphia’s 2005 Calder Cup championship team.
TO EDMONTON AND BACK: AHL All-Star Mark Arcobello received his first recall to Edmonton on Tuesday and made his NHL debut in Wednesday’s 3-2 OT loss to Dallas at Rexall Place. Arcobello played 18:15 on a line with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Arcobello was returned on loan to the Barons yesterday.
NEW NIKO: Goaltender Niko Hovinen made his Barons and AHL debuts in Friday’s 7-3 win. The 24-year-old native of Helsinki, Finland, was claimed off waivers by the Edmonton Oilers Jan. 25 from Philadelphia. This is Hovinen’s first season in North America after playing parts of 6 seasons in Finland’s top league, the SM-liiga. He made 28 saves on Friday in his first game since Jan. 11. Hovinen opened the season with the Trenton Titans of the ECHL, going 4-6-3 with a 3.14 goals-against average and .889 save percentage. Hovinen is the fourth goaltender to appear in a game for OKC this season, a club high, joining Yann Danis, Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz. The Barons used 3 goalies in each of their first 2 seasons.
LUCKY SEVEN: The Barons matched their season high with 7 goals in Friday’s 7-3 win over Charlotte. OKC’s other 7-goal performance was a 7-2 win at Charlotte Nov. 25. Friday marked the 8th time OKC has totaled 7 or more goals in club history. The record came in a 10-1 win over Texas Oct. 15, 2011.
Last 5 Games:
Date Opp. Result OKC Goalie (GA,SV) Opp. Goalie Attn.
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
Feb. 1 Cha W, 7-3 Hovinen (3, 28) Peters (L) / Muse 3,455
Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date Opp. Site Time Broadcast
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
Feb. 23 Houston Toyota Center 7:05 KXY 96.1 FM
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