BARONS GAME NOTES - OCTOBER 6
By Jim Byers,
PRE-SEASONING: OKC is 3-0 all-time in AHL pre-season games after last night’s 4-0 victory. The previous 2 seasons each featured one exhibition game,beginning with a 4-2 win on Oct. 2, 2010 at Texas. Last season, David LeNeveu and Olivier Roy each made 11 saves in a 4-0 home win over Houston.
GOING PRO: Six of the 20 Barons dressed for last night’s game made their North American professional debuts: goaltender Tyler Bunz, defensemen Teigan Zahn, Taylor Fedun and Justin Schultz and wingers Toni Rajala and Kristians Pelss. Schultz and Pelss scored goals, while Fedun earned an assist in his first game since Sept. 30, 2011, when he sustained a complex fracture of his right femur in an Edmonton Oilers pre-season game at Minnesota.
WITH THE FIRST SELECTION...: OKC is slated to start the regular season Oct. 12 at Lake Erie with a pair of recent Edmonton Oilers’ fi rst-round picks in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, plus a coveted rookie free agent defenseman out of the University of Wisconsin in Justin Schultz. Eberle,a Lady Byng fi nalist and NHL All-Star Game participant last year, has 2 full seasons of NHL experience after being the 22nd overall pick in 2008. Nugent-Hopkins, a rookie and Calder Memorial Trophy fi nalist last season, was the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins and Schultz were ticketed to Edmonton this season but were assigned to OKC last month prior to the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and NHLPA.
LAST SEASON’S RECAP: The Barons fi nished the 2011-12 season with the best record in the Western Conference and second-best mark in the 30-team AHL at 45-22-4-5, 99 points. The Barons have had consecutive seasons of 40 or more wins, a fi rst in Edmonton’s NHL history for their top affiliate. OKC defeated Houston 3 games to 1 in the opening round of the Calder Cup playoffs before dispatching the San Antonio Rampage 4 games to 1 in the second round. The Barons won 3 straight OT games vs. the Rampage and won the clincher with a go-ahead goal with 2:06 remaining in regulation. OKC split the first 2 games of the Western Conference final with the Toronto Marlies at the Cox Center before dropping all 3 contests at Ricoh Coliseum.
BARONS-AEROS HISTORY: The Barons won of 7 of 8 regular-season meetings with Houston last year, dropping only a shootout March 18 at Toyota Center. Yann Danis played all 8 games in the 2011-12 season series, allowing a total of 11 goals while lodging a 1.32 GAA and .946 save percentage against the Aeros. In the playoffs against Houston, Danis went 3-1 with 1 shutout, a 1.01 GAA and .947 save percentage. In OKC’s inaugural AHL season, 2010-11, Houston won 9 of 10 games against OKC, including an overtime and a pair of shutouts. Counting regular season and playoffs, the Barons are 5-4-1-1 vs. Houston at the Cox Center and 6-3-0-2 at Toyota Center.
THIS AND THAT: After being in the West Division the previous 2 seasons, the Barons now reside in the renamed South Division with Texas, San Antonio,Houston and Charlotte...19 of the 32 players in camp as of yesterday played at least one game for the Barons last season...20 of the 32 current Barons were born in the 1990s...Dane Byers and Josh Green are currently the only Barons skaters qualifying as veterans by the AHL’s games played threshold.
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