BARONS GAME NOTES - FEBRUARY 9
By Jim Byers,
Grand Rapids Griffins (27-15-2-2) at Oklahoma City Barons (22-18-2-4)
Barons Game 47 | Home Game 26 | AHL Game 692
TONIGHT: The Barons host the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) in the second of back-to-back games. Tonight concludes the 4-game season series. The Griffins won both meetings at Van Andel Arena, 5-2 on Jan. 4 and 5-4 on Jan. 23, while the Barons prevailed last night 4-3. Grand Rapids leads the Midwest Division with 58 points, 7 more than Chicago. The Griffins, who had a 3-game winning streak snapped last night, are 2nd in the Western Conference. The Barons, winners of 2 straight, have 50 points, 4th in the South Division and 10th in the conference.
OFF THE TOP: The Barons have won consecutive games for the first time since the end of a 4-game winning streak from Dec. 22-31. A win tonight would match OKC’s longest home winning streak of the year at 3, achieved Dec. 22-28-31. OKC is 4-2-0-1 in its last 7 games. Despite having 6 of its top 7 point scorers on recall to the Edmonton Oilers, the Barons begin play today 3 points away from the 5th-ranked team in the Western Conference (Rochester). February is OKC’s lightest full month of the season with 8 games. This is the second of 4 consecutive 2-game weeks, with each of those featuring back-to-back games against the same team. With Chris VandeVelde’s recall to Edmonton yesterday, OKC has had 31 player transactions in slightly more than a month since the announcement of 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 (23.8). The Barons’ power play is 9-for-53 (17.0%) since Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz and Taylor Hall returned to the NHL.
BARONS-GRIFFINS: The Barons are 7-4-0-4 all-time against the Griffins, with a 4-2-0-1 mark at the Cox Center. Last season the teams split 4 meetings in OKC, with one of the Griffins’ wins in a shootout. OKC snapped a 4-game, head-to-head winless streak against the Griffins with last night’s 4-3 win.
WELCOME BACK: Brandon Davidson played his first game since Oct. 28 last night in a comeback from cancer treatment. The 21-year-old rookie defenseman underwent surgery in early November to remove the cancerous tissue. He later had one round of chemotherapy.
CHEECHOO IN HIGH GEAR: Former NHL All-Star and Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo has 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) in the past 2 games. He equaled two club records in a 7-3 win over Charlotte Feb. 1: points in a game (5, on 1 goal and 4 assists) and assists (4). Cheechoo had a pair of goals last night.
JONES, PECKHAM DEBUT: Veteran defenseman Randy Jones, signed to a PTO on Feb. 3, made his Barons debut last night. 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. Theo Peckham made his OKC debut last night in the first game of a conditioning assignment from the Edmonton Oilers. Peckham, who has not played in the NHL this season because of hip problems, has spent all of the past 2 seasons with the Oilers. He has 4 goals, 17 points and 382 penalty minutes in 156 NHL games.
ODDS AND ENDS: Philippe Cornet has had consecutive multi-point games, totaling 3 goals and 3 assists...he had the winner last night in addition to an assist after a 2-goal, 2-assist performance Feb. 1...Mark Arcobello has 5 points, 11 shots and a +5 rating in the last 2 games...goaltender Niko Hovinen made his second straight start last night and earned his second AHL win in as many tries...the 24-year-old North American rookie from Finland was claimed off waivers from Philadelphia Jan. 25...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.
Last 5 Games:
Date Opp. Result OKC Goalie (GA,SV) Opp. Goalie Attn.
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
Feb. 8 GR W, 4-3 Hovinen (3, 16) McCollum (4, 33) 3,394
Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date Opp. Site Time Broadcast
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
Feb. 26 Texas Cox Center 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM
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