By Jim Byers, on 04/27/2013

(4) Charlotte Checkers (42-26-4-4) at (5) Oklahoma City Barons (40-25-2-9)    

Calder Cup Playoffs  |  Series “H” Western Conference Quarterfinals  |  Charlotte leads 1-0
April 27, 2013, 7 pm CDT  | Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Radio: KXY 96.1 FM
AHL Media Kit:

TONIGHT: The Barons seek to even this best-of-5, first-round Calder Cup playoff series at 1 game apiece after the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) rallied in the opener last night for a 4-3 overtime win on a goal by Brody Sutter. Charlotte, the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference with 92 regular-season points, finished 1 point ahead of the 5th-seeded Barons. The teams split 8 regular-season games, with 1 of OKC’s losses in overtime. After tonight, the remainder of the series will be contested in Charlotte, starting with Game 3 on Wednesday.

BONUS HOCKEY: OKC dropped to 3-1 in playoff overtimes during their 3-season AHL history with last night’s 4-3 loss in Game 1. Last season, the Barons won 3 straight OT games in the second round against San Antonio, taking Games 2-4 in an eventual 4-1 series win. Josh Green halted Game 2 at 11:40 of OT, followed by Chris VandeVelde’s sudden death goals on back-to-back games in San Antonio to become the second player in AHL history, and the first since Jim Wiemer in 1983, to record OT goals in consecutive games of the same series. VandeVelde ended Game 3 at 15:50 and Game 4 at 1:05 into the extra session.

OPENERS: This is the Barons’ 5th playoff series in the AHL. Last night they dropped to 1-4 in series openers. OKC’s only Game 1 victory came in last season’s first round, a 5-0 win at Houston. Three of the Barons’ 4 series-opening losses have come at the Cox Center and those losses have been consecutive, starting with last season’s second-round series.The Barons are 3-1 in the second games of their previous series.

TREND BUSTERS: Charlotte went 2-for-5 on the power play last night, snapping the Barons’ 7-game stretch to end the regular season of not allowing a power play goal. OKC had been 17-for-17 on the penalty kill in their final 7 games, and 43-for-44 in the previous 17 dating to the last time they allowed more than 1 power play goal, March 13 at San Antonio. Last night was the first time since March 9, a span of 19 games, that OKC had allowed more than 3 goals. The Barons went 13-3-0-3 down the stretch while allowing 3 or fewer in each game.

PLAYOFF HISTORY: This is the first playoff series between the Barons and Checkers, which each entered the AHL for the 2010-11 season. Last season, OKC defeated Houston 3-1 in the opening round and San Antonio 4-1 in the conference semi-finals, winning the final 4 against the Rampage including Games 2-4 in overtime. OKC was eliminated 4 games to 1 in the Western Conference Finals against Toronto. In their inaugural season, the Barons met Hamilton in a best-of-7 opening-round series, dropping the set 4-2.

FINISHING WITH A FLOURISH: The Barons finished the regular campaign by winning 3 straight, 4 of their last 5 and 6 of their final 8 contests. Since returning from the Edmonton Oilers in mid-March, Danis went 10-2-3 with 2 shutouts, a 1.78 goals-against average and .931 save percentage to finish the regular season. After not shutting out an opponent in the season’s first 71 games, the Barons lodged 3 shutouts in the final 5 outings: April 14 at Hamilton (4-0, Danis, 24 saves); April 19 vs. Abbotsford (1-0, Danis, 24 saves); and April 21 vs. Houston (3-0, Niko Hovinen, 20 saves). After halting a club-record 5-game losing streak on Jan. 19 (0-4-1-0 from Jan. 6-18), the Barons went the final 37 games of the regular season without losing back-to-back games in regulation, going 22-9-0-6. Their .676 standing point percentage in that span, dating to Jan. 19, is the second-best in the AHL behind Providence’s .800.

SHOT CHART: Extending into the regular season, OKC has out-shot the opposition in 15 of the last 16 games and limited the opponent to 28 shots or fewer in 15 of the last 17 games after out-shooting Charlotte last night 33-28. The Barons averaged the 8th-most shots per game (31.1) while allowing the 8th-fewest at 29.2 during the regular season. OKC went 28-12-2-2 when out-shooting the opposition.

Series Results:
Date        Opp.   Result      OKC Goalie (GA,SV) Opp. Goalie               Attn. 
April 26    Cha      L, 3-4 (OT) Danis (4, 24)                 Madore (3, 30)             2,043

Remaining Series Schedule (all times Central):
Date         Opp.            Site                            Time     Broadcast
May 1       Charlotte     Time Warner Cable Arena           6:00    KXY 96.1 FM
May 3*     Charlotte     Time Warner Cable Arena           6:00    KXY 96.1 FM
May 4*     Charlotte     Time Warner Cable Arena           6:00    KXY 96.1 FM
* If necessary                                                                          

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