BARONS DROP ROAD TRIP OPENER, 4-2
By Jim Byers,
Jason Zucker's long-range drive 5:10 into the third period past a screened Yann Danis broke a 2-2 tie and sent the Houston Aeros to a 4-2 win over the Oklahoma City Barons on New Year's Night at Toyota Center in Houston.
The Aeros, 17-10-2-3, have won six of seven against the Barons this season, three of those by shootout. The Barons, 17-11-1-3, fall to third place in the South Division with 38 points, one behind Houston and two back of Charlotte.
Taylor Hall opened the scoring 8:16 into the game on the power play, converting a Jordan Eberle centering pass. Oklahoma City completed its sixth straight first period without allowing a goal and led 1-0 after one.
Zucker tied the game 1:42 into the second period on the power play, stepping off the boards and picking the top stick side corner past Yann Danis (13-8-3). Houston took its first lead at 4:40 on a goal by Charlie Coyle from the deep slot.
Oklahoma City drew even at 2-2 on a power play goal by the AHL's leading goal and point scorer, Jordan Eberle, at 11:13. Eberle put in a rebound past Matt Hackett, who improves to 13-9-3. Eberle has 24 goals and 49 points, matching the total by Oklahoma City's leading scorer from all of last season, Ryan Keller.
Zucker's unassisted goal early in the third broke the tie and was followed by an empty-netter by Johan Larsson at 18:49.
The Barons out-shot the Aeros 30-28 and went 2-for-3 on the power play, while Houston was 1-for-2.
Oklahoma City continues its four-game trip with a 6 pm (CST) game at Grand Rapids on Friday.
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