BARONS SECURE WESTERN CONFERENCE TITLE WITH 5-2 WIN
By Jim Byers,The Oklahoma City Barons clinched the AHL's Western Conference title with a 5-2 win on Saturday at Cedar Park Center, wrapping up the season series with the Stars by winning for the eighth time in 10 meetings, including the final six.
The Barons, 45-21-4-5, conclude the regular season on Sunday at 3:35 pm CDT at San Antonio. Oklahoma City's best-of-five first round Calder Cup playoff series will begin during this upcoming week once Sunday's games determine the final playoff qualifiers. The Barons will face the team that secures the No. 8 seed in the conference.
Five different Barons tallied goals as netminder David LeNeveu made 22 saves in improving to 18-12-3. Mike Hedden scored twice for the Stars, his 18th and 19th, to account for both Texas goals.
Bryan Helmer scored the only goal of the first period to give the Barons a 1-0 lead, slipping a shot through from the point off a draw at 13:21.
Magnus Paajarvi made it 2-0 at 1:15 of the second by putting home a rebound of a Teemu Hartikainen shot against Jack Campbell (4-6-0).
Hedden closed the gap to 2-1 by connecting on a penalty shot at 5:35 of the second after he was hauled down by Dylan Yeo on a breakaway, but the Barons answered with a Josh Green goal from the deep slot at 16:45 of the second.
Hedden deflected a point shot at 1:41 of the third to make it a 3-2 game, but Mark Arcobello lifted a steep-angle shot past Campbell's shoulder five seconds after a power play expired at 5:07 to give the Barons a 4-2 advantage.
Hunter Tremblay completed the scoring with an empty-net goal at 19:50.
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