By Jim Byers, on 02/05/2011

Oklahoma City Barons (27-18-2-5) at Texas Stars (26-16-3-3)
Game 53  |  Road Game 24  |  AHL Game 756
Feb. 5, 2011, 7:00 pm CST  | Cedar Park Center 
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TONIGHT: The Barons seek their first win of the season at Cedar Park Center as they take on the Texas Stars, top affiliate of the Dallas Stars. OKC is 1-3-0-2 against the Stars, winning the first game of the season series Nov. 5 at the Cox Center before losing the next 5, 2 by shootout in OKC. The Stars have won both games in Texas. The Barons are fifth in the West Division, 1 point back of a leading quartet that includes Peoria, Milwaukee, San Antonio and Houston. The Stars are sixth, 3 points behind the Barons and 4 back of first.

GIROUX NEAR THE TOP: Alexandre Giroux scored OKC’s lone goal in regulation in last night’s 2-1 shootout win over Peoria. Giroux is second in the league in goals with 26, trailing only Portland’s Mark Mancari (27). Giroux’s 60 points are second behind Binghamton’s Corey Locke, who has 62. Giroux is tied for second in the AHL in power play goals with 12. He has points in 8 of the last 9 games. In January, Giroux was the AHL’s leading scorer with 24 points and second-leading goal scorer with 12. Giroux’s 3 goals and 2 assists on Saturday matched the team high for points in a game, set during Linus Omark’s 5-goal performance Nov. 7. 

GOING OVERTIME: Last night’s shootout lasted 10 rounds, the second straight involving OKC to require 10 shooters per team. Chicago beat the Barons Jan. 26 in a 10-round shootout to open the just-concluded 5-game homestand, during which OKC went 2-2-0-1. Chris Vandevelde scored the only goal of last night’s shootout in the top of the 10th round as Martin Gerber stopped all 10 Peoria attempts. OKC is 4-5 in shootouts.

STORTINI DEBUTS: Right wing Zack Stortini made his Barons debut last night for his first AHL appearance since Oct. 12, 2007 as a Springfield Falcon. Stortini cleared waivers and was assigned by Edmonton to the Barons on Wednesday. Stortini spent all of the past 2 1/2 seasons with the Oilers. This season he had appeared in 32 games, collecting 4 assists and 76 penalty minutes. Stortini has played in 256 NHL games, scoring 14 goals and 27 assists with 718 PIM. 

HARTIKAINEN ROOKIE OF THE MONTH: Teemu Hartikainen was named this week the Reebok/AHL Rookie of the Month for January. The 20-year-old native of Finland had 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists) and was +8 in 15 January games. That included 5 points in a 2-game set against Peoria in mid-January and goals in consecutive games Jan. 26-28. Hartikainen joins a list of Barons who have earned weekly or monthly honors from the AHL this season. Linus Omark and Bryan Helmer have each been Players of the Week, while Alex Giroux earned the reGen Muscle Recovery Beverage Performance of the Month award for December.

MILESTONE WATCH: Tonight is Bryan Helmer’s 998th AHL game dating to 1993. If he plays each scheduled game, he will hit No. 1,000 on Feb. 18 against Abbotsford at Scotiabank Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames. The first of OKC’s 2-game set with the Heat is in Calgary as part of the NHL Heritage Classic festivities. That outdoor game is Feb. 20 between the Flames and Canadiens.

DOT...DOT...DOT: Brad Moran is tied for fifth in the AHL with 47 points...Moran has points in 3 straight and 7 of the last 8 games, totaling 4 goals and 6 assists in that span...Colin McDonald is tied for third in the AHL in goals with 24...the Barons have earned at least 1 standing point in 11 of their last 14 games...the Barons’ road win percentage of .674 is third in the league behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (.727) and Hershey (.682)...OKC is 15-7-0-1 on the road and has won 7 of its last 8 road games.

Last 5 games:
Date      Opp.      Result        OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie          Attn.
Jan. 26   Chicago  L, 4-5 (SO)   Gerber (4, 33)                 MacIntyre (4, 25)     3,564
Jan. 28   Texas      L, 1-2           Deslauriers (2, 32)           Bachman (1, 28)     5,321
Jan. 29   Chicago  W, 5-2          Deslauriers (2, 31)           Mannino (3, 2)         6,174
Feb. 3    Peoria     L, 1-4           Deslauriers (3, 36)           Bishop (1, 35)         2,647
Feb. 4    Peoria     W, 2-1 (SO)  Gerber (1, 28)                 Allen (1, 34)            4,37

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.                  Site                                      Time  Broadcast
Feb. 9    San Antonio        Cox Center                           10:35  KGHM 1340 AM
Feb. 18  @ Abbotsford      Saddledome (Calgary)          8:00    KXY 96.1 FM
Feb. 19  @ Abbotsford      Entertainment Centre           9:00    KTOK AM 1000
Feb. 23  Milwaukee           Cox Center                           7:05    KXY 96.1 FM
Feb. 25  San Antonio        Cox Center                           7:05    KXY 96.1 FM

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