By Jim Byers, on 01/13/2011

Oklahoma City Barons (19-15-2-4) at Peoria Rivermen (25-10-2-1)
Game 41  |  Road Game 17  |  AHL Game 597
Jan. 13, 2011, 7:05 pm CST  | Carver Arena, Peoria, IL
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TONIGHT: After hitting the 40-game mark in Sunday’s 5-1 home win over Lake Erie, the Barons begin the second half of their season with the opener of a 2-game set at Peoria and the start of a 7-game trip. The Barons are 1-1-1-0 against the Rivermen, top affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. This is the fourth of 8 meetings in the season series and the second at Carver Arena, where the Barons beat the Rivermen 3-1 on Oct. 30. Peoria leads the West Division by 1 point over Milwaukee and 2 over San Antonio. OKC is seventh, 9 points back of first.

Bryan Helmer is 2 points away from matching John Slaney’s career record for scoring by an AHL defenseman (519 points). Helmer enters tonight’s game with 517 points, on 120 goals and 397 assists. He’s the all-time AHL leader in assists and games played (985) among defensemen. He’s also the all-time leader in Calder Cup games played among players at any position with 138. Helmer was signed to a Professional Tryout (PTO) last week and made his Barons debut with 3 games in 3 nights over the weekend. Helmer had not played professionally this season until Friday. He has 4 assists in his first 3 OKC games, including at least 1 assist in each. A multiple AHL All-Star, Helmer captained the Hershey Bears to Calder Cup titles each of the past 2 years and also won a championship with Albany in 1995.

All-Star captain Alexandre Giroux finished the week with back-to-back 2-goal games and is third in the AHL in points with 42. When Giroux scores a goal, the Barons are 8-0-1-1. Giroux has multiple goals in 3 of the last 6 contests and has a hat trick and 5 different 2-goal games this season.

Right winger Colin McDonald scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season in Sunday’s 5-1 win over Lake Erie, moving into a tie for the AHL goal-scoring lead. McDonald shares the top spot with Chicago’s Nigel Dawes, Charlotte’s Jerome Samson and Connecticut’s Jeremy Williams. McDonald’s previous career high for goals in a season was 13, set last year when he had 12 for Springfield and 1 for Edmonton.

Left winger Philippe Cornet scored his first professional goal in Sunday’s 5-1 victory over Lake Erie. The 20-year-old Cornet, Edmonton’s fifth round pick (133rd overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, has spent the season with the Barons, dressing in 27 of 40 games. Cornet scored 87 goals in 4 seasons with Rimouski and Rouyn-Noranda of the Quebec Major Junior League.

Defenseman Taylor Chorney was recalled by Edmonton on Monday, becoming the fifth former Baron currently with the Oilers and eighth overall to be called up this season. Rookie forward Mark Arcobello has been recalled from Stockton. An ECHL All-Star this season, Arcobello was on OKC’s roster out of camp, but did not play before being loaned to Stockton.

In addition to Alexandre Giroux, who was previously selected by AHL President and CEO David Andrews to be a playing captain, former Baron Linus Omark was named on Tuesday to the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic, presented by Capital BlueCross, to be played Jan. 31 at Hershey. Omark is currently with Edmonton. He scored 14 goals and added 17 assists in 28 games over 2 stints with the Barons, including a co-team high 4 game-winning goals.

Last 5 games:
Date      Opp.      Result        OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie          Attn.
Jan. 1     Rockford W, 2-1          Pitton (1, 30)                   Toivonen (2, 24)      3,229
Jan. 2     Rockford L, 5-6           Gerber (6, 30)                 Richards (5, 30)       3,210
Jan. 7     Peoria     L, 2-5           Gerber (5, 36)                 Allen (2, 37)            4,789
Jan. 8     Peoria     L, 4-5 (OT)   Deslauriers (5, 29)           Bishop (4, 23)         4,058
Jan. 9     Lake ErieW, 5-1          Deslauriers (1, 20)           Grahame (4, 19)      3,171

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.                  Site                          Time   Broadcast
Jan. 14   @ Peoria             Carver Arena            7:05     KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 15   @ San Antonio   AT&T Center            7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 18   @ Lake Erie        Quicken Loans Arena          6:00    KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 20   @ Milwaukee       Bradley Center         7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 21   @ Rockford         Rockford MetroCentre          7:05    KXY 96.1 FM

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