By Jim Byers, on 02/04/2011

Peoria Rivermen (29-17-2-1) at Oklahoma City Barons (26-18-2-5)

Game 52  |  Home Game 29  |  AHL Game 740
Feb. 4, 2011, 7:05 pm CST  | Cox Convention Center
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TONIGHT: The Barons and Peoria conclude a set of consecutive games at the Cox Convention Center. Peoria beat the Barons 4-1 last night to jump over Milwaukee, San Antonio and Houston into first place by 1 point in the congested West Division, where 6 standing points separate the top 7 teams. OKC is fifth, 2 points off the lead. Tonight’s game is the seventh of 8 meetings between the teams. The season series is split, with the road team having won each game. The final meeting of the year between these teams is March 15 at Peoria.

STORTINI ASSIGNED TO OKC: Right wing Zack Stortini cleared waivers on Wednesday, was assigned to OKC and is expected to make his Barons debut tonight. 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. The last time he appeared in an AHL game was Oct. 12, 2007 as a Springfield Falcon.

GIROUX NEAR THE TOP: Alexandre Giroux had an assist last night to draw within 1 point of the league’s scoring lead. Giroux’s 59 points trail only Binghamton’s Corey Locke, who has 60. Giroux has points in 7 of the last 8 games, is second in the league in goals with 25 and tied for second in power play goals (11) and game winners (5). 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. Giroux had a goal and an assist in Monday’s All-Star Game, where the Eastern Conference prevailed 11-8.

HARTIKAINEN ROOKIE OF THE MONTH: Teemu Hartikainen was named yesterday 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 997th 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.

HOMESTAND BLUES: The Barons have the AHL’s second-best road winning percentage at .674, going 15-7-0-1 on the road, but in home games the Barons are tied with Toronto for 20th in win percentage at .500. The Barons are 11-11-2-4 at home. Through the first 4 games of this 5-game homestand, OKC is 1-2-0-1 after winning 6 of 7 on its most recent trip.

DOT...DOT...DOT: Brad Moran is fifth in the AHL with 46 points...Moran has goals in 2 straight and points in 6 of the last 7 games, totaling 4 goals and 5 assists in that span...Colin McDonald is tied for third in the AHL in goals with 24...the Barons are in a stretch of 10 straight games against West Division foes...OKC is 17-14-2-4 inside their division, 6-10-2-4 within the division at the Cox Center...the Barons have at least 1 standing point in 10 of their last 13, but a loss tonight would deny them a point in consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 2 and 7.

Last 5 games:
Date      Opp.      Result        OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie          Attn.
Jan. 23   @ Chi      W, 2-1          Gerber (1, 19)                 MacIntyre (2, 20)     4,855
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

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.                  Site                                      Time  Broadcast
Feb. 5    @ Texas             Cedar Park Center                7:00    KXY 96.1 FM
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

(return to articles...)

This Article has been viewed: 1367 times