By Jim Byers, on 01/23/2011

Oklahoma City Barons (24-16-2-4) at Chicago Wolves (24-19-2-3)
Game 47  |  Road Game 23  |  AHL Game 676
Jan. 23, 2011, 3 pm CST  | Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TODAY: The Barons wrap up a 7-game trip with an afternoon contest against the Chicago Wolves, top affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers. OKC is 5-1-0-0 in the first 6 games of the trip. The Barons have won 6 of their last 7 dating to the previous homestand. In its last game on Friday, OKC beat Rockford 4-3 at the MetroCentre with the help of 2 goals by Colin McDonald. This is the fourth of 8 games between the Barons and Wolves and the first of 3 in a 7-day span. OKC has won 2 out of 3 from the Wolves, including a 4-1 decision Oct. 27 in the only meeting in Chicago.

CHORNEY RETURNS: Defenseman Taylor Chorney was retuned on loan from Edmonton yesterday. Chorney was recalled Jan. 10 after appearing in the first 40 OKC games. He had 2 assists in 6 games with the Oilers.

HELMER PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Bryan Helmer is the current Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday. He’s the second Baron to be so honored, as Linus Omark received the award for Nov. 1-7, which included his 5-goal game against Toronto Nov. 7. Helmer had 3 goals, 3 assists and was a +5 in 3 games last week. On Jan. 13 he surpassed John Slaney as the AHL’s all-time leading point scorer among defenseman when he collected No. 520.

ADD HELMER: Signed to a PTO Jan. 7 after not playing professionally earlier this season, Helmer has 12 points in 9 games played with OKC. He has at least 1 point in 7 of the 9 games. Already the league’s all-time point and assist leader among defensemen and games-played leader (with 138) among all players in Calder Cup action, the next milestone in sight for Helmer is 1,000 games in the AHL. This afternoon is his 992nd 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 Montreal Canadiens.

GIROUX ON A TEAR: All-Star captain Alexandre Giroux enters today with points in 4 straight games (4 points) and 7 of the last 8, totaling 8 goals and 6 assists in that span. In January, Giroux leads the AHL in scoring with 16 points (8G, 8 A). For the season, Giroux’s 50 points are second-most in the league behind Binghamton’s Corey Locke (58). Giroux is tied for third in the league in goals with 21 behind linemate Colin McDonald (22) and Portland’s Mark Mancari (23).

TEEMU NEAR THE TOP: With points in 5 of the last 7 games (1G, 8A), Teemu Hartikainen is part of a multiple-way tie for second in the AHL in rookie scoring with 30 points. Bridgeport’s Rhett Rakhshani, currently with the Islanders, leads with 32 AHL points. Hartikainen is +6 in the last 7 games.

JANUARY JUMP: The Barons are 7-3-1-0 in January, matching their best win total for any month this season with 4 January games remaining counting today. OKC’s best previous month was October at 7-4-1-0. OKC has won 6 of its last 7 after taking just 5 of the 15 games immediately prior.

ODDS AND ENDS: Brad Moran is tied for ninth in the league in points with 40...the Barons lead the AHL in power play opportunities with 248 and have the second-most power play goals (48) behind Chicago’s 51...Shawn Belle missed the first 4 games of the trip with an upper body injury, played Thursday in Milwaukee but not dress on Friday because of a lower body injury...Johan Motin has missed 4 straight with an upper body injury...Anthony Aiello scored his first AHL goal Thursday at Milwaukee...Aiello signed a PTO Jan. 15 after starting the year at ECHL Stockton.

Last 5 games:
Date      Opp.      Result        OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie          Attn.
Jan. 14   @ Peoria W, 4-1          Deslauriers (1, 33)           Bishop (4, 22)         4,947
Jan. 15   @ SA      W, 2-0          Gerber (0, 18)                 Climie (1, EN, 24)    9,920
Jan. 18   @ LE      L, 1-3           Deslauriers (3, 24)           Grahame (1, 24)      3,087
Jan. 20   @ Mil       W, 4-3 (SO)  Gerber (3, 20)                 Dekanich (3, 30)      2,826

Jan. 21   @ Rfd     W, 4-3          Deslauriers (3, 26)           Toivonen (4, 10)      3,699

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.                  Site                          Time   Broadcast
Jan. 26   Chicago              Cox Center               7:05     KTOK AM 1000
Jan. 28   Texas                  Cox Center               6:05     KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 29   Chicago              Cox Center               7:05     KXY 96.1 FM
Feb. 3    Peoria                 Cox Center               7:05     KXY 96.1 FM
Feb. 4    Peoria                 Cox Center               7:05     KXY 96.1 FM

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