By Jim Byers, on 03/19/2011

Oklahoma City Barons (35-25-2-7) at Chicago Wolves (35-25-3-6)
Game 70  |  Road Game 32  |  AHL Game 1029
Mar. 19, 2011, 7:00 pm CDT  | Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TONIGHT: The Barons and Chicago Wolves open a set of back-to-back games as OKC’s 9-game road trip continues. The Barons beat Rockford last night 5-1 to improve to 1-0-0-2 on the trip.  OKC and Chicago share fifth in the West Division, 1 point back of fourth-place Texas and 2 behind third-place Peoria. This is the seventh of 8 meetings in the seasons series and the third at Allstate Arena. The Barons have won both games in Chicago and are 4-1-0-1 against the Wolves.

OFF THE TOP: The Barons’ 5 goals last night marked the second time in a 19-game span they tallied more than
3 in a contest. The other time was the previous Friday at home against Grand Rapids in a 6-5 OT win. Since the first of the year, the Barons have lost back-to-back games in regulation just twice: Jan. 2-7 and Mar. 8-10. OKC has played the most home games (38) and fewest road games (31, tied with Hamilton) in the AHL. The Barons have the league’s 2nd-best road point percentage  (.661) with a 19-9-0-3 mark. OKC is tied for 22nd in home point percentage (.500, 16-16-2-4).

TIP OF THE HAT: Colin McDonald had his first professional hat trick last night, scoring 3 of the Barons’ 4 goals in the second period. McDonald’s career-high 31 goals rank him third in the league behind current NHLers Nigel Dawes (33) and Mark Mancari (32). McDonald leads the league with 15 power play tallies.

TAKING THE LEAD: The Barons have led 1-0 at the first intermission in each of the last 4 games. The Barons are 22-9-1-4 when scoring first and 13-16-1-3 when allowing the first goal.

Rockford out-shot the Barons 41-35 last night, including 23 in the third period. The 23 shots are the most in a period by a Barons opponent this season. OKC has allowed 88 shots in the past 2 games while earning a win and shootout loss (Rockford, 41 shots; Grand Rapids, 47).

GERBER DAY-TO-DAY: Goaltender Martin Gerber had to leave Wednesday’s game at Grand Rapids with an upper body injury and is day-to-day. Bryan Pitton has joined the Barons from ECHL Stockton. In 5 games over previous OKC stints, Pitton is 3-1-0 with a 2.53 GAA and .918 save percentage.

SHUTTLE IN FULL USE: Eight opening-day Barons are currently with Edmonton, including injured defenseman Taylor Chorney. Following Wednesday’s game, the Oilers recalled Alex Giroux, Ryan O’Marra and Chris Vandevelde. It’s callup No. 2 of the season for Giroux and O’Marra and a career first for the rookie Vandevelde. Defenseman Taylor Fedun of Princeton, signed as a free agent for the next 2 seasons by Edmonton Mar. 8, has joined the Barons on an Amateur Tryout (ATO). Fedun has yet to make his pro debut. Fedun was Princeton’s captain this season. On Wednesday, the Barons recalled left winger Jesse Gimblett from ECHL Stockton. It’s the third OKC stint this season for Gimblett, who has 13 goals and 9 assists in 43 games for Stockton. Dusty Collins made his Barons debut last night. The Barons are his sixth team this season and fourth AHL club in 2010-11, joining San Antonio, Manitoba and Toronto. Collins has also played this season for ECHL Ontario and Florida.

ODDS AND ENDS: Brad Moran had 3 assists last night, 1 shy of his and the team’s season high...Mark Arcobello has 15 shots in the last 3 games...OKC’s 3 power play goals last night were the most since a 4-for-8 showing at Peoria in a 7-2 win Jan. 13...Rockford’s Hannu Toivonen started all 3 games against OKC at the MetroCentre and was pulled in each...Toivonen allowed 5 goals in 32:20 last night and saw his record against OKC fall to 0-3-0 with a 5.81 GAA and .795 save percentage.

Last 5 games:
Date      Opp.      Result        OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie          Attn.
Mar. 11   GR          W, 6-5 (OT)  Deslauriers (5, 33)           Pearce (6, 33)         3,836
Mar. 12   GR          L, 2-5           Gerber (4, 23)                 Pearce (2, 30)         4,970
Mar. 15   @ Peoria L, 1-2 (SO)   Gerber (1, 20)                 Bishop (1, 23)         3,784
Mar. 16   @ GR      L, 1-2 (SO)   Deslauriers (0, 10)           Pearce (1, 31)         7,125
Mar. 18   @ Rfd     W, 5-1          Deslauriers (1, 40)           Toivonen (5, 16)      3,668

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.                  Site                          Time   Broadcast
Mar. 20   @ Chicago          Allstate Arena           3:00     KXY 96.1 FM
Mar. 22   @ Milwaukee       Bradley Center         7:00     KXY 96.1 FM                     
Mar. 25   @ Houston          Toyota Center          7:35     KXY 96.1 FM
Mar. 26   @ Houston          Toyota Center          7:35     KXY 96.1 FM
Mar. 27   @ Houston          Toyota Center          4:05     KXY 96.1 FM 

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