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PAAJARVI’S SHOOTOUT GOAL LIFTS BARONS PAST AEROS
By Cassie Gage,
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Barons and Houston Aeros went to a shootout for a third time in four meetings this year Saturday evening with the Barons coming away with a 3-2 win. Oklahoma City (20-7-0-1) got a 24-save performance from Yann Danis en route to moving back to the top of the American Hockey League’s West Division. Magnus Paajarvi scored the shootout winner in his AHL debut.
Drew Bagnall put the Aeros on the board first, lifting the puck over Danis’ pad at 11:16 in the opening period. Oklahoma City had several good rushes in the period, but several blocked shots kept the puck away from getting to Aeros goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
Late in the period, the Barons benefitted from a Houston penalty call as Dylan Yeo blasted a shot from the point to tie the game 1-1 at 19:53. The goal was Yeo’s first with the Barons and Tyler Pitlick and Alex Plante picked up the assists on the goal. The Barons pulled ahead with the shots advantage 7-5 after trailing much of the frame.
Triston Grant’s effort paid off in a big way for the left winger early in the second period. Grant dove and batted shot from Bryan Helmer and got the puck past Keumper to put the Barons up 2-1 at 3:01. In his first game since Nov. 5, Antti Tyrvainen picked up his second assist of the year on Grant’s goal.
Houston answered Oklahoma City’s first-period power play with one of its own at 19:04 in the second. Jon DiSalvatore scored his ninth of the season to tie the game 2-2 at the second intermission. The Aeros out-shot the Barons 12-9 in the period to take a 17-16 advantage in shots on goal.
A scoreless third period forced overtime and after a neither team scored in the overtime period, Houston and Oklahoma City decided the contest in the shootout for a third time in four games this season.
After two scoreless rounds in the shootout, Paajarvi put the Barons up 1-0 and Gilbert Brule made it 2-0 before Danis’ save on DiSalvatore sealed the 3-2 shootout win for Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City hits the road for its final two games before the Christmas break as the Barons face the Charlotte Checkers tomorrow afternoon at 5 p.m. CT and Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. CT at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Danis will miss the upcoming road trip due to the impending birth of his second child.
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