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BARONS DOWN GRAND RAPIDS 5-4 IN SPIRITED AFFAIR

By Josh Evans, OKC Barons

The Oklahoma City Barons notched their 13th win of the season with a rousing 5-4 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins last night.  Oklahoma City received balanced scoring as 11 different players figured on the game sheet.

Barons forward Triston Grant staked Oklahoma City to a 1-0 lead just four minutes into the first period.  Curtis Hamilton worked along the boards to get the puck to Tanner House.  House found Grant in front of Griffins netminder Tom McCollum.

Gilbert Brule would then figure prominently in the next two goals. 

With Brule in the penalty box for interference, the Griffins would strike for Gustav Nyquist power-play goal at 7:26.  Brule would find his way onto the scoresheet in a more positive fashion just 59 seconds later when he put home the rebound of a Teemu Hartikianen shot.  Chris VandeVelde would find Hartikainen who put a quality shot on the Griffins netminder.  Brule was cruising in front, found the rebound and slid it home.

The second period was one of the more eventful periods of the season.  Joakim Andersson scored from the doorstep on a nifty centering pass by Chris Conner to tie the game at two.

With just over five minutes to play, Griffins defenseman Garnet Exelby was assessed 25 minutes in penalties, including a five-minute major for spearing and two game misconducts.  Philippe Cornet took advantage of the power-play opportunity to score his league-leading 13th goal of the season.

The second period would finish with a flourish as Tyler Pitlick as assessed a major for boarding, a subsequent fighting penalty and game misconduct with just under six seconds to play. 

Just a minute into the third, Teemu Hartikainen increased the Barons lead to 4-2 when Taylor Chorney set him up for his eighth goal of the campaign.  Curtis Hamilton scored his first of the season and first as a pro at the nine-minute mark to give the Barons a 5-2 lead.

Late in the third period, the Griffins cashed in for their second power-play goal of the game.  Chris Conner picked up his third point of the night when he picked the top corner over the shoulder of Barons netminder Yann Danis.  That cut the lead to 5-3.

Things became more interesting when Jamie Johnson deflected a Doug Janik point shot over the shoulder of Danis, cutting the Barons lead to 5-4 with under two minutes to play. 

Grand Rapids was able to pull their goaltender in favor of an extra attacker with under 30 seconds to play.  They were able to get a point shot away before the end of the period, but it was blocked by Chorney and steered away from trouble to preserve the win for the Barons.

Barons goaltender Yann Danis stopped 26 of the 30 shots he saw for the win in net.

There were five records that fell in the game, all had to do with penalty minutes.  Barons’ forward Tyler Pitlick’s 20 minutes in penalties is the most by a Barons player in the brief franchise history.  The record for penalty minutes by an opponent also was broken.  Garnett Exelby’s 29 minutes sets a new record for PIMs by an opponent.  The Barons 48 minutes is the most in franchise history, the Griffins 54 minutes are the most by an opponent and the 102 minutes combined is the highest combined total in franchise history.

The win for the Barons is their 13th, tying them with the Abbotsford Heat for the most in the AHL.

The Barons waste no time returning to action as they travel to Rockford, Ill. to take on the IceHogs at 7 p.m. (ct).  Sunday, the Barons head back to Grand Rapids to take on the Griffins at 4 p.m. (ct).  Both games can be heard on the Barons flagship station 96.1 KXY.

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