By Blake Colston, on 01/02/2012

The Oklahoma City Barons (22-8-1-3) used a franchise record-tying four power-play goals to defeat the Houston Aeros (18-7-2-7) 6-0 and reclaim first place in the Western Conference.

The victory also secured Todd Nelson’s spot as head coach of the Western Conference All-Stars for the AHL All-Star Classic January 29 - 30 in Atlantic City.

After a quiet first period the Barons offense erupted for four goals in the second period, three of which came via power-play goals.

Antti Tyrvainen ignited the scoring spree with a breakaway goal at 3:27 off a pass from Kevin Montgomery. The goal was Tyrvainen’s second of the season and second in as many nights.  It was the only even strength score of the period.

Just 53 seconds later Oklahoma City notched the first of their three power-play goals in the period. Josh Green fired a centering pass from the right wing to Philippe Cornet in front of the net where he pushed one past Aeros netminder Darcy Kuemper to notch his team-leading 16th goal of the season. Ryan Keller also collected an assist on the play.

Captain Bryan Helmer notched the Barons second goal at 11:47 of the frame.  Magnus Paajarvi set up Helmer for a one-time opportunity and the AHL’s top scoring defenseman of all time found the back of the net.  Kevin Montgomery also added an assist on the play.

The scoring extravaganza was capped off at 17:16 of the second by Keller. His 12th goal of the season put the Barons in front 4-0. Paajarvi and Green assisted on the goal.

Oklahoma City’s final power-play goal of the night was put home by Curtis Hmailton at 12:43 of the third period. Chris VandeVelde skated around the left wing faceoff dot and fed Tyrvainen behind the net. From there Tyrvainen shoveled a pass to Hamilton in the slot where he fired one past Kuemper.

Helmer and Paajarvi each picked up their first goals of the season while Green and Montogmery added two assists respectively.

Barons netminder Yann Danis stopped all 23 shots he faced and improved to 5-0 against Houston on the season.  The shutout was his third of the season and his second against the Aeros.

What a difference a season makes for the Barons against the Aeros.  Last season, Oklahoma City won just one of its 10 games against the Aeros.  This season, the Barons have won all five meetings, two of them by shutout.

Oklahoma City travels to Cleveland to play the Lake Erie Monsters Wednesday evening. Faceoff is set for 6 P.M. CST.

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