By Jim Byers, on 01/01/2011

Rockford Icehogs (14-13-1-4) at Oklahoma City Barons (17-13-1-4)
Game 36  |  Home Game 20  |  AHL Game 531
Jan. 1, 2011, 7:05 pm CST  | Cox Convention Center
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TONIGHT: The Barons open a 5-game homestand with the first of two straight against the Rockford Icehogs (Chicago Blackhawks). OKC beat Rockford 6-5 in overtime Dec. 11 at the Rockford MetroCentre in the only other meeting between these teams. The Barons led that game 5-2 late in the second period. The Barons won 4-1 last night in San Antonio to snap a 6-game winless streak. OKC is tied for sixth in the West Division, 8 points out of first. The Icehogs have won 4 of their last 5 and are eighth, 14 points back, but have played the division’s fewest games.

OILERS SPIN OMARK BACK TO OKC: Winger Linus Omark was returned on loan to the Barons yesterday, with defenseman Shawn Belle recalled. Omark scored a goal and added 4 assists in 8 Edmonton games in his first NHL callup. Omark returns to the AHL with 13 goals and 13 assists.

OUT WITH A WIN: Last night’s 4-1 win at San Antonio wrapped up December with a 4-5-0-3 record, the Barons’ first losing month. It snapped a 6-game winless streak, which had reached 0-5-0-1 and marked the first win over the Rampage after 4 straight losses to open the season series.

GOOD LUCK CHARM: The Barons are 7-0-0-1 when Alexandre Giroux scores a goal. Giroux notched his first hat trick and (the team’s third) last night. Giroux leads the club with 34 points.

DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS: Fifteen of the Barons’ first 35 games have been against Houston, San Antonio and Texas. OKC is a combined 3-8-1-3 against teams based south of the Red River, collecting just 10 of a possible 30 standing points (.333), while teams from the The Republic are 12-3-0-0 against the Barons. Against the rest of the AHL, OKC is 14-5-0-1 (.725).

HOME COOKING: The Barons open the new year with a 5-game homestand starting tonight. OKC is 8-7-1-3 at the Cox Center and 9-6-0-1 away from home. The current homestand precedes a 5-city, 7-game trip that will take the Barons to Peoria for 2 games, then San Antonio, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Rockford and Chicago from Jan. 13-23.

RED LIGHT DISTRICT: Colin McDonald had a 4-game point streak snapped last night (3G, 1A), but he matched his season high with a +2 rating. McDonald leads the team in goals with 17. His previous career high was 13, set last season between Springfield (12) and Edmonton (1).

OUT FAST: Last night marked the fifth time in the last 7 games OKC has scored the first goal. The Barons are 12-7-0-2 when scoring first and 5-6-1-2 when falling behind 1-0.

FINISHING TOUCHES: During the 6-game winless streak that ended last night, the Barons were out-scored 9-2 in the third period. They out-scored San Antonio 3-1 last night in the final period and lead their opposition for the season 37-35 in third-period goals.

SHOOTING STARS: The Barons have faced a season-high shot total in 3 straight games. Texas fired 41 shots on Tuesday and San Antonio followed with 41 on Wednesday before dispatching 45 on Martin Gerber last night.

DESLAURIERS HONORED: Goalie Jeff Deslauriers has missed the last 3 OKC games while playing for Team Canada at the Spengler Cup in Switzerland. Canada lost the tournament final yesterday, but Deslauriers was named Outstanding Goaltender.

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