By Jim Byers, on 03/15/2011

Oklahoma City Barons (34-25-2-5) at Peoria Rivermen (36-25-2-5)
Game 67  |  Road Game 29  |  AHL Game 1006
Mar. 15, 2011, 7:05 pm CDT  | Carver Arena, Peoria, IL
Broadcast: News Radio 1000 KTOK

TONIGHT: The Barons open a 9-game, 14-day road trip with the eighth and final meeting of the year with the Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis Blues). OKC is 4-2-1-0 against the Rivermen, 3-0-0-0 at Carver Arena by a combined score of 14-4. The Barons dropped their most recent game 5-2 on Saturday at home against Grand Rapids, splitting a weekend set with the Griffins. OKC is seventh in the West, 1 point back of sixth and 4 behind the fourth-place tie between Peoria and Chicago.

OFF THE TOP: The Barons have dropped 3 of their last 4 games after splitting a Friday-Saturday set at home with Grand Rapids. OKC has played the most home games (38) and fewest road games (28) in the AHL, an imbalance to be addressed on a 9-game trip that starts tonight. OKC has the league’s 2nd-best point percentage (.661) on the road with an 18-9-0-1 mark. OKC is tied for 22nd in home point percentage (.500) with a 16-16-2-4 record at the Cox Convention Center. The last remaining regular-seasons games at the Cox Center are April 1 (Rockford) and April 2 (Texas).

GIROUX, HARTIKAINEN SWITCH PLACES: All-Star captain Alexandre Giroux was assigned to the Barons yesterday from the Edmonton Oilers. Giroux was recalled on an emergency basis Mar. 5 and scored 1 goal and 1 assist in 5 Oilers games in his first promotion of the season. Giroux returns to the Barons third in the AHL in goals (29), second in points (65) and tied for first in game-winning goals (7). Rookie Teemu Hartikainen was recalled by Edmonton yesterday for his first NHL promotion. Hartikainen departs the Barons as the team’s third-leading scorer with 17 goals and 25 assists.

FRIENDLY CONFINES? The last time the Barons visited Peoria was the start of a 7-game trip in mid-January. OKC won back-to-back games over the Rivermen to ignite a 6-1 road swing. Tonight’s game opens a 9-game trip. OKC has taken all 3 games in Carver Arena this season.

TURNAROUND TIME: The Barons’ offensive output in Friday’s 6-5 OT win over Grand Rapids snapped a stretch of 14 games during which they did not score more than 3 in a single contest. Prior to Friday, the last time they had totaled more than 3 was Jan. 29 vs. Chicago in a 5-2 win. They went 7-7 in that string of 3-goal or fewer games. Their 2 power play goals on Friday marked the first time since Jan. 23, a span of 17 games, they tallied more than 1 man-advantage goal. OKC was 2-for-3 on Friday on the power play.

STREAKS: Rookie Chris Vandevelde has a goal in 3 straight games, his longest streak of the season. Colin McDonald has goals in 2 straight and is fifth in the AHL with a career-high 27 goals. Mark Arcobello had 3 goals over a 2-game span Thursday and Friday before being held scoreless on Saturday. Defenseman Anthony Aiello recorded his first AHL goal on an overtime winner Friday against Grand Rapids. Aiello did not dress for Saturday’s game.

SHOT CHART: The Barons have out-shot the opposition in 10 straight games, a span where they’ve gone 4-6-0-0. For the season, the Barons are 18-13-1-1 when out-shooting the opposition, 15-11-1-3 when out-shot and 1-1-0-1 when the shots are even.

ODDS AND ENDS: Four of OKC’s top 7 point scorers - Teemu Hartikainen (3rd), Liam Reddox (5th), Linus Omark (6th) and Jeff Petry (7th) - are currently with Edmonton. Reddox and Omark last played for OKC on Jan. 2...defenseman Taylor Fedun of Princeton, signed as a free agent for the next 2 seasons by Edmonton Mar. 8, is due to join the Barons on an Amateur Tryout (ATO) today.

Last 5 games:
Date      Opp.      Result        OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie          Attn.
Mar. 5     ABB        W, 2-1 (OT)  Gerber (1, 22)                 Irving (2, 35)            4,669
Mar. 8     Manitoba L, 1-4           Gerber (4, 24)                 Weiman (1, 28)        3,110
Mar. 10   @ SA      L, 3-4           Gerber (4, 17)                 Climie (3, 24)           4,606
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

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.                  Site                          Time   Broadcast
Mar. 16   @ Grand Rapids Van Andel Arena      6:00     KXY 96.1 FM
Mar. 18   @ Rockford         MetroCentre             7:05     KXY or KTOK
Mar. 19   @ Chicago          Allstate Arena           7:00     KXY or KTOK
Mar. 20   @ Chicago          Allstate Arena           3:00     KXY or KTOK
Mar. 22   @ Milwaukee       Bradley Center         7:00     KXY 96.1 FM   

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