By Jim Byers, on 03/18/2011

Oklahoma City Barons (34-25-2-7) at Rockford Icehogs (27-30-4-5)
Game 69  |  Road Game 31  |  AHL Game 1022
Mar. 18, 2011, 7:05 pm CDT  | Rockford MetroCentre, Rockford, IL 
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TONIGHT: Fresh off consecutive 2-1 shootout losses at Peoria and Grand Rapids on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Barons continue a 9-game trip with their final visit of the year to Rockford to face the Icehogs, top affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Barons have won 3 of the 4 previous matchups with the Icehogs, including both games at the MetroCentre. The Barons are seventh in the West, 1 point back of sixth-place San Antonio and 2 behind sixth-place Chicago

OFF THE TOP: The Barons have dropped 5 of their last 6, including consecutive 2-1 shootouts, but have standing points in 3 of those 6 games. OKC has lost back-to-back games in regulation just twice since the first of the year: Jan. 2-7 and Mar. 8-10. OKC has played the most home games (38) and fewest road games (30, tied with Hamilton) in the AHL, an imbalance addressed with the current 9-game trip. OKC has the league’s 2nd-best point percentage on the road (.650) with an 18-9-0-3 mark. OKC is tied for 22nd in home point percentage (.500) with a 16-16-2-4 record in OKC. The last regular-season games at the Cox Center are April 1 (Rockford) and April 2 (Texas).

GERBER DAY-TO-DAY: Goaltender Martin Gerber had to leave Wednesday’s game at Grand Rapids with an upper body injury and is day-to-day. Bryan Pitton was reassigned from ECHL Stockton. In 5 games over previous OKC stints, Pitton is 3-1-0 with a 2.53 GAA and .918 save percentage.

SHUTTLE IN FULL USE: Eight opening-day Barons are currently with Edmonton, including injured defenseman Taylor Chorney. Following Wednesday’s game, the Oilers recalled Alex Giroux, Ryan O’Marra and Chris Vandevelde. It’s callup No. 2 of the season for Giroux and O’Marra and a career first for the rookie Vandevelde. Defenseman Taylor Fedun of Princeton, signed as a free agent for the next 2 seasons by Edmonton Mar. 8, has joined the Barons on an Amateur Tryout (ATO) for the remainder of this season. Fedun has yet to make his pro debut. An undrafted Edmonton native, Fedun was Princeton’s captain this season. On Wednesday, the Barons recalled left winger Jesse Gimblett from ECHL Stockton. It’s the third OKC stint this season for Gimblett, who opened with the team but didn’t play, then returned for 2 games in December. Gimblett has 13 goals and 9 assists in 43 games for Stockton. Forward Dusty Collins has signed a PTO. The Barons are his sixth team this season and fourth AHL club in 2010-11, in addition to San Antonio, Manitoba and Toronto. Collins has also played this season for ECHL Ontario and Florida.

CLOSE CALLS: The Barons have scored first in 2 straight, but in those contests at
Peoria and Grand Rapids OKC did not score after the opening period. Three of the last 4 Barons games, and 7 of the last 17, have been tied after regulation. The Barons are 5-7 in shootouts and 6-2 in games ending in OT. Four of the last 5 have been decided by 1 goal, with the Barons 16-6-2-7 in 1-goal games.

GOAL GAB: OKC has scored 3 goals or fewer in 17 of its last 18 games. The exception was Friday, in a 6-5 OT win over
Grand Rapids. Colin McDonald had a 3-game goal streak snapped on Wednesday. Defenseman Anthony Aiello recorded his first AHL goal on an OT winner Friday.

Grand Rapids out-shot the Barons 47-32 on Wednesday, firing a season high total against OKC. That snapped a stretch of 11 straight games where the Barons had out-shot the opposition. For the season, the Barons are 18-13-1-2 when out-shooting the opposition, 15-11-1-4 when out-shot and 1-1-0-1 when the shots are even.

Last 5 games:
Date      Opp.      Result        OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie          Attn.
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
Mar. 15   @ Peoria L, 1-2 (SO)   Gerber (1, 20)                 Bishop (1, 23)         3,784
Mar. 16   @ GR      L, 1-2 (SO)   Deslauriers (0, 10)           Pearce (1, 31)         7,125

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.                  Site                          Time   Broadcast
Mar. 19   @ Chicago          Allstate Arena           7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
Mar. 20   @ Chicago          Allstate Arena           3:00     KXY 96.1 FM
Mar. 22   @ Milwaukee       Bradley Center         7:00     KXY 96.1 FM                     
Mar. 25   @ Houston          Toyota Center          7:35     KXY 96.1 FM
Mar. 26   @ Houston          Toyota Center          7:35     KXY 96.1 FM  

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