BARONS WEEK IN REVIEW: APRIL 15 - 21
By Jim Byers,
Recap of Week 28, April 16-21 (4 games, 3-1-0-0)
Final regular season record: 40-25-2-9, 91 points, 5th in Western Conference
FAST FINISH: The Barons qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs for the third season in a row by finishing the regular campaign by winning 3 straight, 4 of their last 5 and 6 of their final 8 contests, all while compiling a 13-3-0-3 mark in their final 19 games. OKC did not allow more than 3 goals in any of their last 19 games, with Yann Danis playing 15 of those. Since returning from the Edmonton Oilers in mid-March, Danis went 10-2-3 with 2 shutouts, a 1.78 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. After not shutting out an opponent in the season’s first 71 games, the Barons lodged 3 shutouts in the final 5 outings: April 14 at Hamilton (4-0, Danis, 24 saves); April 19 vs. Abbotsford (1-0, Danis, 24 saves); and April 21 vs. Houston (3-0, Niko Hovinen, 20 saves). After halting a club-record 5-game losing streak on Jan. 19 (4 regulation losses and 1 overtime defeat from Jan. 6-18), the Barons went the final 37 games of the regular season without losing back-to-back games in regulation, going 22-9-0-6.
CHECKING UP ON THE OPPOSITION: As the fifth seed in the Western Conference, OKC will meet the No. 4 Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) in the best-of-5 first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. Charlotte finished with 92 points, 2nd in the South Division behind conference-leading Texas (97) and tied for 3rd in the Western Conference with Midwest Division-winner Grand Rapids. The Griffins get the higher seed by virtue of winning their division. Games 1-2 of the Barons-Checkers series are in OKC on Friday and Saturday, April 26-27 starting at 7 pm CDT. All playoff games will be broadcast on 96.1 FM KXY, okcbarons.com and AHLLive.com. Game 3, plus Games 4 and 5 if necessary, will take place at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte on May 1, 3 and 4 at 6 pm CDT. The Barons went 4-3-1-0 against the Checkers this season, winning 3 of 4 at Time Warner Cable Arena.
QUICK HITS: The Barons did not allow an opponents’ power play goal in their final 7 games, going 17-for-17 on the penalty kill in that span. The PK was perfect in 16 of the last 17 games at 43-for-44 starting with a 3-for-3 performance on March 19. The Barons’ PK percentage rose from 76.2 prior to the March 19 game to its final figure of 79.3. The Barons finished with the league’s top power play percentage at 21.6. Mark Arcobello led the team with 68 points (22 goals, 46 assists), the third-best single-season point total in the club’s 3 seasons in the AHL. Arcobello finished tied with Chad Kolarik of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for third in the AHL in points behind Rockford’s Brandon Pirri (75) and Hershey’s Jeff Taffe (71). Martin Marincin finished in a multiple-way tie for 11th in the AHL in plus-minus at +20. Toni Rajala was tied for 19th at +18. From Jan. 11, when he was recalled from ECHL Stockton for the second and final time, through the end of the season, Rajala was 3rd in the AHL with 43 points in 41 games (16 goals, 27 assists).
40 AGAIN: The Barons finished with a record of 40-25-2-9, the club’s third consecutive 40 (or more) win campaign. Last season was the first time in Edmonton Oilers’ NHL tenure their top affiliate, shared or exclusive, had put together back-to-back 40 (or more) win seasons.
CHEECHOO TRAIN: Former NHL Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo joined the Barons Jan. 23 and in 35 games scored 13 goals and 19 assists for 32 points. The 2005-06 NHL goal-scoring leader with 56 goals, Cheechoo recorded 10 multi-point games with the Barons, which was 6th on the team. OKC went 9-0-0-0 when Cheechoo scored a goal and 14-1-0-0 when he registered a point.
BARONS HONORED: Justin Schultz is the winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman for the 2012-13 season as voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities. Schultz is the first rookie in the 55-year history of the Eddie Shore Award to win the honor. He played 34 games for the Barons to start the season and was caught by Edmond, Okla., native Matt Donovan of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the point lead among defenseman on the season’s final day. Schultz and Donovan finished with 48 points. Schultz led all blue-liners with 18 goals. Rookie defenseman Brandon Davidson is the 2013 recipient of the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award as the AHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey. The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities. Davidson was less than a month into his first season of professional hockey when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and required immediate treatment. He underwent successful surgery and chemotherapy, began skating with the Barons again in January and made his return to the lineup on Feb. 8.
Upcoming games (Calder Cup Playoffs Round 1 vs. Charlotte, all times Central)
Date Time Arena Radio
April 26 7 pm Cox Convention Center KXY 96.1 FM
April 27 7 pm Cox Convention Center KXY 96.1 FM
May 1 6 pm Time Warner Cable Arena KXY 96.1 FM
May 3 (if necessary) 6 pm Time Warner Cable Arena KXY 96.1 FM
May 4 (if necessary) 6 pm Time Warner Cable Arena KXY 96.1 FM
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