By Jim Byers, on 03/22/2013

Houston Aeros (32-22-4-4) @ Oklahoma City Barons (29-22-2-7)  

Barons Game 61  |  Home Game 32 |  AHL Game 939
March 22, 2013, 7 pm CDT  | Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Radio: KXY 96.1 FM
AHL Media Kit:

TONIGHT: The Barons wrap up a 2-game homestand by hosting the Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild) in the final home game of March. OKC dropped its most recent outing, 3-2, in a shootout on Tuesday against Rochester. The Aeros downed Charlotte last night 4-1 at the Toyota Center in Houston. This is the 10th of 12 meetings between OKC and Houston and the fifth at the Cox Center. The Barons are 2-4-0-3, with a 2-1-0-1 mark at home. The Barons are tied with Chicago and Abbotsford for 7th in the Western Conference with 67 points. Houston is 5th with 72 points.

OFF THE TOP: The Barons have at least 1 standing point in 15 of their last 21 games, going 11-6-0-4 in that span. After a 3-2 shootout loss to Rochester on Tuesday, OKC has a standing point in 3 straight overall at 2-0-0-1, however the Barons are winless in their last 3 at home (0-1-0-2) dating to a 2-game set with Rockford March 8-9. The Barons are 4-2-0-2 overall in March, but all 4 wins have been on the road. In its tenure in the AHL, OKC has not had a month where it failed to record a home win. This is the last home game in March, as OKC visits San Antonio tomorrow, then resumes a 4-game road swing on Wednesday in Chicago. Friday-Saturday dates at Peoria and Rockford complete the trip.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Entering tonight’s Western Conference games, 6 standing points separate 7 teams from No. 5 Houston to No. 11 Rockford. Houston has 72 points, with Rochester occupying 6th place with 70. OKC, Chicago and Abbotsford share 7th in terms of points with 67. Milwaukee and Rockford are tied for 10th with 66 points. The Barons have played fewer games (60) than all Western Conference teams except Chicago (59 games played) and Milwaukee (60). Including tonight, OKC has 16 games remaining, 7 at home and 9 on the road. The Barons have a 9 games left with Rochester, Chicago, Abbotsford and Houston, clubs that have the same number of points, or are within 5, of OKC in the conference standings.

ROSTER RUMBLES: The Barons recalled defenseman Nathan Deck from Stockton of the ECHL yesterday. In 2 Stockton stints, Deck has 7 goals and 15 assists. In 25 Barons games, Deck has 1 goal and 5 assists. Center Eric Hunter was loaned to Stockton on Tuesday. NHL veteran Ben Eager made his Barons debut on Tuesday, earning an assist. The 29-year-old opened the season with 14 games in Edmonton before clearing waivers last week. Prior to Tuesday, Eager’s last game in the AHL was Oct. 15, 2006 for the Philadelphia Phantoms. The Barons signed 20-year-old defenseman Kendall McFaull to an AHL contract on Monday, however he did not dress in Tuesday’s contest with Rochester. McFaull just completed a 4-year career with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL, where he was a captain the past 2 seasons. This year, McFaull scored 5 goals while setting career highs in games (71), assists (15) and points (20).

PIVOTAL PERFORMANCES: Toni Rajala brings a 7-game point streak (2G, 7A) into tonight, his longest AHL streak this season. Rajala had points in 13 straight as a member of the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL earlier this season. Mark Arcobello had a 5-game point streak (4G, 1A) snapped on Tuesday. Philippe Cornet has 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 22 games since rejoining the Barons from ECHL Stockton for a second time this season on Jan. 12. Jonathan Cheechoo has 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists) in 20 games with the Barons since joining the team Jan. 23. He collected his first 20 points in 7 multi-point games before earning 1 assist on March 13 at San Antonio.

OMENS: A win tonight would be the Barons’ first this season in a game following a shootout loss. OKC is 0-6-0-0 after a shootout defeat this season. In the game immediately after any type of shootout, win or loss, the Barons are a combined 1-8-0-1. OKC is 6-1-1-0 when Philippe Cornet scores a goal. The Barons are 5-0-0-0 when Jonathan Cheechoo scores. The last 2 games have ended in shootouts, a 3-2 win at San Antonio March 13 and a 3-2 setback on Tuesday vs. Rochester. It’s only the third time in club history consecutive games have ended in shootouts, joining Dec. 17-18, 2011 (a win vs. Houston and loss at Charlotte) and March 15-16, 2011 (back-to-back losses at Peoria and Grand Rapids).

Last 5 Games:
Date        Opp.     Result    OKC Goalie (GA,SV) Opp. Goalie               Attn. 
March 8   Rfd        SOL, 3-4  Hovinen (3, 34)             Hutton (3, 12)               3,758
March 9   Rfd        L, 4-7       Hovinen (6, EN, 29)      Karlsson (4, 27)            4,411 
March 10 @ SA     W, 3-2      Roy (2, 37)                   Grumet-Morris (3, 22)    6,858
March 13 @ SA     SOW, 3-2 Roy (2, 27)                   Grumet-Morris (2, 29)    5,606
March 19 Rch        SOL, 2-3  Danis (2,31)                  Leggio (2, 30)              3,093

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date         Opp.            Site                            Time     Broadcast
March 23   San Antonio  AT&T Center               7:00      KXY 96.1 FM
March 27   Chicago        Allstate Arena             7:00      KXY 96.1 FM
March 29   Peoria           Carver Arena               7:05      KXY 96.1 FM
March 30   Rockford       BMO Harris Bank Ctr.  7:05      KXY 96.1 FM
April 2        Hamilton        Cox Center                  7:00      KXY 96.1 FM


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