BARONS GAME NOTES - MARCH 29
By Jim Byers,
Oklahoma City Barons (30-23-2-8) at Peoria Rivermen (30-29-4-3)
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TONIGHT: The Barons make their only visit of the year to Peoria to take on the Rivermen (St. Louis Blues). This is the third of a 4-game trip for the Barons, who dropped their most recent outing 3-2 in a 6-round shootout on Wednesday in Chicago. Peoria defeated the Barons 4-2 on Dec. 11 in the previous meeting this season in OKC. All-time, the Barons are 5-5-2-1 against the Rivermen, with a 3-1-1-1 mark at Carver Arena. OKC enters tonight’s game with 70 points, 10th in the Western Conference. Peoria has won 2 straight and 5 of 6 and is 13th with 67 points.
OFF THE TOP: The Barons have played 6 straight games ending with a 3-2 score, going 3-1-0-2 in that time. Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout loss snapped a 4-game road winning streak. The active 5-game unbeaten streak (4-0-0-1) matches the club high for the season. The Barons are 5-3-0-3 in March, with all 5 wins on the road. The home slate for March ended with an 0-2-0-2 record, the first month in club history the Barons failed to register at least 1 home win in a calendar month. OKC has standing points in 9 of the last 12 games, going 6-3-0-3. Yann Danis has played all 4 games since returning from his latest stint with the Edmonton Oilers, going 1-1-2 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in those 4 games.
SPECIALTIES: The Barons have gone a season-high 4 straight games without allowing a power play goal. OKC is 12-for-12 in its last 4 games on the PK. Prior to the current run, the Barons had 3 occasions this season where they were perfect on the penalty kill in 2 straight games. The Barons are 20-11-2-3 when scoring at least 1 power play goal and 11-4-1-0 when notching 2 or more with the man advantage. OKC has the league’s 2nd-best power play percentage at 21.3.
PIVOTAL PERFORMERS: Toni Rajala has recorded back-to-back 2-point games and has points in 9 of the last 10, with 3 goals and 10 assists in that time. Philippe Cornet has 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) and a +6 rating in 25 games since rejoining the Barons from ECHL Stockton for a second time this season on Jan. 12. Jonathan Cheechoo has 23 points (8 goals, 15 assists) and a +4 in 23 games with the Barons since joining the team on a PTO Jan. 23. Cheechoo has accumulated his 23 points in 9 games, including 8 multi-point contests. Taylor Fedun has 3 goals in the last 8 games after going 35 games without lighting the lamp dating to tallies in back-to-back games against Milwaukee Nov. 16-17.
ROSTER RUMBLES: Left winger Teemu Hartikainen was assigned by the Edmonton Oilers on Monday and played his first Barons game since Jan. 12 on Wednesday in Chicago. Hartikainen had spent the current NHL season with the Oilers, scoring 1 goal with 2 assists in 19 games. He had 11 goals and 27 points in 37 OKC games earlier this season. C.J. Stretch was released from his PTO on Monday and returned to the ECHL’s Ontario Reign, where he had 27 goals and 60 points in 57 games to open the season.
PLAYOFF SNAPSHOT: Entering tonight’s games, 9 points separate 9 teams vying for Calder Cup playoff spots in the Western Conference from the No. 5 position, where Rochester and Houston have 76 points, to No. 13 Peoria (67). Three teams share the 7th-most points with 71: Chicago, Milwaukee and Rockford. OKC is 10th with 70, followed by Abbotsford with 69, Lake Erie (68) and Peoria (67). The Barons and Chicago share the fewest games played in the Western Conference with 63. Including tonight, the Barons have 13 games remaining, 6 at home and 7 on the road.
TRENDS: Fifteen of OKC’s 30 wins have occurred when the Barons allow exactly 2 goals (15-4-0-1). The Barons are 19-4-0-1 when allowing either 1 or 2 goals. OKC is 7-1-1-0 when Philippe Cornet scores a goal. The Barons are 5-0-0-0 when Jonathan Cheechoo scores a goal and 8-1-0-0 when he records at least 1 point. OKC is 0-7-0-0 in games immediately following a shootout loss. Wednesday’s shootout defeat in Chicago dropped OKC’s record to 4-8 in tiebreakers. The Barons top the Western Conference in shootout losses. It also marked their first shootout loss this season when out-shooting the opposition, as OKC had 33 shots to Chicago’s 27.
Last 5 Games:
Next 5 games (all times Central):
April 7 Chicago Cox Center 4:00 KXY 96.1 FM
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