GAME NOTES

BARONS PLAYOFF GAME 1 NOTES - APRIL 19

By Jim Byers,

(1) Oklahoma City Barons (45-22-4-5) at (8) Houston Aeros (35-25-5-11)
Calder Cup Playoffs |  Series “E” Western Conference Quarterfinals | Game 1
April 19, 2012, 7:05 pm CDT  | Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TONIGHT: The Oklahoma City Barons, No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, open a best-of-5, first-round Calder Cup playoff series against the Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild) at the Toyota Center. Games 1 and 2 take place in Houston tonight and tomorrow, with the remainder of the series at OKC starting Sunday. The Barons won 7 of 8 regular-season meetings with Houston, 3 by shootout, while going 3-0-0-1 at Toyota Center. OKC clinched a playoff berth March 30 with a win at Milwaukee and locked up the conference title with a 5-2 decision on Saturday at Texas.

OFF THE TOP: OKC finished with the second-most standing points in the AHL (99) behind the Norfolk Admirals, who won a professional hockey record 28 consecutive games from Feb. 10 to the end of the season. Norfolk finished with 113 points. OKC’s point percentage  of .651 was second only to Norfolk’s .743. The Barons had the league’s third-best road record at 24-10-1-3. They tied for the seventh-best home mark at 21-12-3-2. The Barons averaged the second-fewest goals against per game at 2.32, allowing 1 more goal than the Toronto Marlies, 176-175.

WESTWARD HO: OKC was 25-8-0-1 against West Division clubs this season, with a 13-3-0-1 mark on the road. The Barons went 8-0-0-1 on the road against West rivals in between losses at San Antonio Dec. 3 and April 15.

TALE OF TWO SEASONS: The Barons won 7 of 8 meetings with the Aeros this season, with the only loss at Toyota Center on March 18 in a shootout, 2-1. Last season’s inaugural Barons won only once in 10 tries against the Aeros, compiling a record of 1-6-1-2. In a pair of regular seasons, OKC is 4-3-0-2 at Houston.

DANIS VS. HOUSTON: Yann Danis played every minute of the season series against the Aeros this season, going 7-0-1 with 2 shutouts, a 1.32 goals-against average and .946 save percentage. He allowed 11 goals and made 193 saves on 204 shots. In his career against Houston, Danis is 9-0-2 with a 1.48 GAA and .938 save percentage in appearances with OKC (8), Hamilton (2) and Bridgeport (1).

DANIS THE TOP GOALIE: Yann Danis was named last week the winner of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for the 2011-12 season, as voted by AHL coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities. Danis’ other accolades this season have included a scoreless period in the AHL All-Star Classic, the first by a goalie in 7 years, and his being named a first-team AHL All-Star. Danis finished second in the AHL in goals-against average at 2.07, trailing only Toronto’s Ben Scrivens (2.04). Danis tied for fifth in wins (26), tied for second in shutouts (5) and tied for eighth in save percentage (.924).

POWER TRIPS: The Barons went 27-1-2-4 when scoring at least 1 power play goal during the regular season. When they tallied 2 or more in a game, they were 7-0-0-1. When held without a power play goal, the Barons were 18-21-2-1. The Barons enter the post-season having gone 0-for-29 on the man advantage in the final 9 games and 1-for-36 in the last 11. The Barons killed off 18 of the last 20 times short over the last 4 games, with the only power play goals allowed in that time coming on 2-man disadvantages.

GOOD OMENS: When the Barons receive a goal from a defenseman they’re 15-2-0-2. The team’s leading goal scorer, Philippe Cornet, scored his 24 goals in 19 different games. The Barons were 18-1-0-0 when Cornet lit the lamp. The only loss was a 3-2 setback at Milwaukee Nov. 13, when Cornet scored both OKC goals.

PRODUCTIVE FARMING: The past 2 years mark the first time in the Edmonton’s NHL tenure that its top affiliate, shared or exclusive, has had back-to-back 40-win seasons. Last season’s inaugural edition of the Barons also qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs, going 40-29-2-9, good for 91 points.


RECENT MOVES:
April 8: Teemu Hartikainen, Chris VandeVelde and Colten Teubert returned on loan from Edmonton.
April 10: Cameron Abney reassigned to Stockton.
April 12: Mike Marcou released from ATO.
April 17: Tyler Bunz signed ATO

Last 5 games:
Date        Opp.     Result     OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie            Attn.
April 6      Peo       L, 1-3       LeNeveu (2, EN, 24)       Allen (1, 31)               3,105
April 7      Chi         L, 0-3       Danis (3, 27)                   Lack (0, 29)               3,490
April 13    Hou       W, 2-1      Danis (1, 23)                   Hackett (2, 25)           5,550
April 14    @ Tex    W, 5-2      LeNeveu (2, 23)             Campbell (4, EN, 21) 6,863
April 15    @ SA     L, 0-1       Danis (1, 24)                   Markstrom (0, 19)       9,330

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date        Opp.          Site                                Time   Broadcast
April 20    Houston      Toyota Center                 7:35     KXY 96.1 FM
April 22    Houston      Cox Center                      7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
April 24*   Houston      Cox Center                      7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
April 25*   Houston      Cox Center                      7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
* If necessary

Playoff notes and distinctions
SHORT STOPS:
The Barons tied for the fifth-most times shorthanded this season, 348. OKC allowed 50 power play goals in those 348 disadvantages, an 85.6 percent rate that was second in the AHL. In the final 23 games of the regular season, the Barons had more power plays than penalty kills just twice, April 3 and April 14. In 17 of the last 23 games the opposition had more power play chances and on 4 occasions the opportunities were even. In 11 of the season’s final 13 games a Baron took the first minor penalty.

HUNTING FOR SHORTHANDERS: Hunter Tremblay tied with Manchester’s Stefan Legein and Hershey’s Chris Bourque for the AHL lead in shorthanded goals with 5. For the season, OKC allowed a league-low 1 shorthanded goal while scoring 8.

EVEN KEELED: The most losses the Barons had in a single month this season was 4, in February and March. The Barons lost back-to-back games in regulation just 3 times all season. Their longest stretch without winning was 4 games on two occasions. The Barons went 0-3-1-0 from Jan. 6-14 and 0-2-1-1 from March 2-7. After a regulation loss this season, the Barons rebounded with a record of 15-3-2-1. The longest winning streak was 7 games from Jan. 15-Feb. 2.

FRONT-RUNNING: The Barons were the only team in the AHL to not have a regulation loss when leading at an intermission. OKC was 24-0-2-1 when leading after one period and 33-0-4-0 when leading after 2.

MEN WITHOUT HATS: The Barons did not have a hat trick this season. On 17 occasions a Baron produced 2 goals in a game, led by Philippe Cornet’s five 2-goal efforts.

SCORE FOUR AND WIN: When the Barons scored 4 or more goals in a game this season they went 21-0-0-0.

PLUS-MINUS: Ryan Keller tied for ninth in the AHL in plus-minus at +22. Josh Green tied for 14th at +19.

10 IS TOPS: OKC’s 10-1 win in Game 3 of the season, the Oct. 15 home opener against Texas, stood up as the most goals tallied by a club in a single AHL game this season. The Barons’ 6 goals in the second period remained the most scored in a period by an AHL team this season, and the team’s total of 18 assists and 28 points are also league highs. The Barons’ season high for margin of victory and defeat were established in the season’s first 3 games, a 7-0 defeat at Texas in Game 1 and the 10-1 win over the Stars in Game 3.

BUNZ SIGNS ATO: Goaltender Tyler Bunz is due to rejoin the Barons when the series shifts to OKC for Game 3. The 20-year-old just finished a 4-season junior career with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL. Bunz, the club leader in career wins with 115, finished fifth in the WHL this season in goals-against average at 2.57 to go with a 39-17-2 record and a .921 save percentage, which was second in the league. Bunz was Edmonton’s fifth-round pick, 121st overall, in 2010.

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