By Cassie Gage, OKC Barons on 04/19/2013

The Oklahoma City Barons moved closer to clinching a spot in the 2013 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs Friday evening with a 1-0 win over the Abbotsford Heat. Oklahoma City starting goaltender Yann Danis turned away 24 shots for his second shutout of the season. The Barons (38-25-2-9) need just one point in two games this weekend to qualify for the postseason.

The two teams traded action early in the first period before Ryan Martindale had a chance turned away by Barry Brust. The Barons had a quality scoring opportunity on their only power play chance of the period with Brust stretched in the crease, but he stopped Mark Arcobello’s wraparound attempt. Jonathan Cheechoo pelted Brust with shots before the end of the period but none found the back of the net. Oklahoma City ended the fast-paced, aggressive period with a 12-8 lead in shots on goal.

Danis came through in the opening minutes of the second period to keep the game scoreless. Danis turned away Akim Aliu before making a big stretch save to keep the Heat off the board.

It appeared Oklahoma City had broken the goose egg but Randy Jones high-sticked the puck at the blue line before shooting it on net resulting in a disallowed goal. After the disallowed goal, captain Josh Green centered the puck in front for Phillippe Cornet but Brust made the save. Danis came up big again late in the period to keep it 0-0 at the end of the frame. The Heat out-shot Oklahoma City 10-9 in the period as the Barons carried a 21-18 lead into the locker room at the second intermission.

The defense for both teams continued to stand strong in the third period as Danis and Brust fought to keep the game scoreless. Jones got another chance after the disallowed goal earlier with a point shot that Brust found and froze.

Oklahoma City’s persistence paid off at 13:21 in the period as the Arcobello-Cheechoo-Rajala line finally broke Brust. Cheechoo fanned on his initial shot and his second hit the post before Rajala got a backhander past Brust to break the scoreless tie.

With just over three minutes remaining in the game, the Heat put pressure on Danis but the goalie stood tall. Abbotsford pulled Brust with a minute remaining and with 40 seconds left in the game, Jones went off for delay of game to give the Heat a 6-on-4 power play. The Heat called timeout but were unable to get on the board as Oklahoma City won 1-0. The Barons out-shot the Heat 31-24, holding opponents to 28 or fewer shots in 12 of the last 14 games.

Abbotsford went 0-for-3 on the power play. Oklahoma City has not allowed a power play goal in 14 of the last 15 games.

The Barons close out the regular season with a pair of games this weekend. Oklahoma City and Abbotsford meet Saturday evening at 7 p.m., while Houston comes to town for a 4 p.m. faceoff on Sunday afternoon.

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