By Jim Byers, on 03/26/2011

Oklahoma City Barons (36-27-2-8) at Houston Aeros (42-26-1-5)
Game 74  |  Road Game 36  |  AHL Game 1081
Mar. 26, 2011, 7:35 pm CDT  | Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TONIGHT: The Barons and Houston Aeros play the second game of 3 straight at the Toyota Center. Houston opened the series with a 4-1 win last night. This is the eighth of 10 meetings between the clubs and the third in Houston. The teams have split the games at the Toyota Center, but the Aeros have won 6 of the 7 previous meetings. Houston is second in the West, 1 point behind Milwaukee. OKC is fourth, 4 points back of third-place Texas and 8 behind Houston.

OFF THE TOP: The Barons own the AHL’s fourth-best road point percentage at .629 behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (.700) and Hershey (.635) and
Milwaukee (.632). OKC is 20-11-0-4 on the road. Tonight’s game is the eighth of the Barons’ season-high 9-game trip. OKC is 2-2-0-3 so far.

GIROUX CONNECTS IN RETURN: OKC’s leading scorer, Alexandre Giroux, was returned on loan by
Edmonton Wednesday and scored in his first game back last night. He’s tied for second in the AHL with 68 points, 14 behind Binghamton’s Corey Locke, and tied for fourth in goals with 30. Giroux is part of a 4-way tie for the league lead in game-winning goals with 7.

MCDONALD AMONG LEADERS: Right winger Colin McDonald is tied for second in the league in goals (with Portland’s Mark Mancari) with a career-high 32, 2 goals behind Hamilton’s Nigel Dawes. McDonald also leads the league with 15 power play tallies. The AHL’s regular-season goal champ receives the Willie Marshall Award, named after the league’s all-time leader in goals, assists and games played. It’s been won the past 2 years by Alex Giroux.

Edmonton signed center Tanner House to a 2-year deal on Saturday. The contract takes effect in the fall, but House, captain of the University of Maine the past 2 seasons, is with the Barons on an Amateur Tryout. House debuted on Tuesday at Milwaukee. Defenseman Brandon Davidson signed an ATO on Wednesday. The 19-year-old was a sixth-round pick by Edmonton in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and just concluded his second WHL season with the Regina Pats.

HE SHOOTS...: Rookie Mark Arcobello fired 10 shots on the goal Tuesday at Milwaukee, joining Alex Giroux and Linus Omark as the only Barons with a double-digit shot total this season. Giroux had 10 vs. Chicago Jan. 29 and Omark a team-high 12 while scoring 5 goals on Nov. 7. Arcobello shared the team high last night with 4 shots on goal.

ODDS AND ENDS: Goaltender Martin Gerber has missed 5 straight with an upper body injury sustained at Grand Rapids on Mar. 16...Jeff Deslauriers has started all 5 games in Gerber’s absence, also Deslauriers was lifted after the first period last night and replaced by Bryan Pitton...Jesse Gimblett, promoted from ECHL Stockton Mar. 16 after Alex Giroux, Ryan O’Marra and Chris Vandevelde were recalled by Edmonton, scored his first AHL goal on Saturday at Chicago and it proved to be the winner in a 4-3 victory...Gimblett picked up his first AHL assist on Tuesday at Milwaukee...all 5 of defenseman Bryan Helmer’s goals this season have come on the opening-day Barons are on recall to Edmonton: Linus Omark, Liam Reddox, Jeff Petry, Taylor Chorney (currently on IR), Teemu Hartikainen, O’Marra and Vandevelde...the Barons wrapped up the Illinois portion of their schedule during this trip, ending the season 9-1-0-1 in the Land of Lincoln with the only regulation loss in the final game at Chicago on Sunday.

Last 5 games:
Date      Opp.      Result        OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie          Attn.
Mar. 18   @ Rfd     W, 5-1          Deslauriers (1, 40)           Toivonen (5, 16)      3,668
Mar. 19   @ Chi      W, 4-3          Deslauriers (3, 21)           Pasquale (4, 22)     14,533
Mar. 20   @ Chi      L, 0-4           Deslauriers (4, 35)           Pasquale (0, 34)     8,310
Mar. 22   @ Mil       L, 3-4 (SO)   Deslauriers (3, 27)           Smith (3, 35)           2,927
Mar. 25   @ Hou    L, 1-4           Deslauriers (3, 14)           Hackett (1, 26)        6,313

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.                  Site                          Time   Broadcast
Mar. 27   @ Houston          Toyota Center          4:05     KXY 96.1 FM
Apr. 1     Rockford             Cox Center               7:05     KXY 96.1 FM
Apr. 2     Texas                  Cox Center               7:05     KXY 96.1 FM
Apr. 8     @ San Antonio   AT&T Center            7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
Apr. 9     @ Texas             Cedar Park Center    7:00     KXY 96.1 FM 

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