By Jim Byers, on 01/01/2012

Oklahoma City Barons (21-8-1-3) at Houston Aeros (18-6-2-7)
Barons Game 34 | Road Game 17 | AHL Game 492
Jan. 1, 2012, 5:05 pm CST | Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Broadcast: News Radio 1000 KTOK

TONIGHT: The Barons open a four-game trip against the Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild). OKC has won all four meetings between the clubs this season, the last three by shootout. The trip continues with games Wednesday at Lake Erie, Friday at Toronto and Sunday at Hamilton. After a 4-3 loss at home to San Antonio last night, the Barons are tied with Abbotsford for the West Division lead with 46 points, one more than the Aeros. OKC is on its first three-game winless streak of the season, having gone 0-1-1-1 in its last 3. The Barons have played eight straight 1-goal games (details below).

OFF THE TOP: Last night concluded a three-game, post-Christmas homestand that saw OKC dip into its first three-game winless drought of the season with overtime and shootout losses against Rochester and last night’s 4-3 setback in regulation to San Antonio. The AHL’s top three teams by standing points reside in the West Division. The Barons and Abbotsford share the overall league lead with 46 points and a .697 point percentage. Houston is third with 45 points. The Barons have standing points in 8 of their last 10 (5-2-1-2) but have not won a game in regulation since a 3-2 decision at Texas Dec 10. A Barons win today sends Todd Nelson to Atlantic City as the Western Conference head coach at the AHL All-Star Classic Jan. 30. A Houston win gives the nod to Abbotsford coach Troy Ward.

CLOSE SHAVES: The Barons have played 33 games this season and a league-high 23 have been decided by one goal. OKC is 13-6-1-3 in 1-goal games. The Barons have played eight straight one-goal contests, going 3-2-1-2 in that time. OKC has played 16 straight decided by one goal or one plus an empty-net tally, going 9-4-1-2 in those games. Twenty-three of OKC’s last 24 games, spanning all of November and December, have ended with a one-goal final or one plus an empty-netter. The exception was a 4-1 win over Abbotsford at the Cox Center Nov. 18. OKC has played 4 straight 4-3 games immediately after a run of four consecutive 3-2 finals.

CHORNEY SITS: Defenseman Taylor Chorney was suspended three games by the AHL on Friday for an illegal check to the head of an opponent in Tuesday’s game vs. Rochester. Chorney began the suspension last night. He will be eligible to return this Friday at Toronto.

TEUBERT RETURNS: Defenseman Colten Teubert was returned on loan by Edmonton yesterday after his third stint of the season with the Oilers. Teubert will re-join the Barons today in Houston. He has appeared in 11 NHL games this season, earning one assist, and has played 17 AHL games with 2 goals and 4 assists.

STREAKS BUILDING: Magnus Paajarvi has points in three straight, collecting four assists in that time. Josh Green has points in three straight, two goals and one assist.

NETMINDING: David LeNeveu’s 2.21 goals-against average is fourth in the AHL behind Lake Erie’s Cedrick Desjardins (1.85), Worcester’s Tyson Sexsmith (1.98) and Manchester’s Jeff Zatkoff (2.04). After allowing 4 goals on 17 shots last night, LeNeveu’s save percentage dropped from .927 (tied for fourth) to .920 (tied for 10th). Yann Danis is ninth in GAA (2.32) and tied for fourth in wins (13).

BARONS AMONG AHL LEADERS: Philippe Cornet is tied for seventh in the AHL in goals with 15. All of Cornet’s goals came in October and November. He missed five games from Dec. 10-20 with an injury, returned Tuesday and Wednesday but did not play last night. Cornet and Ryan Keller are part of a large group tied for second in the AHL with four game-winning goals. Cornet remains No. 1 in shooting percentage at 34.1. Hunter Tremblay is tied with Hershey’s Chris Bourque for the league lead with three shorthanded goals.

Last 5 games:
Date Opp. Result OKC Goalie (GA,SV) Opp. Goalie Attn.
Dec. 18 @ Cha SOL, 2-3 LeNeveu (2, 38) Murphy (2, 21) 4,912
Dec. 20 @ Cha OTW, 4-3 LeNeveu (3, 24) Murphy (4, 22) 5,220
Dec. 27 Rch OTL, 3-4 Danis (4, 19) MacIntyre (3, 27) 4,044
Dec. 28 Rch SOL, 3-4 Danis, (3, 21) Leggio (3, 22) 3,090
Dec. 31 SA L, 3-4 LeNeveu (4, 13) Markstrom (3, 28) 4,859

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date Opp. Site Time Broadcast

Jan. 4 @ Lake Erie Quicken Loans Arena 6:00 1340 The Game
Jan. 6 @ Toronto Ricoh Coliseum 6:00 KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 8 @ Hamilton Copps Coliseum 2:00 KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 13 Rockford Cox Center 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 14 Abbotsford Cox Center 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM

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