By Jim Byers, on 10/13/2012

TODAY: The Oklahoma City Barons seek a split of a season-opening 2-game set in Cleveland in a matinee rematch with the Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado Avalanche). The Monsters upended the Barons 2-1 in Friday’s opener for both clubs. It was the Barons’ first loss at “The Q” since Jan. 18, 2011. OKC won both games in Cleveland last season. This 2-game set is the Barons’ only visit to Cleveland this season. Last year, OKC made the Calder Cup playoffs for the second straight season, had the most points in the Western Conference (99) and made the Conference Final.

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FRIDAY’S RECAP: Lake Erie’s Andrew Agozzino converted a 2-on-1 with 3:33 remaining last night to send the Monsters to a 2-1 win. Lake Erie never trailed. Bill Thomas opened the scoring at 3:05 of the second and Mark Arcobello answered with a 2-man advantage tally at 14:16 of that period. OKC was 1-for-7 on the power play while killing off all 6 times short. Sami Aittokallio made 29 saves in the while Yann Danis stopped 27 of 29 Lake Erie shots.
FAMILIAR FACES:  The Barons’ opening-day roster consists of 25 players: 16 forwards, 7 defensemen and 2 goaltenders. Eighteen players on the opening roster played at least 1 game for the Barons last season, including 16 skaters and both goalies, Yann Danis and Olivier Roy.
BEHIND THE BENCH: Todd Nelson returns for his third season as OKC’s head coach. The 43-year-old native of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, entered this season 85-57-14 behind the Barons’ bench, a .590 point percentage. The bulk of OKC’s staff also returns for a third season, as rejoining Nelson are assistant coaches Gerry Fleming and Rocky Thompson, athletic trainer Brandon Dionne and equipment manager Matt Mitchell. New to the team are assistant equipment manager Al Oman and Strength and Conditioning coach Kevin Hanlon.
SCHEDULE NUGGETS: Lake Erie is the opponent for 4 of OKC’s first 5 games, however after this early flurry the teams do not meet for the remainder of the regular season. After today, the Barons’ next road game is Nov. 4 at San Antonio. They’ll play a season-high 7 straight at home spanning 3 full weeks. Thirty-six of OKC’s 76 games are against Texas-based teams (12 each against Texas, Houston and San Antonio).
GOING SOUTH: Three Western Conference teams switched divisions this off-season and the Barons’ former West Division is now the South, consisting of OKC, the 3 Texas teams and the Charlotte Checkers.
The Barons’ opening-day roster features 12 players drafted with the 48th overall selection or higher in the first 2 rounds of the NHL Entry Draft.
Player                 Round              Year   Taken by
Nugent-Hopkins   1, 1st overall     2011   Edmonton
Paajarvi               1, 10th overall   2009   Edmonton
Teubert                1, 13th overall   2008   L.A.
Plante                  1, 15th overall   2007   Edmonton
Eberle                  1, 22nd overall  2008   Edmonton
Green                  2, 30th overall   1996   L.A.
Pitlick                   2, 31st overall   2010   Edmonton
Lander                 2, 40th overall   2009   Edmonton
Schultz                2, 43rd overall   2008   Anaheim
Marincin               2, 46th overall   2010   Edmonton
Byers                   2, 48th overall   2004   NYR
Hamilton              2, 48th overall   2010   Edmonton
OKC: 45-22-4-5, 99 pts.   1st, West Division and Western Conference
Lake Erie: 37-29-3-7, 84 pts.        3rd, North Division
Oct. 8: Philippe Cornet and Toni Rajala reassigned by Edmonton to Stockton (ECHL).
Oct. 8: Teigan Zahn loaned by OKC to Stockton.
Player                    Issue                Out                 

Tyrvainen             Back spasms   day-to-day

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