By Josh Evans, OKC Barons on 12/28/2011

Rochester Americans (14-12-4-1) at Oklahoma City Barons (21-7-1-2)
Barons Game 32  |  Home Game 16 |  AHL Game 461
Dec. 28, 2011, 7 pm CST  | Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Broadcast: AM 1340 The Game

TONIGHT: The Barons and Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres) wrap up a two-game series in the Americans’ first visit to OKC. The teams did not meet last season despite both being in the Western Conference. They’ll conclude the season series with consecutive games at Rochester Jan. 19-20. Rochester has won 3 straight overall after last night’s 4-3 OT win and is second in the North Division with 33 points, three back of Toronto. The Barons have the league’s best record by wins, points and point percentage and lead the West by two points, 45-43, over Houston.

OFF THE TOP: Last night’s 4-3 OT loss was the Barons’ first when leading at any intermission. They trailed after 2-1 after one last night, but took a 3-2 advantage into the second intermission to fall to 13-0-1-0 when leading after 2. The Barons have averaged the fewest goals allowed per game at 2.32. OKC allowed 2 Rochester power play goals last night in 5 times short, including the winner by Drew Schiestel, after surrendering just 5 power play goals in 62 times short coming into the game.

WEST IS BEST: OKC is atop the West Division with 45 points, 21 wins and a .726 standing point percentage, all highs in the league. The Barons are the only AHL team with a point percentage above .700. The West Division has the AHL’s top three teams by points, as Houston is second with 43 and Abbotsford third with 42.

COUNT ON A CLOSE ONE: The Barons have played 31 games this season and a league-high 21 have been decided by one goal. OKC is 13-5-1-2 in one-goal games. The Barons have played six straight one-goal contests, going 3-1-1-1 in that time. OKC has played 14 straight decided by one goal or one plus an empty-net tally, going 9-3-1-1 in those games. Twenty-one of OKC’s last 22 games, spanning all of November and December, have ended with a one-goal final or one plus an empty-netter.

DANIS RETURNS: Yann Danis returned to the lineup last night after missing the pre-Christmas, two-game trip to Charlotte because of the birth of his son Ryder Isaac, born Dec. 21. Danis’ streak of 5 straight winning decisions was snapped last night in his first setback since Nov. 19 vs. Abbotsford.

KNOCKING THE RUST OFF: Several Barons returned from injury layoffs last night. Josh Green produced a goal after missing the previous five games, four because of suspension and 1 (Dec. 20) because of illness. Philippe Cornet also returned from a five-game injury absence last night, while  Teemu Hartikainen played for the first time since sustaining an upper body injury at Rockford Nov. 26. Hartikainen missed 10 games.

NETMINDING: David LeNeveu’s 2.07 goals-against average is fourth in the league behind Lake Erie’s Cedrick Desjardins (1.61), Worcester’s Tyson Sexsmith (1.85) and Manchester’s Jeff Zatkoff (2.05). LeNeveu and Peoria’s Ben Bishop are tied for fourth in save percentage at .927. Yann Danis is tied for eighth in save percentage (.923), while ninth in GAA (2.29), third in wins (13) and second in shootout percentage (.929), having stopped 13 of 14 shootout attempts.

BARONS AMONG AHL LEADERS: Philippe Cornet is tied for fifth in the AHL in goals with 15. The leader, Norfolk’s Cory Conacher, has 18.  Cornet and Ryan Keller are part of a group tied for second in the AHL with 4 game-winning goals. Cornet remains No. 1 in shooting percentage at 34.1. Hunter Tremblay tops the league with 3 shorthanded goals.

ANOTHER TRY: Defenseman Dan Ringwald re-joined the Barons yesterday after signing his third Professional Tryout (PTO) of the season.

Last 5 games:
Date      Opp.       Result     OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie             Attn.
Dec. 13  Texas       L, 2-3        LeNeveu (L)/Danis          Beskorowany (2, 18)  2,393
Dec. 17  Houston   SOW, 3-2  Danis (2, 24)                   Kuemper (2, 22)         4,425
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  Rochester  OTL, 3-4    Danis (4, 19)                 MacIntyre (3, 27)        4,044

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.            Site                                Time   Broadcast
Dec. 31  San Antonio Cox Center                      7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 1     @ Houston   Toyota Center                 5:05     KXY 96.1 FM
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

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