By Jim Byers, on 01/06/2012

Oklahoma City Barons (23-8-1-3) at Toronto Marlies (18-12-3-2)
Barons Game 36  |  Road Game 19 |  AHL Game 516
Jan. 6, 2012, 6:00 pm CST  | Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto, ON
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TONIGHT: It’s a matchup of division leaders as the Barons, atop the West and the entire AHL with 50 points, take on the North’s Toronto Marlies in the only regular season meeting in Toronto. They met Nov. 8 at the Cox Center, with the Barons scoring 3 unanswered goals including an empty-netter to record a 3-1 win. The Barons have won 2 straight to open this 4-game trip that started on New Year’s night in Houston (6-0) and followed on Wednesday with a 3-2 win at Lake Erie. OKC leads Abbotsford by 4 points. Toronto is atop the North by 6 over Rochester.

OFF THE TOP: The Barons are 14-3-0-1 on the road, collecting the AHL’s second-most road points (29) behind Abbotsford’s 30. OKC has the league’s second-best road point percentage at .806, trailing only St. John’s (.844). The Barons are giving up a league-best average of 2.34 goals per game while averaging 3.11 goals scored (6th). OKC is 2-0-0-0 halfway through a 4-game trip. The current road swing and 2-game win streak immediately follows a season-high 3 game winless drought emerging from the Christmas break that saw the Barons go 0-1-1-1. OKC has standing points in 10 of its last 12, going 7-2-1-2 in that span.

GO WEST: OKC sits atop the AHL with league highs in points (50), wins (23) and standing point percentage (.714). The West Division has the AHL’s top 3 teams by points, as Abbotsford has 46 and Houston 45.

BOARDWALK BOUND: Barons coach Todd Nelson will direct the Western Conference squad for the 2012 AHL All-Star Class at Atlantic City Jan. 30 after OKC secured the best point percentage in the conference with a 6-0 win at Houston on Jan. 1. Barons goalie Yann Danis, winger Philippe Cornet and defenseman Alex Plante were named on Wednesday to represent the Western Conference.

OIL CHANGES: Recent injuries sustained by the Barons and Edmonton Oilers have resulted in 12 OKC transactions since Christmas after the Barons had 12 player moves in the month of December prior to the Christmas break. Four of the Barons’ 7 defensemen have joined the club since the break: Dan Ringwald (who has 2 prior OKC stints this season), Andrew Martens, Darcy Campbell and Sean Erickson. Campbell and Erickson made their Barons debuts on Wednesday at Lake Erie.

WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT: Edmonton recalled Josh Green and Colten Teubert on Tuesday after promoting Teemu Hartikainen on Monday. Lennart Petrell was loaned by Edmonton on Monday after spending the season in the NHL. Defensemen Darcy Campbell (Chicago, ECHL) and Sean Erickson (Tulsa, CHL) have been signed to PTOs this week. Ryan Lowery, Kirill Tulupov, Triston Grant, Dylan Yeo, Linus Omark and Andrew Lord are not on the trip because of injury.

The Barons lead the AHL in 1-goal games with 24, out of 35 games played. OKC is 14-6-1-3 in 1-goal finals. Nine of OKC’s last 10 games have been decided by 1 goal (5-2-1-2) and 17 of the last 18 have come down to 1 goal or 1 plus an empty-netter. The Barons are 11-4-1-2 in their last 18.

CHORNEY RETURNS: Defenseman Taylor Chorney returns from a 3-game suspension tonight. He received the suspension for a check to the head of Rochester’s Evan Barlow on Dec. 27. Chorney has missed the last 4 games, 3 for the suspension and the contest before that because of illness.

STREAKING: Magnus Paajarvi has points in 5 straight, 1 goal, 7 assists) to account for all his points in an OKC uniform since debuting with the Barons Dec. 17. It’s the best OKC point streak this season.

UPPER ECHELON: Philippe Cornet is tied for fourth in the AHL with 17 goals. The leader, Norfolk’s Cory Conacher, has 21.  Cornet and Chicago’s Jordan Schroeder are tied for the AHL lead in game-winning goals with 5. Cornet fired a season high 6 shots on goal Wednesday at Lake Erie to drop to second in the league in shooting percentage at 32.1 behind former Marlie Joey Crabb, who has been with the Toronto Maple Leafs since early November. Hunter Tremblay is tied for the league high with 3 shorthanded goals.

Last 5 games:
Date      Opp.       Result     OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie             Attn.
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
Jan. 1     @ Hou     W, 6-0       Danis (0, 23)                   Kuemper (6, 23)         10,715
Jan. 4     @ LE       W, 3-2       Danis (2, 20)                   Cann (3, 33)              4,247

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.            Site                                Time   Broadcast
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
Jan. 15   Abbotsford   Cox Center                      4:00     KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 19   @ Rochester Blue Cross Arena           6:05         KXY 96.1 FM        

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