By Jim Byers, on 01/08/2012

Oklahoma City Barons (23-9-1-3) at Hamilton Bulldogs (15-14-1-4)
Barons Game 37 | Road Game 20 | AHL Game 532
Jan. 8, 2012, 2:00 pm CST | Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, ON
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TODAY: The Barons wrap up a four-game trip with their only regular season appearance of 2011-12 at Copps Coliseum against the Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens). It’s the first of two games in the season series, with the OKC matchup on April 3. Last season, each visiting team earned a win in the two-game regular season series. The clubs met in a first-round Calder Cup playoff series, with Hamilton prevailing 4-2. The Bulldogs won all three playoff games at Copps Coliseum. OKC leads the West Division by three points over Abbotsford. The Barons are 2-1-0-0 on the trip.

OFF THE TOP: The Barons are 14-4-0-1 on the road, collecting the AHL’s second-most road points (29) behind Abbotsford’s 30. OKC has the league’s fifth-best road point percentage at .763. OKC has not lost consecutive road games this season. The Barons are giving up a league-best average of 2.33 goals per game. Friday’s 2-0 loss at Toronto marked the second time the Barons have been shut out this season. The other was in the season opener at Texas (7-0) on Oct. 9. OKC has standing points in 10 of its last 13, going 7-3-1-2 in that span. Friday’s loss was the Barons’ first against a North Division team, dropping them to 5-1-1-2 against the North.

PACE-SETTERS: OKC sits atop the AHL with league highs in points (50), wins (23) and standing point percentage (.694).

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 14 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’ seven 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: Yesterday, Josh Green and Teemu Hartikainen were returned to the Barons, but both are due to rejoin the team in OKC on Monday. Edmonton recalled Green and Colten Teubert on Tuesday after promoting Hartikainen on Jan. 2. 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 signed to PTOs on this trip. Ryan Lowery, Kirill Tulupov, Triston Grant, Dylan Yeo, Linus Omark and Andrew Lord are not on the trip because of injury. Ryan Keller missed Friday’s game after receiving a hit on Wednesday from Lake Erie’s Adrian Foster, who was suspended for 3 games.

CLOSE SHAVES: The Barons lead the AHL in one-goal games with 24, out of 36 games played. OKC is 14-6-1-3 in one-goal finals. Nine of OKC’s last 11 games have been decided by one goal (5-3-1-2) and 18 of the last 19 have come down to one goal or one plus an empty-netter. The Barons are 11-5-1-2 in their last 19.

PAAJARVI’S STREAK HALTED: Magnus Paajarvi had a five-game point streak (1 goal, 7 assists) snapped on Friday at Toronto. All eight of Paajarvi’s OKC points since joining the team Dec. 17 came during the streak, which is the team’s longest of the season.

UPPER ECHELON: Philippe Cornet is tied for fifth in the AHL with 17 goals. The leaders, Norfolk’s Cory Conacher and Syracuse’s Kyle Palmieri, have 21. Cornet is among a tie for the AHL lead in game-winning goals with five. Cornet leads all players currently in the AHL in shooting percentage at 31.5. Hunter Tremblay is tied for the league high with three shorthanded goals.

Last 5 games:
Date     Opp.     Result OKC Goalie (GA,SV)     Opp. Goalie      Attn.
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
Jan. 6      @ Tor      L, 0-2       Danis (1, EN, 14)   Rynnas (0, 24)        3,117

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

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
Jan. 20    @ Rochester   Blue Cross Arena    6:35         KXY 96.1 FM

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