By Jim Byers, on 02/04/2013

Recap of Week 17, Jan. 31-Feb. 1 (2 games, 1-1-0-0)

Season record: 21-18-2-4, 4th, South Division, -12 pts.; 9th, Western Conference
•      THE WEEK PAST: The Barons and Charlotte Checkers split a 2-game set on Thursday and Friday at the Cox Center. The Checkers took the first game 2-1 on a goal by defenseman Bobby Raymond with 20.7 seconds left in the third period. On Friday, the Barons matched their season high for goals in a game in a 7-3 win, leveling the season series at 3-3, with 1 Charlotte win in overtime. Friday’s game was the first victory by the home club in 6 head-to-head meetings this season. The Barons and Checkers wrap up an 8-game season series at Time Warner Cable Arena March 3-4.
•      THE WEEK AHEAD: This is the second of a 4-week span where the Barons play just 2 games back-to-back against the same opponent. The Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) visit the Cox Center on Friday and Saturday at 7 pm CST. The Griffins won both matchups so far this season, starting with a 5-2 decision on Jan. 4 with the help of a 5-goal second period. On Jan. 23, OKC rallied from a 2-goal deficit to tie the score at various stages 2-2, 3-3 and 4-4, only to have the Griffins win 5-4 in a shootout. Both those games were contest at Van Andel Arena.
•      CHEECHOO MATCHES CLUB MARK: Former NHL All-Star and Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo equaled two club records in Friday’s 7-3 win over Charlotte. Cheechoo matched the club mark, set three times previously, for points in a game with 5, on 1 goal and 4 assists. The mark is shared with Jordan Eberle (4G, 1 A, Dec. 15, 2012), Alexandre Giroux (3G, 2A, Jan. 29, 2011), and Linus Omark (5 goals, Nov. 7, 2010). Cheechoo’s 4 assists on Friday also match the club mark, set several times, most recently twice this season by Mark Arcobello. Cheechoo, signed to a Professional Tryout Contract (PTO) Jan. 20, has 1 goal and 6 assists in 5 Barons games.
•      HOVINEN DEBUTS A WINNER: Goaltender Niko Hovinen made his Barons and AHL debuts in Friday’s 7-3 win. The 24-year-old native of Helsinki, Finland, was claimed off waivers by the Edmonton Oilers Jan. 25 from Philadelphia. This is Hovinen’s first season in North America after playing parts of 6 seasons in Finland’s top league, the SM-liiga. He made 28 saves on Friday in his first game since Jan. 11. Hovinen opened the season with  the Trenton Titans of the ECHL, going 4-6-3 with a 3.14 goals-against average and .889 save percentage. Hovinen is the fourth goaltender to appear in a game for OKC this season, a club high, joining Yann Danis, Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz. The Barons used 3 goalies each of their first 2 seasons. 
•      BARONS SIGN RANDY JONES: The Barons signed veteran defenseman Randy Jones to a PTO on Feb. 3. Jones, 31, spent the past 2 seasons in the NHL with Winnipeg and Tampa Bay. His 365 games of NHL experience also include time with Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Jones has 20 NHL goals, 85 assists and 185 penalty minutes.  Jones has AHL experience with the Philadelphia (and later Adirondack) Phantoms. He was a member of Philadelphia’s 2005 Calder Cup championship team.
•      BARONS FANS RAISE $26,850 FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS: The Barons wore one-of-a-kind jerseys in Friday’s game against Charlotte, with all of them available for purchase in a live auction after the game. Barons fans snapped up the sweaters at a total price of $26,850, with all proceeds from the auction benefitting the Barons Buddies program with Special Olympics Oklahoma. Over the last two seasons, fans have donated more than $50,000 to the Barons Buddies program and Special Olympics Oklahoma. Beginning Monday (Feb. 4), fans can bid on the one-of-a-kind Barons jerseys for current Edmonton Oilers Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Visit the Barons website or the Barons Facebook page for information about placing bids on the Barons Special Olympics jerseys for those players. All four skated with the Barons earlier this season during the NHL work stoppage. Proceeds from the auction benefit Special Olympics Oklahoma.
This week’s games (times listed as Central)
Date                    Opponent             Time        Arena                            Radio
Friday, Feb. 8      Grand Rapids        7:00 pm    Cox Convention Center KXY 96.1 FM     
Saturday, Feb. 9 Grand Rapids        7:00 pm    Cox Convention Center  KXY 96.1 FM

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