BARONS WEEKLY REPORT: OCTOBER 29 - NOVEMBER 4
By Jim Byers,
Recap of Week 4, Nov. 2-4 (3 games, 1-1-0-1)
Season record: 5-4-0-1, 3rd, South Division, -4 pts.
• THE WEEK PAST: The Barons experienced their first of 8 sets of 3 games in 3 days, logging 3 standing points with a win, regulation loss and shootout loss. Houston closed a 3-0 gap in the third period to tie the score on Friday, but Jordan Eberle’s second of the game with 6:16 remaining pushed the Barons to victory at the Cox Center. On Saturday, OKC again gave up a 3-0 third-period lead at home to Houston and dropped a shootout, 4-3. On Sunday, the Barons fired 27 shots on San Antonio goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris and he stopped them all in a 2-0 Rampage win. San Antonio tallied twice on the power play, while the Barons went 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
• THE WEEK AHEAD: The Barons make their first and only trip this season to Abbotsford, B.C., to take on the Heat Friday and Saturday. Game time each night is 9 pm (CST). In their first 2 AHL seasons, the Barons are 6-0-0-0 against the Heat in Western Canada, winning all 4 games at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre and taking both games hosted by the Heat at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, home of the Heat’s NHL parent, the Flames. OKC and Abbotsford played once each of the past 2 seasons in Calgary.
• BREAKING AWAY: Sunday’s contest at San Antonio ended a season-high stretch of 7 straight home games spanning 21 calendar days. OKC went 4-2-0-1 during the homestand. The Barons next home game is a Field Trip Education Day matchup with Toronto featuring a 10:35 am (CST) opening faceoff on Nov. 13.
• SCHULTZ STAYS ATOP AHL: Barons rookie defenseman Justin Schultz enters this week leading the AHL in points with 15, on 6 goals and 9 assists. Schultz’s 9-game point streak, which had spanned OKC’s entire season through Saturday, ended with the 2-0 shutout defeat on Sunday at San Antonio. Schultz has 5 multi-point efforts in the season’s first 10 games, twice scoring 2 goals and on three occasions notching 3 assists. Last week, Schultz was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for October. He enters this week tied for second in assists (9), tied for third in goals (6), tied for fourth in shots (35) and tied for first in shorthanded goals (2), both of which came on Oct. 19.
• HEAD OF THE CLASS: Taylor Hall, signed to an AHL contract Nov. 1, scored his first AHL goal 38 seconds into Friday’s 4-3 win over Houston. Hall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, joins 2011 top overall selection Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in giving OKC the top picks in 2 of the last 3 drafts. An Oiler the past 2 seasons, Hall has 49 goals and 46 assists in 126 career NHL games. He’s returning from labrum surgery on his left shoulder, a procedure that cost him the final month of the 2011-12 season. Hall is the sixth first-round pick to play for the Barons this season and the fifth No. 1 overall selection in the NHL or WHA to skate in OKC. The others: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins; Barry Gibbs, top pick in 1966; Rick Pagnutti (1967) and Bob Neely, the1973 World Hockey Association top selection. The WHA was a 1970s rival of the NHL that merged into the older circuit in 1979, bringing in four teams including the Edmonton Oilers. Gibbs, Pagnutti and Neely played for the OKC Blazers of the old Central Hockey League.
• TAKE TWO: For a span of 5 straight games (Oct. 23-Nov. 3) the Barons received a 2-goal game from an individual before the string ended on Sunday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Oct. 23), Mark Arcobello (Oct. 26), Justin Schultz (Oct. 28), and Jordan Eberle (consecutive nights Nov. 2-3) each had 2-goal games. Schultz’s additional 2-goal game Oct. 19 made it a span of 6 out of 7 Barons games with a 2-goal scorer. The Barons have not had a hat trick since Colin McDonald scored 4 goals at San Antonio on April 8, 2011.
• FRONT-RUNNING: OKC went the first 9-plus games of the season without trailing at the first or second intermission until falling behind 1-0 after 2 periods Sunday at San Antonio. The Barons were the last AHL team this season to have a 0-0-0-0 record at both the first and second intermissions. Sunday’s game was also the Barons’ first this season where they did not experience a lead or tie (excluding 0-0 scores) at some stage of the contest.
This week’s games (times listed as Central)
Date Opponent Time Arena Radio
Friday, Nov. 9 Abbotsford 9 pm Entertainment & Sports Centre TBA
Saturday, Nov. 10 Abbotsford 9 pm Entertainment & Sports Centre 1340 The Game
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