Oklahoma City Barons (17-11-1-3) at Grand Rapids Griffins (18-10-1-1)
Barons Game 33 | Road Game 16 | AHL Game 481
Jan. 4, 2013, 6 pm CST | Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI
Radio: KXY 96.1 FM
TONIGHT: The Barons open a stretch of 3 games in 3 days, each in a different city, with their first of 4 meetings with the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings). OKC’s 4-game trip started on Tuesday with a 4-2 loss at Houston, snapping a 4-game winning streak. The Barons are 3rd in the South with 38 points, 3 back of division-leading Charlotte, and 6th in the Western Conference. Grand Rapids also has 38 points, but leads the Midwest Division by 2 points over Rockford. The Griffins last played Dec. 31, defeating Rockford 3-1, and have won 5 of their last 6.
EBERLE REPEATS: OKC has run the table of CCM/AHL Player of the Month honors this season. Jordan Eberle was tabbed this week as the league’s top player in December, the second straight month he’s taken home that award. Rookie defenseman Justin Schultz was the winner in October. Eberle has led the AHL in scoring each of the past 2 months (see the next note for details). Eberle enters tonight leading the league in goals (24) and points (49). He’s fourth in shooting percentage (24.7) and tied for fourth in plus/minus at +15. Eberle owns 5-game point and assist streaks, scoring 5 goals and 6 assists in that span. In 32 games, Eberle has matched the point total of OKC’s 2011-12 full season leader, Ryan Keller.
DECEMBER DOINGS: The Barons went 6-4-0-1 in December while boasting 4 of the AHL’s top 11 scorers for the month. Jordan Eberle led all December scorers with 20 points (11G, 9A). Mark Arcobello was third with 17 (3G, 14A), while Taylor Hall was tied for fourth with 16 (7G, 9A) and Justin Schultz tied for 8th (along with 3 others) with 14 points (6G, 8A). December marked the second straight month Eberle led the AHL in scoring. He had 21 November points while being that month’s CCM/AHL Player of the Month.
QUICK STARTS: The Barons have out-scored the opposition in the first period 43-23, totaling the most first-period goals in the AHL. OKC has gone 6 games without allowing a goal in the opening period. Their last first-period goal against came on Dec. 16 at Houston. The Barons have had a lead or tie at the first intermission in 16 straight games, during which they are 8-6-0-2. The last time OKC trailed after 1 period was Nov. 21 at Texas, when the Stars led 3-1 after 20 minutes in an eventual 6-4 OKC win.
BLUELINE BONANZA: Defenseman Justin Schultz leads the AHL in assists (28) and power play points (22), while second overall in points (45). Schultz, the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for October and Rookie of the Month in November, has multiple points in 16 of 32 games, including 10 games with 2 assists. Schultz is third in the league in goals (17), 3 away from tying the rookie goal scoring record for defensemen (20), set by John Slaney of Baltimore in 1992-93. Schultz, held pointless on Tuesday at Houston, has been kept off the scoresheet in just 5 of 32 games and in 3 of those the Barons were shut out.
SPECIAL ATTENTION: OKC is No. 1 in overall power play percentage at 25.7, with 36 goals in 140 opportunities. The Barons are 4-for-5 on the power play in their last 2 games. OKC has killed 76 of its last 90 times short spanning 21 games (84.4) after killing 38 of 54 times short over its first 11 games (70.4%). OKC’s season PK rate of 79.2 is tied for 28th. Taylor Hall is tied for the AHL lead in power play goals with 8.
LAFRANCHISE PLAYER: OKC signed defenseman Kane LaFranchise to a PTO on Wednesday. The 24-year-old Edmonton native has spent his entire career with Alaska of the ECHL, totaling 7 goals and 53 assists in 121 games over parts of 3 seasons. His first game with the Barons will be his AHL debut.
TIDBITS: Justin Schultz has played 26 consecutive games without being penalized...his last of 3 minors on the season was Oct. 26 vs. Houston...Jordan Eberle set Barons records for fastest 2 goals (9 seconds) and quickest 3 goals by an individual (2:43) in a natural hat trick in a 5-2 win over Texas New Year’s Eve...Eberle’s 2 goals in 9 seconds is also a team mark...Eberle has 2 hat tricks this season and Taylor Hall has 1, all in the past 8 games...OKC did not have a hat trick from April 8, 2011 until Eberle’s first on Dec. 15...Nathan Deck has been named a starting defenseman for the ECHL All-Star Game Jan. 23.
Last 5 Games:
Date Opp. Result OKC Goalie (GA,SV) Opp. Goalie Attn.
Dec. 22 Texas W, 6-2 Danis (2, 39) Nilstorp (L)/Campbell 3,179
Dec. 27 @ Tex W, 5-4 Danis (4, 27) Campbell (5, 21) 5,354
Dec. 28 SA SOW, 3-2 Roy (2, 32) Markstrom (2, 42) 3,341
Dec. 31 Texas W, 5-2 Danis (2, 42) Nilstorp (4, EN, 22) 4,976
Jan. 1 @ Hou L, 2-4 Danis (3, EN, 24) Hackett (2, 28) 5,419
Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date Opp. Site Time Broadcast
Jan. 5 Milwaukee BMO Harris Bradley 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 6 Chicago Allstate Arena 4:00 KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 11 Charlotte Cox Center 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 12 Charlotte Cox Center 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM
Jan. 13 Texas Cox Center 4:00 KXY 96.1 FM
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