Power-play woes bite Barons in attempt to claim top spot in AHL West

ABBOTSFORD 4, OKC BARONS 2 — In a battle for first place Saturday night inside the Cox Convention Center, OKC dropped a 4-2 decision to Abbotsford before a crowd of 3,329.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: November 19, 2011
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Oklahoma City is tied atop the AHL West Division standings, but there would be no tie if the Barons weren't suffering a power shortage on power plays.

In a battle for first place Saturday night inside the Cox Convention Center, OKC dropped a 4-2 decision to Abbotsford before a crowd of 3,329.

It was the first time in four games this season the Heat has beaten the Barons. OKC handed Abbotsford a 4-1 loss the previous night inside the Cox Center.

With the two-game split, the Barons (12-5-0-1) and Heat (12-5-1-0) remain tied atop the division with 25 points each

Afterward, as he frequently has done this season, OKC coach Todd Nelson shared his frustration concerning special teams play.

"Our power play was non-existent," Nelson said. "Our PK (penalty kill) was pretty decent, but they got a power-play goal. That's the difference in the game. We talked about it before the game and I thought it was a really lackluster effort from the guys on the power play, and that's disappointing."

The Barons were 0 for 2 on power play opportunities and are now 15 for 82 (.183) on the season, which ranks 17th our of 30 AHL teams.

After playing six games in an eight-day span, OKC doesn't play again until Friday at Grand Rapids and there could be some changes in store.

Asked how a team corrects a power-play problem, Nelson answered succinctly.

"Work ethic," he said. "Guys are either going to work hard on it, or I'll find somebody else who does. Quite honestly, I told (Tanner) House's line to get ready to go because they deserve the opportunity.

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