Barons winger Mark Arcobello snapped a shot past the ear of Texas Stars goalie Andrew Raycroft for his second goal of the night and the team's fourth. Shortly after seeing Arcobello's shot pop net, Raycroft was replaced in the second period.
But the change would prove too little, too late for the Stars. Oklahoma City defeated its American Hockey League rival 5-1 Wednesday night at Cox Convention Center.
Arcobello finished with three points. It was his third two-goal game of the year and the 15th two-goal game of the season by a Barons player.
“We were clicking tonight,” Arcobello said. “I think we were just passing, making sure we got the puck to the net. We had the opportunity to shoot, and we did.”
Barons coach Todd Nelson was as impressed with Arcobello's performance as he was Arcobello's teammates. Philippe Cornet and Ryan Keller each notched two points against the last-place Stars (23-26-4).
“That line was going pretty good tonight with Arcobello, Keller and Cornet,” Nelson said after the first-place Barons improved to 34-14-5. “They created a lot of scoring chances.”
The Barons outshot the Stars, 35-32. Barons' goalie David LeNeveu stopped 31 shots. Texas' only goal was scored by defenseman Jordie Benn, a power-play score at the 9:36 mark of the first period. Benn's goal gave the Stars a 1-0 lead, then Arcobello tied it five seconds remaining and while Oklahoma City had a two-man advantage.
The game was the last of a four-game homestand for the Barons. Oklahoma City, which leads second-place Houston by 11 standings points in the West Division, begins a six-game road trip 6 p.m. Friday at Charlotte.
“We wanted to get back to winning ways here, and it's not just to win games but to play our type of hockey,” LeNeveu said. “I thought we did that for the most part throughout the game.”
LeNeveu lowered his goals against average to 2.00, which ranks No. 2 in the AHL. Teammate Yann Danis, who was called up this week by the Edmonton Oilers, tops the American League with a 1.98 GAA.
Nelson said he thought his men played hard for each other, and he was excited to see them earn a win.
“It was a solid team effort, and that's what we expect from our guys,” Nelson said.