CALGARY, Alberta — Stellar goaltending is one of the reasons why the Oklahoma City Barons have the best record in the 30-team American Hockey League.
The story was no different Thursday night. Yann Danis stopped 24 shots and received a lot of help from the offense as the Barons whipped the Abbotsford Heat 4-0 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Danis and teammate David LeNeveu started a two-game road trip ranked as the Nos. 1 and 2 goaltenders in the league. On Thursday night, Danis won his 20th game of the season, posted his fifth shutout and lowered his goals against average to an impressive 1.97. LeNeveu, who might get the start at 9 p.m. Saturday, again against Abbotsford, has a 2.06 goals against average.
The Barons improved their record to 31-12-2-3 and have 67 standings points. Abbotsford, which once challenged the Barons for first place in the Western Division, fell to 26-19-3-0. The third-place Heat is now 12 standings points behind Oklahoma City. The Calgary Flames' top farm team has lost eight of its last 10 games.
Mark Arcobello and Linus Omark had a goal and assist each. Omark, who played for the first time since suffering an upper body injury on Nov. 16, assisted on Josh Green's second period goal and then gave the Barons a 3-0 lead with 17:32 left in the game with his second score of the season. Hunter Tremblay had the Barons' fourth goal, scoring on Henrik Karlsson with 9:09 remaining in the third period.
Karlsson is with Abbotsford on an injury rehabilitation assignment from Calgary.
Along with Omark, Tristan Grant returned to Oklahoma City's lineup after missing 14 games with injury. But the Barons might have lost defenseman Alex Plante, who was helped to the dressing room after a third-period fight against Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond. Plante was knocked to the ice and might have hit his head; he recently returned to play after recovering from a concussion he suffered while playing for the Edmonton Oilers.
Plante's status was not known by press time.