ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia — The Oklahoma City Barons continued to hold a firm grasp on first place in the American Hockey League's West Division on Saturday night. Goaltender Yann Danis was once again brilliant, stopping 24 shots in the Barons' 2-1 victory over Abbotsford before 3,529 fans inside the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.
Danis notched his 21st win of the season while trying for his third consecutive shutout and sixth of the season. But Abbotsford ended Danis' shutout streak at 173 minutes, 16 seconds when Ben Walter beat the Barons netminder to the glove side to tie the game 1-1 in the third period.
“He was a bit off tonight. He let one in,” Oklahoma City coach Todd Nelson said with a laugh to The Canadian Press. “(Danis) has been there for us all year. He played a very strong game. He made a very big save in the dying seconds. He gives us a chance to win every night.”
Defenseman Kirill Tulupov gave Oklahoma City a 2-1 lead with 9:54 left in the game on a rising shot that found its way through a maze of players and past goaltender Henrik Karlsson. Abbotsford pulled Karlsson for an extra skater in the final minute, and Danis delivered a big save on Adam Estoclet's close-range attempt just seconds before the horn.
Danis' league-leading goals against average dipped to 1.94.
“He's one of the top goalies in this league,' Walter said after Abbotsford fell to 26-20-3 and to fourth place in the West Division. “I played with him in the Islanders organization, and you could tell that he was going to be really good then.”
Linus Omark gave the Barons a 1-0 lead with 5:11 remaining in the first period. Omark, who missed 31 games with an injury, scored for the second consecutive night against the Heat.
Oklahoma City improved its league-best record to 32-12-5. The Barons have 69 standings points, seven better than second-place Houston.
The Barons are back at the Cox Center at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, both games vs. the Milwaukee Admirals.