OKC Barons hit the road for pivotal trip

Barons are currently seventh in the Western Conference.
by Michael Baldwin Published: April 9, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma City's Garrett Stafford and Chicago's Stefan Schneider during the AHL game between the Oklahoma City Barons and the Chicago Wolves in  Oklahoma City, Saturday, April 6, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Garrett Stafford and Chicago's Stefan Schneider during the AHL game between the Oklahoma City Barons and the Chicago Wolves in Oklahoma City, Saturday, April 6, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

The Oklahoma City Barons begin a pivotal four-game road trip Wednesday night at Houston.

Six American Hockey League teams are battling for the final four Western Conference playoff berths.

After going 6-1-1 in their past eight games, the Barons have collected 13 of 16 possible standings points to move into seventh place.

OKC is in prime position to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive season, but the road trip will determine how much pressure the Barons will face when they close out the regular season with three home games April 19-21 at the Cox Convention Center.

“It looks like it's going to come down to the wire,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “We have to have a good road swing. But we've been playing well on the road. We just need to keep it going.”

The Barons struggled on the road much of the season, winning only nine of 26 road games the first four months.

But over the past five weeks, no AHL team has been as hot on the road as the Barons, who are 7-0-1 away from home since March 4. Their only road loss was in a shootout three weeks ago at Rochester.

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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BARONS at HOUSTON

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Where: Toyota Center, Houston

Radio: KXXY-FM 96.1, Jim Byers play-by-play.

Scouting report: The Aeros have won eight of 10 meetings, but three of Houston's wins have been in shootouts. All but one of OKC's eight losses in the series essentially has been by one goal if you exclude last-minute empty-netters. ... Since he was reassigned to Oklahoma City, Barons forward Teemu Hartikainen has scored eight points in seven games, including three points in Sunday's win over Chicago. ... Houston goaltender Matt Hackett is 6-1 against the Barons but has only a 2.68 goals-against average. The key has been Houston's offense. Justin Fontaine has scored 10 points and Brian Connelly nine against OKC. Mikael Granlund also has scored nine points against the Barons but currently is with the Minnesota Wild, Houston's NHL affiliate.

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