OKC Barons regain 1st place in AHL's Western Division

BY ED GODFREY, Staff Writer, egodfrey@opubco.com Published: December 17, 2011
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Barons' coach Todd Nelson called Paarjarvi's goal the kind “that only creative players can make.'' Both Nelson and Paajarvi said the contest against Houston seemed like a playoff game.

“It had that feel to it,” Nelson said. “Every game this year we have played against Houston has been tight. I don't think it is going to be any different going forward.”

Oklahoma City is now 20-7-0-1 on the season and Houston falls to 16-4-2-7. Although the teams both have 41 standings points, the Barons are first place because of their higher winning percentage.

The Aeros, which made the AHL finals last season, defeated Oklahoma City nine times in 10 games last season. So far this season, it's been just opposite as the Barons haven't lost to Houston in four games. The two clubs meet four more times this season.

“That's the way it goes sometimes,” Nelson said. “Every year is a different team. We have different personnel and they have different personnel. It was good for us to get that monkey off our back the first game (a 2-0 Barons' win over the Aeros in Oklahoma City's second home game of season). I think that was one thing weighing on our minds.

“It's a funny game. Hopefully the trend continues. Everytime we can gain a point on them it's going to help our cause. They are good hockey team and they will be there in the end.”