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Oklahoma City Barons: Jonathan Cheechoo, Philippe Cornet key Barons victory

Cheechoo scores twice, Cornet adds game-winning goal as Oklahoma City rallies to beat Grand Rapids, 4-3. Teams play again at 7 p.m. Saturday at Cox Center.
by Michael Baldwin Published: February 8, 2013
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Sparked by former NHL All-Star Jonathan Cheechoo, the Barons' revamped No. 1 forward line the past few games has produced at a high level similar to the three Edmonton stars that were in Oklahoma City during the lockout.

Cheechoo scored two goals, and Philippe Cornet tipped in the game winner to help the Barons rally for a 4-3 American Hockey League win over Grand Rapids on Friday night in front of 3,394 fans at the Cox Convention Center.

The new No. 1 line, which also features Mark Arcobello, the top scorer on the roster, supplied three of Oklahoma City's four goals Friday night after it scored five the previous game.

“Phil Cornet and (Arcobello) have played together before, so they have chemistry,” said Oklahoma City coach Todd Nelson. “And Jonathan is playing very good hockey for us. He's been getting better and better every game that we've played. They have great chemistry.”

Winning back-to-back games for the first time since the “Fab Four” returned to Edmonton a month ago, the Barons battled back from a 3-1 deficit on two Cheechoo second period goals.

“We just have to keep talking, keep letting each other know where we are,” Cheechoo said. “That's one thing when you haven't played with somebody. Up at the NHL level that's all you hear at ice level is guys talking. We're now using that to our advantage.”

The Griffins built a 3-1 lead with two goals in a 31/2-minute span in the second period. Both times the Barons forwards turned the puck over, then failed to clear the puck out of the crease after OKC goaltender Niko Hovinen made the initial save.

Outshooting the Griffins 37-19, the Barons scored the game's final three goals.

Cornet scored the game-winner, tipping in veteran defenseman Theo Peckham's slap shot with 7:50 remaining. Peckham was playing his first game in Oklahoma City. Edmonton sent him to the Barons on a conditioning assignment.

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by Michael Baldwin
Redhawks, Barons, MLB, NFL 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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