Goaltender Niko Hovinen made his first start for the Barons on Friday night in a 7-3 win over Charlotte.
Edmonton claimed Hovinen off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers and assigned the 6-foot-7, 24-year-old Finland native to Oklahoma City.
“I was nervous. I didn't have the start I wanted, giving up two goals in the first,” Hovinen said. “Luckily the guys played great (with seven goals) and helped me out. I love it here. Everything about it has been great so far.”
Hovinen was 4-6-3 with a 3.14 goals against average this season with Trenton in the ECHL.
“As the game went on he settled in,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “He's a big guy. He covers a lot of net and made some big saves down the stretch when Charlotte was pressing.”
PENALTY KILL WAS BETTER
The Barons penalty-kill is last in the 30-team American Hockey League (76.8 percent). They surrendered two more power play goals Friday night, but one deflected in off defenseman Brett Clark's stick, the other deflected off defenseman Colten Teubert's skate.
“I don't know if last year the hockey gods were on our side on the PK and this year they're paying us back,” Nelson said. “But our PK was a heck of lot better tonight. We had more intensity, more desperation and blocked a lot more shots.”
FAB FOUR PLAYING WELL IN EDMONTON
Edmonton's four young stars that played three months with the Barons during the NHL lockout are off to solid starts with the Oilers, who are a 4-2-1, tied with Minnesota for the Northwest Division lead.
Taylor Hall leads the Oilers with nine points, including seven assists. Jordan Eberle (seven points), Justin Schultz (five) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (five) are among Edmonton's top scorers in addition to veteran Sam Gagner (eight points).
OIL SPILLS ...
The Barons raised $26,300 for Special Olympics by auctioning off every player's one-of-a-kind Special Olympic jerseys after the game. All-Star Mark Arcobello's No. 26 jersey drew the largest bid ($1,600). That total will rise substantially when the four NHL players' autographed jerseys will be auctioned off online starting on Monday ... Defenseman Taylor Fedun and forward Curtis Hamilton were healthy scratches.
BY MIKE BALDWIN