Yann Danis on Friday night reminded 3,447 fans why he was named the American Hockey League's top goaltender last season.
Danis notched 43 saves while helping the Oklahoma City Barons post a 2-1 overtime win over Milwaukee at the Cox Convention Center.
Another key to the win was the Barons killed off all five penalties, including Alex Plante's five-minute major and game misconduct at the end of regulation and the first 11/2 minutes of overtime.
“You can't look at the whole five minutes,” Danis said. “You have to take it one shot at a time. We did a great job on that PK.”
The penalty was called after Milwaukee right winger Taylor Beck was crashed into the boards. Beck laid unconscious on the ice for a couple of minutes, was immobilized, and then transported to a hospital.
“That was an unfortunate play,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “We looked at it (on tape) and didn't view it as a boarding call. Alex had his stick in that area. We don't know if (Beck) actually stepped on it or lost his footing. It wasn't like it was a malicious effort by Alex.”
The late-game penalty kill was a positive development for a team that entered the game 30th — dead last — in the AHL.
“Whenever you give up two or three goals on PK it's going to be hard to win games,” Danis said. “If we can shut that down, we know we have a great power play that's going to score some goals. If you have the edge on special teams you're going to win a lot of games.”
The Barons (7-5-2) won it a couple of minutes after killing off the five-minute major. Defenseman Martin Marincin's cross-ice pass set up Mark Arcobello for his fifth goal of the season with 1:42 left in overtime.
“Marty made an unbelievable play,” Arcobello said. “I thought he was going to shoot it. I think everyone in the rink did. He made a perfect pass right onto my tape. I just had to put it into an empty net.”
Forty-four shots on goal were the most against the Barons this season, the sixth time Danis has faced 31 or more shots.
“The goals he's been giving up, very rarely do you think, ‘I think he could have had that,'” said OKC defenseman Taylor Fedun, who scored his first professional goal to tie the game 1-1. “We need to give him a little more help. Today, they had a lot of shots on net, but a lot of them were from the perimeter.”
Danis notched a 2.24 goals against average last season. His GAA has been above 3.00 most of this season. Nelson said much of that can be attributed to an inconsistent defense.
“We were exchanging too many chances early in the year and were exposing both our goalies,” Nelson said. “We need to play well in front of him. Sometimes Yann has to make a big save for us to win. That's what he did tonight.”
The Admirals (6-6-1) took a 1-0 lead early in the second period when the Barons failed to clear the puck out of the crease. Milwaukee center Austin Watson flipped the puck over Danis, who had dropped to his knees to make a save.
It would be the Admirals' only goal against Danis, a 31-year-old veteran on a young team.
“I felt great the whole game,” Danis said. “They got a lot of shots, but compared to previous games, not too many back-doors. Guys did a great job all night clearing in front of the net. If I can see it most of the time I'm going to stop it.”