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Barons-Aeros Series Preview

by Travis Knee / Edmonton Oilers
The battle for the Calder Cup begins for the Oklahoma City Barons this Thursday night as they open up their best-of-five, first round series against the Houston Aeros.

The Barons come into the 2012 playoffs with high hopes after a fantastic regular season saw them finish atop the western conference. With a record of 45-22-4-5 for 99 points, the Barons finished with the second most points in the American Hockey League and will be looking to carry that momentum forward into a solid playoff run.

Oklahoma’s success comes from a balanced attack offensively and a commitment to overall team defence. With a lineup full of interchangeable parts, and the strong goaltending of Yann Danis, the Barons hope they have a formula that will translate into playoff success.

For Houston, the road to the playoffs was much more difficult. A 2-1 win over the Texas Stars in their final game of the regular season clinched them the eighth and final playoff berth in the western conference. With a record of 35-25-5-11 for 86 points, the Aeros were able to edge out Charlotte by one point down the stretch to secure themselves a spot in the playoffs.

Playing in the same division, these two teams are very familiar with each other, having met eight times in the regular season. The season series was heavily one-sided as the Barons suffered just one shootout loss to Houston all year.

The Barons hold a distinct edge in most statistical categories heading into this series, but will have to be aware of an Aeros' team that will be ready to play the 'underdog' role. Having battled just to get into the playoffs, Houston has been playing playoff style games for a while, a level the Barons will need to quickly match.

     Barons vs. Aeros

Western Conference - Round 1
 Game   Date / Time  Location
1. APR. 19   6:05 PM mDT Houston
2. APR. 20   6:35 PM mDT Houston
3. APR. 22   6:00 PM mDT Oklahoma City
4. APR. 24   6:00 pm mdt  (*if necessary) Oklahoma City
5. APR. 25   6:00 pm mdt  (*if necessary) Oklahoma City
Top Forwards
 Okc Barons

Ryan keller

  reg season stats:

  71 gp: 21g, 28a, 49p
mark arcobello

  reg season stats:

  73 gp: 17g, 26a, 43p
philippe cornet

  reg season stats:

  67 gp: 24g, 13a, 37p
magnus paajarvi

  reg season stats:

  34 gp: 7g, 18a, 25p

 Houston Aeros

jon pisalvatore

  reg season stats:

  76 gp: 28g, 33a, 61p
justin fontaine

  reg season stats:

  73 gp: 16g, 39a, 55p
jeff taffe

  reg season stats:

  70 gp: 18g, 35a, 53p
Chad Rau

  reg season stats:

  67 gp: 14g, 21a, 35p

Top Defencemen
 Okc Barons
Bryan rodney        

67 gp: 6g, 24a, 30p
taylor chorney   

50 gp: 6g, 18a, 24p
bryan helmer        

69 gp: 3g, 21a, 24p

 Houston Aeros
Chay genoway  

72 gp: 7g, 29a, 36p
drew bagnall   

72 gp: 2g, 12a, 14p
Jeff Penner       

30 gp: 3g, 9a, 12p

 Okc Barons
Yann danis     26-14-2     2.07 gaa   .924 sv%    5 SO

 Houston Aeros
matt hackett   20-17-6     2.38 gaa    .917 sv%   1 so

Regular Season Statistics
    OKC Barons  Houston Aeros
Goals For
213 202
goals against 176 206
LAst 10 games
5-5-0-0 3-3-2-2
7-0-0-1 1-4-0-3
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