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Barons regain 3rd place with win over St. John’s
Record crowd on hand
1/4/04 - by Craig Haueter

The Cleveland Barons jumped over St. John’s into third place in the North Division with a spirited 5-1 victory over their division rival before a franchise record crowd of 7,876 at Gund Arena Saturday night. Dimitri Patzold made 35 saves on the night for the Barons to pick up his eighth win of the season.

A very defensive first period saw both teams manage just 15 shots on goal combined. Lynn Loyns was able to feed Jon DiSalvatore in the slot midway through the period and DiSalvatore fired a low hard shot that trickled through the pads of Maple Leafs goalie Mikael Tellqvist for a 1-0 Barons lead. Coming off a very disappointing performance the night prior, Patzold was sharp for the Barons, turning away several point blank shots.

Play turned more wide-open in the second period as Cleveland would outshoot St. John’s 15-13. Despite the increased offensive opportunities, the only goal of the period belonged to the Barons. Forward Marcel Goc picked up a head of steam through the neutral zone and fired a hard blast between the legs of Tellqvist for his third goal of the season and put the Barons on front 2-0. The turning point in the game may well have been four minutes into the period when Cleveland found itself on the short end of a 5-on-3 advantage. With the Leafs looking to tie it up, the record crowd got behind their team and helped support the Barons as they killed both penalties successfully.

The Maple Leafs would come out hustling in the third period and their pressure was rewarded with a power-play goal from leading scorer Kyle Wellwood to cut the Barons lead to 2-1. However, from that point on, Patzold did his part to maintain the lead, turning away a total of twelve shots in the period. Rookie forward Grant Stevenson picked up a loose puck and scored his third goal of the season to push the lead for Cleveland out to 3-1. Less than two minutes to play, Miroslav Zalesak added a power play goal on the heels of Carlo Colaiacovo’s vicious boarding penalty against Jon DiSalvatore of the Barons. Grant Stevenson would finish the scoring on a nifty short-handed goal off a faceoff with just 37 seconds remaining for his second goal of the night. The Barons return to action Sunday night in Syracuse as they embark on a 6-game, 14-day road trip.

Barons Notes

Defenseman Matt Carkner, who leads the Barons in plus/minus at 10, missed the game with a hand injury. Defenseman Jim Fahey was recalled by San Jose and the Barons called up defenseman Dan Watson from Columbus of the UHL. Due to the leg injury to goalie Seamus Kotyk Friday night, goalie Bujar Amidovski was signed from Dayton of the ECHL. Amidovski was previously signed as a backup in Grand Rapids earlier in the season.

Forward Miroslav Zalesak continues to make a case for promotion to the NHL as he has now scored in 12 of his last 13 games.

The Barons clearly enjoy getting out in front and staying there as they now are 13-3-1-2 when they score the first goal. When Cleveland has a 2-0 lead, it is 9-0-1.

Although it won’t show up in any boxscore, Jon DiSalvatore gets the hustle award for Saturday night for his effort catching Josh Holden on mini-breakaway in the second period and poking the puck away from Holden to break up the play.

Three Stars

3rd Star – Grant Stevenson (CLE), 2 goals
2nd Star – Marcel Goc (CLE), 1 goal
1st Star – Dimitri Patzold (CLE), 35 saves

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