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Barons: Timely goals, solid defense lead to 3-1 win
Barons move to third place tie in division
1/21/04 - by Craig Haueter

Coming off a successful 3-2-0-1 road trip, the Barons returned home Wednesday night and registered a workmanlike victory over the Houston Aeros. With the loss, Houston’s winless streak extends to 12 games (0-4-8-1).

The opening period saw strong defensive efforts from both teams. Houston did not register a shot on goal until the 10:02 mark but they made the first one count as Dan Cavanaugh jumped on a loose puck that trickled into the slot area and fired it home past Barons goalie Nolan Schaefer. Despite the hard-hitting action in the period, no penalties were assessed to either team.

The Barons would tie the game 1-1 a little more than five minutes into the second period as Brad Boyes, fighting off two defenders draped on him, kept control of the puck and beat Aeros goalie Johan Holmqvist top shelf. Just 53 seconds later, Cleveland would strike again as Holmqvist let out a rebound on a Jim Fahey slap shot from inside the right face-off circle and Tavis Hansen scored his 8th goal of the season to put the Barons up 2-1.

Defenseman Greg Labenski’s second goal of the season sealed the deal at the 18:28 mark in the final period. After Tomas Plihal hustled to the bench to replace a broken stick, he recovered to pass it sharply to Jon DiSalvatore who waited for Holmqvist to commit and passed it to Labenski in the slot to punch it in. The Barons will entertain Houston once again Friday night at Gund Arena.

Three Stars
#1 Tavis Hansen (CLE) #2 Brad Boyes (CLE) #3 Miroslav Zalesak (CLE)

Save of the Game
Cleveland goalie Nolan Schaefer turn in another solid performance in the win over Houston (22 saves). His best moment of the game came early in the second period on a Houston power play when defenseman Doug Murray got caught up ice and Chris Bala broke free on a mini-breakaway for the Aeros. Schaefer held his ground and dived to his right to stop Bala’s shot from point blank range.

Welcome Back
Defenseman Jim Fahey returned to action for the Barons after being sent out by San Jose. This marks Fahey’s third trip to Cleveland this season. Fahey turned in a strong effort with an assist, a +2 rating and his usual solid defensive work. When he tangled with Erik Reitz briefly in the second period to earn a conduct penalty, Fahey was more than willing to drop the gloves but Reitz quickly ran to the penalty box to the amusement of Fahey.

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