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Barons: Weekly Report
Zalesak continues to shine
2/2/04 - by Craig Haueter

This past week for the Barons had a distinctive Canadian flavor with a game at home with Toronto and a weekend trip to St. John's, Newfoundland. After stubbing their toe at home Tuesday night in losing to the Roadrunners 4-2, Cleveland rebounded convincingly with a pair of wins Friday and Saturday over the Maple Leafs.

The last-place Roadrunners skated into Gund Arena Tuesday night and put an end to the four-game home winning streak by the Barons behind a pair of goals by Mike Bishai. The Roadrunners were tested all game long as they were outshot by the Barons 40-22. Toronto goaltender Stephen Valiquette was up to the task as he made several fabulous glove saves to keep the Barons off the scoreboard. One bright spot for the Barons was Miroslav Zalesak who registered his 24th goal of the season. Zalesak has now recorded a point in the last 11 home games.

Newfoundland native Ryane Clowe, playing his first hockey game in his home province since his midget days, scored his eighth goal of the season as the Barons downed the St. John's Maple Leafs Friday night, 4-1, befor a sellout crowd at Mile One Stadium. It was the Barons' sixth victory in eight games. Ex-Leaf Brad Boyes, netted a pair of goals for Cleveland. Rookie Marcel Goc added a goal of his own. Newcomer Milan Michalek picked up his first AHL point assisting Boyes first goal just 1:25 into the game. Barons goaltender Nolan Schaefer earned first-star honors with a 36-save performance. With their 22nd win of the season, Cleveland has matched last year's win total in just 47 games.

The Barons completed their weekend sweep over St. John's Saturday night by defeating the Leafs, 4-3. Miroslav Zalesak scored two goals and Seamus Kotyk turned aside 38 shots to lead the Barons. The first period was rough and tumble and featured 34 minutes in penalties and a combined 29 shots on goal. While short-handed, St. John's forward Josh Holden attempted a breakaway but was hauled down from behind leading to a rare penalty shot. Holden would convert the penalty shot for his 9th goal of the season. Koytk made 11 saves in the third period to preserve the Barons one goal lead.

Take note

The Barons finish up play in the month of January with an impressive record of 9-5-0-1.

Barons forward Miroslav Zalesak continues to lead the AHL in scoring with 57 points-5 more than Pavel Rosa of Manchester (LA Kings affiliate).

In their five meeting against Cleveland this season, Toronto has behaved like anything but a last-place team. They improved to 3-1-1-0 in the series against the Barons. In two of those games, Toronto rallied from 4-1 deficits in the third period to force overtime.

Leading AHL rookie defensive scorer Garrett Stafford has been selected to the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star Team joining teammate Miroslav Zalesak on the squad. The 6'0", 190-pound first year professional leads all AHL rookie defensemen in goals, assists and points. Overall, Stafford is third in rookie scoring, second in rookie assists and tied for 15th in rookie goals.

Forward Willie Levesque was reassigned to the Johnstown Chiefs (ECHL) last Sunday and returned to the Barons on Monday.

The week ahead has the Barons returning home to face division rival Manitoba Thursday night and Saturday afternoon in a pair of contests at Gund Arena.

AHL North Division

Team W L T OTL PTS Home Road
Hamilton 26 15 7 2 61 15-6-2-2 11-9-5-0
CLEVELAND 23 16 4 5 55 10-10-1-2 13-6-3-3
Rochester 21 17 7 3 52 15-7-2-0 6-10-5-3
Syracuse 20 14 7 3 50 12-5-5-2 8-9-2-1
St. John's 20 22 5 2 47 9-11-4-0 11-11-1-2
Manitoba 18 23 7 2 45 10-11-3-0 8-12-4-2
Toronto 17 21 8 2 44 7-7-5-0 10-14-3-2

Barons Scoring Leaders
Name G A PTS +/- PIM
M.Zalesak 26 31 57 +9 59
B.Boyes 19 27 46 +2 16
P.Rissmiller 9 22 31 -5 19
G.Stafford 8 23 31 +5 47
R.Clowe 8 16 24 +10 62
T.Hansen 10 11 21 +2 63

Barons Goalie Leaders
Name W L T GAA SV%
S.Kotyk 9 5 4 2.42 .931
N.Schaefer 6 3 0 2.44 .919
D.Patzold 8 12 0 2.92 .913

Barons Special Teams
Power Play 18.32% (2nd)
Penalty Kill 80.58% (26th)

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