Barons: Weekly Report
Cleveland hits all-star break in 2nd place
2/9/04 - by Craig Haueter
While Miroslav Zalesak and
rookie Garrett Stafford head off to the AHL All-Star game Monday night in Grand
Rapids, Michigan, the rest of the Barons earn a well-deserved rest as they
focus on the stretch drive remaining as they pursue a coveted playoff
The Barons played two games at home this week, splitting a pair
of contests with the Manitoba Moose, top affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.
Thursday night, a lack of legitimate scoring chances led to a 5-2 loss to
Manitoba. The Barons managed only two shots in the first period a
season-low for any period. Right winger Fedor Fedorov notched a hat trick for
the Moose. Fedorov is the younger brother of NHL veteran Sergei of the Anaheim
Mighty Ducks. After spotting Manitoba a 1-0 lead after the first period, Tavis
Hansen quickly knotted the score 1-1 just 56 seconds into the middle period.
Fedorovs first two goals later in the period pushed the Moose
back out in front 3-1 after two periods. Milan Michalek got the Cleveland fans
excited for the moment with a third period goal at the 15:18 mark to narrow the
Manitoba lead to 3-2. However, a pair of empty net goals by Brandon Reid and
Fedor Fedorov extinguished any further comeback aspirations by the Barons.
Seamus Kotyk took the loss in net for Cleveland. For Manitoba, the win marked
just their second road win in its last eleven chances.
The Barons again
proved their resilience on Saturday afternoon, defeating Manitoba by a score of
5-1. Powered by three third period goals, the Barons have yet to lose two
consecutive games in regulation. The Barons are now 14-0-1-2 following a loss.
Cleveland also took advantage of a tired bunch of Moose, which had traveled to
Rochester after the game in Cleveland Thursday for a game Friday night. The
first period started out very chippy, as both teams picked up a combined 56
minutes in penalties. Feeding off the superb goaltending of Nolan Schaefer, the
Barons converted a power play chance to lead 1-0 just over 8 minutes into the
contest as Grant Stevenson fired a shot from the point that was deflected
through the pads of Moose goalie Tyler Moss by Milan Michalek. However, the
Moose would tie the game with nearly four minutes left in the period.
Taking advantage of their second 5-on-3 power play chance of the
period, Jason King received a back door pass to beat Schaefer. Cleveland
dominated play in the second period, out-shooting Manitoba by a margin of 16-6.
The Barons kept pouring it on offensively and were finally rewarded late in the
period as Brad Boyes roofed it over the shoulder of Moss to put Cleveland up
2-1. Third period goals by Marcel Goc, Ryane Clowe and the second goal of the
contest by Boyes put the game well out of reach. Schaefer earned first star
honors by recording 25 saves, including several kick-saves while it was still a
one-goal game. Schaefer moved to 4-0 with a 1.25 GAA in four home
Despite their impressive overall
24-17-4-5 (57 points) record at the all-star break, the Barons have one of the
AHLs more puzzling story lines going at home, where their record is only
11-11-1-2. Pundits have suggested that the Barons take a bus ride around
Northeast Ohio prior to each home game at Gund Arena.
What started out
as just a holding minor penalty for Manitobas Tyler Bouck Saturday got a
lot more complicated. Boucks continued verbal abuse of referee Craig
Spada on his way to the penalty box in the first period earned him additional
penalty time including abuse of officials and eventually being tossed from the
game. On his way back to the dressing room, Bouck slammed his stick on the
concrete floor to complete the tirade.
A positive sign for the Barons
and their defense in the pair of games against Manitoba was the penalty kill.
The Moose only converted two of twelve power play chances. Coming into this
week, the Barons penalty kill was ranked 26th in the AHL (80.71%).
Barons Player of the Week (1/25-1/31) is right wing Miroslav Zalesak. On the
week, Zalesak recorded 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points in 3 games. Zalesak
posted a +3 plus/minus rating to bump his season total to +9. Garrett Stafford
is the Barons Rookie of the Month for January. On the month, Stafford scored 16
points on 3 goals and 13 assists. Stafford helped the Barons reach seven games
over .500 for the first time in franchise history. His +7 plus/minus rating led
the Barons for January.
The Springfield Falcons of the AHL recently
announced that the club has signed a three-year affiliation agreement with the
NHLs Tampa Bay Lightning starting next season. This agreement ends
Springfields long affiliation with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Zalesak of the Barons continues to lead the AHL in scoring (26G, 33A). Brad
Boyes is tied for fifth (21G, 27A). Zalesak and Boyes also have recorded 16 and
13 multi-point games respectively.
Through 50 games this season, four
Barons have played in all 50 gamesMiroslav Zalesak, Brad Boyes, Marcel
Goc and Doug Murray. At the all-star break, 28 different position players and 4
goalies have played in at least one game for the Barons. This includes current
Sharks Niko Dimitrakos, Todd Harvey and Christian Ehrhoff. If you need a great
trivia question, there have been three goalies who dressed for the Barons but
did not get into a gameChris Houle, Cory Campbell and Greg
Defenseman Jesse Fibiger missed the games with Manitoba to join
the Canadian National Team to compete in the Davos Cup in Switzerland. Matt
Carkner (4 games) and Yuri Moscevsky (8 games) have been scratches of late due
to nagging injuries and illness. Garrett Stafford and Milan Michalek both left
Saturdays game with unspecified injuries. Michalek is assigned to
Cleveland after returning from an early season knee injury.
weeks schedule has the Barons returning to action Thursday night at home
versus the San Antonio Rampage. Next Saturday night, the Barons travel to Utah
to faceoff against the Grizzlies.
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