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Barons: Weekly Report 2/15
Zalesak continues hot hand with 3 goals
2/15/04 - by Craig Haueter

The Barons split a pair of contests this week winning a home contest 4-2 Thursday night against the San Antonio Rampage and surrendering 4 third period goals to fall to the Utah Grizzlies 5-3 Saturday night in the first of a five-game road trip.

For the second time this season, the Barons used a big third period performance to knock off the San Antonio Rampage. Trailing 2-1 after the second period, the Barons used three goals by Doug Murray, Miroslav Zalesak and Craig Valette to lead Cleveland to victory. The goals by Murray and Zalesak came during an impressive 1:17 stretch at the beginning of the final period in a 4-on-4 situation. Back on October 23rd, the Barons outscored the Rampage 6-0 in the third period en route to a 7-1 victory in San Antonio. The loss Thursday night marked the first game this season that the Rampage lost while leading after two periods (12-1-2-0).

The offensive hero for the Barons was Marcel Goc who scored the first goal of the game and picked up an assist on Murray's goal. Midway through the first period, Goc found himself pinned behind the San Antonio goal. He broke loose from the defender and moved to the front of the net, able to push the puck past Rampage goalie Brent Krahn to put Cleveland in front 1-0 at that point. Defenseman Doug Murray continued to rack up impressive teeth-rattling checks including an open ice "pancake" of Denis Shvidki in the second period. Nolan Schaefer was impressive in goal for the Barons recording 35 saves. His save of the game came with 7 minutes left in the first period as he made a whirling glove save of a Michel Periard shot from close range. Kent Huskins earned third star honors for San Antonio as he registered 2 goals.

Saturday night, a two goal performance from the AHL's leading scorer, Miroslav Zalesak, and 43 saves from goalie Nolan Schaefer weren't enough for the Barons, who fell 5-3 at the "E" Center. Everything looked good for the Barons until midway through the final period. Then a four-goal outburst by the lowest scoring team in the AHL earned Utah the win. Mattias Tjarnqvist scored two of the goals to complete the hat trick including an empty netter with 39 seconds remaining in the game. Chris Valicevic scored twice in the third period as well and set up the others for a five-point (2-3-5) performance. Tavis Hansen's 12th goal of the year was the only goal scored by the Barons in the third period. Cleveland allowed a season-high 28 shots in the third period. Former NHL net minder Ron Tugnutt took the win in goal for Utah recording 22 saves.

Barons Bits

Barons goalie Nolan Schaefer earned his first professional point Saturday night when he assisted on Miroslav Zalesak's first goal in the opening period.

Fight watch - the tussle between Yuri Moscevsky of the Barons and Jason Spense of San Antonio Thursday night was scored a draw as both players did little more than grab each other's jersey. Moscevsky leads the Barons with 129 penalty minutes on the season.

The regular top offensive line for Barons continues to be Marcel Goc, Brad Boyes and Miroslav Zalesak. The second line is Jon DiSalvatore, Grant Stevenson and Patrick Rissmiller. Third liners include Craig Valette, Tavis Hansen and Ryane Clowe. Recent defensive pairings include Garrett Stafford/Robert Mulick, Jim Fahey/Doug Murray and Matt Carkner/Jesse Fibiger.

The only roster moves of the week were rookie forward Milan Michalek returning to San Jose for season-ending knee surgery after being injured during the game prior to the all-star break and defenseman Jesse Fibiger returned to the Barons after traveling to Switzerland for the Davos Cup.

The Cleveland Barons Player of the Week (2/2-2/8) is left wing Ryane Clowe. On the week, Clowe recorded 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points in 2 games. Clowe scored at least one point in each contest. Clowe helped the Barons split two games with Manitoba. Clowe recorded 4 shots in each game and was +1 for the week.

The top five scorers for the Barons are: Miroslav Zalesak (29-33-62), Brad Boyes (21-30-51), Patrick Rissmiller (9-25-34), Garrett Stafford (8-24-32) and Ryane Clowe (9-19-28). Top five in plus/minus are: Ryane Clowe (+12), Miroslav Zalesak (+10), Matt Carkner (+10), Robert Mulick (+10) and Greg Labenski (+8).

The Barons moved to 2nd in the AHL on the power play converting 18.06 percent of the time (39 of 216).

The week ahead finds the Barons playing in Utah again Monday afternoon which is the western-most city in the AHL. After a stop in Toronto for a game Thursday night, the Barons will continue on to St. John's, Newfoundland, the eastern-most city in the AHL for games Friday and Saturday night. The trip will span 3,850 miles.

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