Barons: Weekly Report
Host playoff qualifying round this weekend
4/14/04 - by Craig Haueter
Cleveland Barons completed their 80-game regular season Saturday night in
Cincinnati routing the Mighty Ducks 8-3 behind Patrick Rissmiller's hat trick
and two goals by Miroslav Zalesak. The eight goals are a franchise record for
the Barons. The line of Rissmiller, Zalesak and captain Tavis Hansen accounted
for 10 points on the night. Matt Carkner, Grant Stevenson and Jon DiSalvatore
accounted for the other Cleveland goals.
The turning point of the game
took place early in the second period. Patrick Rissmiller stole a puck from
Cincinnati defenseman Andy Reierson just 7 seconds into the stanza and
converted on the unassisted goal for the Barons 10th short-handed tally of the
season. Just 28 seconds later, Miroslav Zalesak surprised Ducks goalie Ilya
Bryzgalov with a slap shot from the blue line for his 34th of the season.
DiSalvatore 22nd goal of the season in the final period set a Barons franchise
rookie record, breaking Chad Wiseman's 21 in the 2001-02 season.
Despite finishing the regular season in a third-place tie with Rochester in the
North Division, Rochester wins the tie-breaker due to their advantage on the
head-to-head meetings this season making the Barons the fourth seed. The fourth
seed in each division is required to play a best-of-three series against the
fifth seed (Toronto), all at the fourth seed's home arena. Due to scheduling
conflicts with Gund Arena, the Barons will host the Toronto Roadrunners at
IceLand USA in Strongsville, Ohio, a nearby Cleveland suburb. Game one is
scheduled for Thursday (April 15th), game two on Saturday (April 17th) and game
three, if necessary, on Sunday (April 18th).
Both forwards Miroslav Zalesak and Ryane Clowe returned to
the lineup Friday night in Cleveland's regular season home finale. Craig
Valette, Tomas Plihal and Greg Labenski are still out of action due to injury.
Center Marcel Goc did not play this weekend due to his call up to San
Speaking of Marcel Goc, his development this season
has been impressive. Early in the season, he seemed hesitant to even shoot the
puck. By season's end, Goc has posted 16 goals, 21 assists and a plus 3 rating.
Fans of late have witnessed Goc's patented offensive maneuver where he takes
the puck around the back of the opponent's net and wraps around with a lethal
back-hand shot toward the net. Wednesday night in Cleveland, Goc scored his
latest goal using that technique against Cincinnati.
Prior to Friday
night's game at Gund Arena versus Utah, three Barons received awards. Matt
Carkner received an AHL Man of the Year Award for his community involvement,
Garrett Stafford received the Cleveland Barons Rookie of the Year Award and
Miroslav Zalesak was awarded the Cleveland Barons Most Valuable Player
The Barons are heading to the playoffs after enjoying a
productive month of April thus far. Cleveland finished the regular season going
4-1-1-0 in April including a perfect 3-0 record on the road. Nolan Schaefer has
established himself as the Barons' go-to guy in the playoffs after starting
five of the six games down the stretch.
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