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Barons fight back to .500 mark with wins over divisional foes
Schaefer gets back to his winning ways in goal
11/14/04 - by Craig Haueter

In a week that saw the Cleveland Barons rack up lots of frequent flyer miles to California, back to Cleveland and up to Ontario, strong goaltending and improving defense stood out as positive signs heading into the remainder of November's schedule which has a home flavor to it-four of six games at Gund Arena. To continue the winning trend established this past week, the Barons must improve on the penalty kill (currently dead last in the AHL) and learn how to win at home.

Even with Thursday's shootout win over Manitoba, Cleveland has struggled out of the gate this season at home with a meager 1-3-1-0 record. Even moving Tuesday night's home game to San Jose and a big crowd didn't bring the Barons any luck. Former NHL goalie Tyler Moss fought off eight Cleveland power plays to lead the Edmonton Roadrunners past the Barons, 2-0.

Goalie Nolan Schaefer gave the Barons a much needed spark in back-to-back victories to close out the week. Thursday night, Schaefer gave his team lots of momentum early in the first period recording several agile saves. He continued to keep the Barons in the game and waited through regulation and overtime into a shootout for teammate Ryane Clowe's shot to find its way through the pads of Manitoba Moose goalie Alex Auld and trickle over the goal line, securing a 3-2 Barons win. Schaefer made 26 saves in regulation and two in overtime. Playing in a shootout format for the first time in two seasons as a pro, Schaefer was beaten by Manitoba's first shooter, Josh Green. But he stuffed or altered shots on the Moose's next four attempts including one by AHL-leading scorer Jason King.

The Barons were leading, 2-1, early in the third period when a controversial penalty opened the door for Manitoba to tie the game. In pursuit of a loose puck out front, goalie Alex Auld and Barons right winger Riley Armstrong arrived at the same time. Armstrong banged into Auld, drawing a charging call from referee Brian Pochmara. Midway through the power play, Moose left winger Jason King slipped a rebound past Schaefer. The Barons insisted that the goal was a hand pass, but Pochmara allowed the goal.

Saturday night at Hamilton, Nolan Schaefer came up strong again in net with a 33-save shutout over the Bulldogs, 3-0. After a quiet first period, Schaefer stood on his head for the opening five minutes of the second period and shut down three Hamilton power plays in the stanza. In the third period, Hamilton failed to score on a third period five-minute power play, finishing the night 0-for-5 on the power play. Schaefer made 18 of his 33 saves in the third period alone. Christian Ehrhoff, Shane Joseph and Garrett Stafford scored the Barons goals.

Barons Notes: The Barons made a dent in the shots on goal deficit they had been accumulating. On the week, they out shot their opponents 94-88 including a 33-25 advantage over Edmonton Tuesday night and 37-30 advantage over Manitoba Thursday night. On the season, the Barons have been outshot by their opponents in 10 of 14 games. Their penalty kill improved slightly in those three games, working at 80 percent (2 goals against in 10 chances).

Gary Allen of Cleveland traveled with the Barons to the San Jose this past week along with WKNR personality Kenny Roda. The radio flagship station of the Barons broadcast from HP Pavilion during the evening on Tuesday. Allen was the winner of the first ever "Do you know the way to San Jose Flyaway" promotion.

For you pro wrestling fans, WWE Superstar Rhyno made an appearance at Gund Arena Thursday night, signing autographs prior to the game and dropping the ceremonial first puck.

The Cleveland Barons Player of the Week is right winger Patrick Rissmiller. Rissmiller, who typically lined up on left wing or center last season, is playing on a line with Ryane Clowe and Marcel Goc. He recorded one point in all four games last week. In total, he recorded three goals and one assist. His three goals came on nine shots.

The Barons have now played three regular season games at an alternate NHL rink. The previous two games prior to this season came in Columbus at Nationwide Arena against the Syracuse Crunch, AHL affiliate of the Blue Jackets. The Barons are now 1-2-0-0 in games at NHL rinks.

With the holiday season approaching, keep the Scott Sterneckert family in your thoughts and prayers. Scott is the Director of Sales for the Barons. Scott's wife Lisa gave birth to twins earlier this year. One child did not survive and daughter Amanda was born suffering from a rare condition called hypoxic ischemia encephalopathy causing a traumatic brain injury. The hyperbaric oxygen therapy she needs is not covered by their health insurance. Amanda is undergoing her first therapy treatment in Houston, Texas. Donations to help Amanda can be sent via the Barons front office.

On the injury and transaction front, left winger Glenn Olson has been sent to Fresno of the ECHL. Olson was on the Barons roster but had not yet made an appearance. Olson was signed as a free agent back in September of 2003. Defenseman Scott Ford continues to work his way back from injury. Ford was signed as a free agent on March 31st and has yet to play in a game for Cleveland. Defenseman Doug Murray has missed the past 10 games for the Barons with a hip injury. His last appearance was on October 22nd in a game at Houston. Murray is not expected back before the end of the month.

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