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Barons hit Christmas break on high note
Defeat Grand Rapids in shootout
12/26/04 - by Craig Haueter

Doug Murray converted his first shootout attempt as a professional Wednesday night to lift the Cleveland Barons to a 3-2 victory over Grand Rapids at Gund Arena. Dimitri Patzold made 20 saves in the game to aid the cause. With the win, the Barons have won five straight, their longest such streak in four seasons in Cleveland. They also have back-to-back wins over Grand Rapids, including a 2-0 road victory last Saturday. With the loss Wednesday night, the Griffins failed to gain two points for just the third time in 13 road decisions.

Murray scored on the Barons' fifth and final attempt in the regulation phase of the shootout, which ended, 2-1. After Grand Rapids center Todd Robinson converted his team's fourth attempt, Barons defenseman Garrett Stafford answered with a move to beat goalie Joey MacDonald. Griffins standout defenseman Niklas Kronwall missed wide against Dimitri Patzold to set up Murray's heroics.

The overtime and shootout were a distant thought until just 41 seconds remaining in regulation. Grand Rapids capitalized on a holding call against Doug Murray with Bryan Helmer scoring from left side to knot the contest, 2-2. Helmer's shot came in a 6-on-4 situation.

Josh Prudden scored his fourth goal in as many games to give the Barons the lead early in the game. The Barons maintained the lead until Eric Manlow scored his team-leading 12th of the season just a minute and a half into the second period to tie the game. Fourteen minutes later, Cleveland re-established the lead with a power play strike from their top scoring blue liner, Christian Ehrhoff. Ryane Clowe and Riley Armstrong assisted on the Barons' second goal.

Barons Notes

The Barons have been busy in the shootout category thus far in the 2004-05 season with a 3-2 record in the showdown situation.

Observers at Wednesday's game thought newcomer Jason Jaffray won the game in overtime for the Barons. With the Barons enjoying a 4-on-3 advantage due to Darryl Bootland's conduct penalty, Jaffray lit the lamp from tight in on the right side. However, the goal was disallowed as Grand Rapids goalie Joey MacDonald knocked the near post off its mooring while sliding to make the save.

Cleveland returns to action at Gund Arena December 27th and 28th versus the North Division leading Manitoba Moose (Vancouver affiliate). The Barons then hit the road for a 2-game trip to Edmonton over New Year's followed by a 2-game series in Winnipeg, Manitoba against the Moose the following week.

The Barons have held opponents to two goals or less in the last seven games. They are 5-2-0-0 during that span and have allowed an average of 1.43 goals per game.

The Cleveland Barons Player of the Week is left wing Josh Prudden. Prudden set a Barons franchise record by scoring three consecutive game-winning goals last week. He ended the week with 3 goals on seven shots and a +2 plus/minus rating. Each of the rookie's game-winners were of a different variety. His game-winner against St. John's was unassisted, his game-winner against San Antonio was on the power play, and his game-winner in Grand Rapids was also the game's first goal.

The Barons play well when center Grant Stevenson records a point. Stevenson has recorded at least one point in ten games. In those games, the Barons are 9-1-0-0. The Barons are 4-0-0-0 when Stevenson scores a goal.

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