Oklahoma City – The Oklahoma City Barons were able to take over the top spot in the tightly contested Western Division with a 3-1 win over the Abbotsford Heat on Sunday afternoon in Oklahoma City. Lennart Petrell, Chris Vandevelde and Milan Kytnar each scored in the win.
Both teams combined to play a spirited first period, but neither team could light the lamp. Oklahoma City would strike first on a Chris Vandevelde short-handed goal at 3:28 of the second period. Hunter Tremblay was able to work the puck to Vandevelde who provided the individual effort to beat the Heat defender as well as Heat netminder Danny Taylor.
Tremblay’s assist was his fifth point (3-2-5) while the Barons are short handed. He is tied for second in the league with three short-handed goals of his own.
The Barons would strike again just over 90 seconds later, with Tremblay providing the only assist. Just seconds after Milan Kytnar exited the penalty box, Tremblay found him with a crisp head-man pass that sent Kytnar in all alone against the Heat netminder. His first shot was denied, but he was able to collect the rebound and slip it past Taylor for his goal of the season for the Barons.
Barons netminder David LeNeveu kept the Heat at bay with several acrobatic saves, with limited rebounds. Abbotsford forward Kris Kolanos was able to dent LeNeveu’s bid for a shutout when he slipped behind the Barons defense and slid one between the pads of LeNeveu. The goal came with just over two minutes left to play in the second.
After the goal, Abbotsford appeared to have the momentum, but the Barons were able to take it back just before the end of the period. Taylor Chorney found forward Lennart Petrell standing at the right point. Petrell blasted the puck past Taylor with just over eight seconds left in the frame.
In the third period, the teams swapped power-play chances, but neither team was able to score. Abbotsford pulled Taylor with 90 seconds to play and were able to get a couple of shots, but were unable to convert.
LeNeveu stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced on the night. His record improves to 9-5-2.
By way of their win, the Barons pulled ahead of the Heat and Houston Aeros by two standings points. Oklahoma City sits atop the Western Division with 53 points.
The Barons will earn a well-deserved day off before returning to practice Tuesday to prepare for a three-game road trip. Oklahoma City travels to Rochester to take on the Americans Thursday and Friday. The weekend concludes with a Saturday evening tilt with the Lake Erie Monsters in Cleveland. All three games can be heard on the Barons flagship station, 96.1 KXY.