OKLAHOMA CITY – A recent slump from Oklahoma City has teams joining them atop the Western Division standings.
The Barons dropped their fourth straight game on Saturday, this time a 2-1 loss to the Abbotsford Heat that allowed the Heat to move into a three-way tie with OKC for the top spot in the division.
The Heat, Barons and Houston Aeros all have 51 points in the standings, meaning three of the five teams in the Western Division are gridlocked at the top for the time being.
The night started with an intense fight between the Barons' Antti Tyrvainen and Abbostford's Jordan Henry, but that was part of a scoreless first period for both teams.
The Heat got on the board first with a deflection goal from Justin Dowling at the 16:29 mark of the second, putting OKC in a hole early once again.
But it didn't take long for Oklahoma City to respond as Dylan Yeo sent in a slapshot from the left point, assisted by Teemu Hartikainen, to knot the game at the 13:08 mark.
At the 12:27 mark of the third period, however, Abbotsford's Jon Rheault would score what would prove to be the winning goal, sliding it past goaltender Yann Danis for the 2-1 lead.
The Barons got a power play with just over two minutes to play, but having a man-up and even a bit of 6-on-4 after pulling Danis wasn't enough for them to muster one in in the final seconds.
Danis faced 15 shots on the night and allowed two in, falling to 15-8-1 on the season.
Oklahoma City was more prolific but less efficient attacking the net, sending 33 shots at the goal.
Today's game was part of a quick two-game series as the Barons and Heat will face off again at 4 p.m. Sunday.