TULSA, OK—The Tulsa Oilers got what they wanted last night, shaking a monkey off their back in a 2-1 defeat of the Amarillo Gorillas. As bad as that reference was it was nice to see the Oilers get back in the win column displaying the style of hockey that shot them from worst to first this season. Standout players last night included two new players on the Oilers roster, goalie Trevor Cann and defenseman Jim Henkemeyer.
Cann, on loan from the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League, stopped 28-of-29 shots while Jim Henkemeyer scored the evenings game winner. The team performed well, if a little disorganized and all points indicated that perhaps the Oilers winning ways would return.
The first period was all Rapid City, however as Brendan Cook set the goal judge’s light on fire with a pair of goals, one at 1:36 and the other at 3:51 of the period. Jon Pelle added a powereplay marker at 19:42 on the clock and the period would conclude heavy on the Rush’s side of the scoreboard. For their efforts, or lack thereof Oilers fans rewarded the team with a chorus of booing that was sadly well deserved.
This was followed just 41 seconds into the 2nd period by a Rapid City goal on the power play when Jon Pelle found the back of the net yet again. Tulsa played chaotically, with little if any organization to the way they played the game. A pair of fights, the first between the Oilers Jake Riddle and Rapid City’s Gio Flamminio at 5:33 and another between Tom Harrison of Tulsa and the Rush’s Dave Grimson failed to catalyze any sort of comeback efforts by the home team. It certainly didn’t help that referee Kevin Graber was running fast and loose with the CHL rule book in the period, keeping the Oilers penalty box well stocked with white jerseys.
Finally, after 39 minutes of abysmal hockey by the Tulsa Oilers Rob Hisey beat Rush goalie Miguel Beaudry on his glove side shorthanded with Derek Eastman and Aaron Davis to end the period with Rapid City solidly in control 5-1. The bright spot there, apart from breaking Beaudry’s shutout bid was that Hisey put in his 5th shorthanded goal this season, giving the Oilers 9 for the season. Hisey also as an individual shares the honor of scoring 5 shorthanded goals with the team efforts of 11 other teams in the CHL.
The scoring onslaught by Rapid City continued some 7 minutes into the 3rd period when Scott Wray of the Rush skated in and lit up Oiler goalie Trevor Cann to make the score 6-1. As has happened so often in hockey, the lopsided score caused the frustrations of the losing team to boil over and it did when Rapid City’s Luke Fritshaw pinned the Oilers Troy Riddle in against the half boards and slashed him at 8:17 Riddle reacted with hostility and sparked a line brawl that involved himself, Marty Standish, Tyler Butler and Tom Harrison. The fighting resulted in game misconducts for all three Tulsa players plus ejections for the Rush’s Gio Flamminio.
Though the altercation did a lot to salve the stinging ego of the Oilers players it left the Oilers bench depleted to only 10 skaters and it made the hill that much higher for Tulsa to climb if a comeback effort was to take place.
The Oilers would pull to within 4 goals when Rob Hisey scored late at 18:28 as he tipped in a shot by Adam Bartholomay from the top of the right circle. Tyler Fleck also got his first point as a Tulsa Oiler on the play as he had the 2nd assist. In scoring Hisey became the 3rd player in tonight’s game to have three points, unfortunately the other two were Rapid City Rush players. All in all, it was a downright abysmal effort by what once was a team that looked like it had made a turn around.
The Oilers travel to Bossier City for a game tomorrow afternoon then they come back to the amazing BOK Center for a Christmas Night game against the Wichita Thunder. Tickets for that game and all Oilers home games are available at the BOK Center box office, tulsaoilers.com, and all Reasors locations.
Photos: Kevin Pyle
GAME LENGTH: 2:34
REFEREE: Kevin Graber
CHL GAME NUMBER: 189
1ST STAR: Pelle, Jon (RPD)
2ND STAR: Cook, Brendan (RPD)
3RD STAR: VanderVeeken, Jamie (RPD)