TULSA, OK—If there were such a thing as an Academy Award for end-of-the-season drama, there would only be one nominee: The Tulsa Oilers CHL hockey club. Sitting as a playoff contender for most of the season, the inconsistency of the team as the season has rounded the corner has left the possibility of making the CHL post-season in doubt with no easy answers as to why. If they DO manage to secure a playoff bid, it will be the first time since 2005 that the Tulsa team has seen the post season.
Last night the Oilers had a 4-2 lead over the Missouri Maverick going into the game and they let that evaporate in the third. The Oilers dropped the game 5-4 and collectively the Oiler nation shook their heads as the final horn sounded. The loss came on the heels of s decisive 5-1 victory in Wichita on Wednesday night, where the Oilers seemed to be hitting on all cylinders and easily dominating the game.
So it was as the Oilers returned home to face the Bossier Shreveport Mudbugs, a team riding a 13 win hot streak and who in their last visit to the amazing BOK Center blanked the Oilers 6-0, handing them their worst and most lopsided defeat this season. The Mudbugs have had great success when playing Tulsa as the last time the Oilers beat the Mudbugs was in the Tulsa Convention Center on March 18, 2008 dropping them by a goal 4-3. Since then the Mudbugs are an even 11-0 when playing Tulsa.
The first period saw only one goal, as opposed to the last time the Mudbugs played here, this one coming at 19:31 when Tyrel Lucas got one past a sprawling Marco Emond to close out the period. That was a huge improvement over last Sunday’s debacle, which saw Bossier score 4 in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Oilers played the first period physically, playing the game in their faces most of the first 20 minutes. The second period continued the hardnosed play seen in the first when the Oilers Jake Riddle and David Pszenczny hooked up for a round of fisticuffs. The tone was being set often by Tulsa in this game which was another distinct difference from their last meeting when the Oilers seemed content to keep the Bugs at arm’s length.
The Oilers would get on the board early in the 2nd period on a goal by forward Dan Riedel with assistance from Aaron Davis and David Alexandre Beauregard at 1:52. That goal was answered at 3:32 by the Mudbugs Brett Smith shorthanded with Joe Blaznek getting the assist. Jeff Kryzakos would make it 3-1 at 9:39 with Shawn Limpright and Blaznek getting the helpers. Despite that the Oilers continued their aggressive play throughout the period. Shots on goal, a stat the the Mudbugs had firm control over in the first period at 21-7, got to a more reasonable level as the Oilers took some 18 shots at Bossier goalie John DeCaro in the 2nd. The hill was steep at the end of 2, but not a hill they couldn’t climb if they stayed the course.
As the 7 minute mark of the 3rd period came around two skirmishes broke out deep in the Bossier Sherveport zone as the brothers Riddle would engage in fights. Troy Riddle squared off with Jim Jorgensen and his brother Jake would take on Scott Kalinchuk. Both fights were intense and brief as fights in hockey typically are, but the Jake Riddle-Scott Kalinchuk bout went an extra round and it resulted in the ejections of both actors. Shortly thereafter, at 7:45 of the 3rd, Derek Eastman buried a slapshot behind John DeCaro with Derek Merlini an Luke Stauffacher assisting. The Oilers would tie the game at 17:02 when Troy Riddle slipped it past DeCaro in a scramble in front of the Bossier net and the regulation time would come to an end.
It would take less than 30 seconds for the Mudbugs to dispose of the Oilers as Justin Aikins sent the puck past Marco Emond’s right shoulder to bring the Oilers hopes of snatching victory away from the jaws of defeat.
As if to add insult to injury, despite getting the 1 point for battling to overtime and increasing the point total in the standings to 56 BOTH Mississippi and Missouri won their games tonight, and the Oilers therefore remain in 6th place just one win out of the 5th and final playoff spot.
The Oilers will take on the Mudbugs again tomorrow afternoon at 4:05pm back in the BOK Center. Tickets for that game and all remaining Oilers games are available at the BOK Center box office, all Reasors locations and tulsaoilers.com. All of the Oilers game broadcasts plus Bruce Ramsay’s “Hockey Happy Hour” can be heard at edgetulsa.com with Steve McCall as your host.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
Bossier-Shreveport 1 for 5 : Tulsa 0 for 7
SHOTS ON GOAL
Bossier-Shreveport – Tyrel Lucas (David Rutherford) 19:31
Tulsa – Dan Riedel (Aaron Davis, David Beauregard) 1:52
Bossier-Shreveport – Brett Smith (shorthanded) (Joe Blaznek) 3:32
Bossier-Shreveport – Jeff Kyrzakos (powerplay) (Shawn Limpright, Joe Blaznek) 9:39
Tulsa – Derek Eastman (shorthanded) (Derek Merlini, Luke Stauffacher) 7:45
Tulsa – Troy Riddle (Dan Riedel, Aaron Davis) 17:02
Bossier-Shreveport – Justin Aikins (Tyrel Lucas) 0:21
Tulsa – Troy Riddle – (Tripping), 2 min, 2:09
Tulsa – Jake Riddle – (Unsportsmanlike Conduct), 2 min, 4:05
Tulsa – Dan Riedel – (Roughing), 2 min, 12:39
Bossier-Shreveport – Scott Kalinchuk – (Hooking), 2 min, 16:15
Tulsa – Jake Riddle – (Fighting Major), 5 min, 0:01
Bossier-Shreveport – David Pszenyczny – (Fighting Major), 5 min, 0:01
Bossier-Shreveport – David Pszenyczny – (Hooking), 2 min, 2:38
Tulsa – Marty Standish – (Slashing), 2 min, 9:21
Bossier-Shreveport – Brett Smith – (Board Checking), 2 min, 11:19
Bossier-Shreveport – Jamie Milam – (Hooking), 2 min, 15:50
Bossier-Shreveport – Clay Plume – (Cross Checking), 2 min, 16:15
Bossier-Shreveport – Mark Johnson – (Too Many Men Bench Minor), 2 min, 19:24
Bossier-Shreveport – David Pszenyczny – (Interference), 2 min, 4:46
Bossier-Shreveport – Jim Jorgensen – (Fighting Major), 5 min, 6:49
Tulsa – Troy Riddle – (Fighting Major), 5 min, 6:49
Bossier-Shreveport – Scott Kalinchuk – (Fighting Major), 5 min, 6:49
Bossier-Shreveport – Scott Kalinchuk – (Fighting (Secondary) Game Misconduct), 10 min, 6:49
Tulsa – Jake Riddle – (Fighting Major), 5 min, 6:49
Tulsa – Jake Riddle – (Fighting (Secondary) Game Misconduct), 10 min, 6:49
Tulsa – Troy Riddle – (Roughing), 2 min, 6:49
Tulsa – Jake Riddle – (No Category Game Misconduct), 10 min, 6:49
GAME LENGTH: 2:29
REFEREE: Kevin Graber
LINES 1: Pat Smith
LINES 2: Zach Thornton
1ST STAR: Aikins, Justin (BOS)
2ND STAR: Eastman, Derek (TUL)
3RD STAR: Lucas, Tyrel (BOS)