Three goals in the third period give the Oilers huge win.
TULSA, OK– With a gut full of a big thanksgiving meal and fresh off a big 3-0 win over the Quad City Mallards on Tuesday night, the Tulsa Oilers hosted the Mississippi Riverkings in the friendly confines of the amazing BOK Center.
It had been reported in the media on Wednesday that Trevor Cann, the goalie who had been responsible for the Oilers only other win at home on opening night had returned on assignment from the Lake Erie Monsters and indeed he had arrived in Tulsa yesterday. Unfortunately, as is the case so often with affiliations Cann scarcely had time to unpack his bags before he was recalled. Thus, Ian Keserich would get the nod as the Oilers goalie.
The action began on the violent side for thew two teams as Oilers forward Evan Kotsopoulous and Riverkings forward Darrell Stoddard squared off in a fight. It wasn’t much of a fight as mainly it was a “Dancing With The Stars” altercation with Kotsopoulos swinging Stoddard around three times before he hit the ice. The only casualty of the fight was Kotsopoulos’ jersey, and he would return to action sporting a number 33 jersey instead of his normal number 7.
Opening the scoring at 5:27 of the first was an Oilers goal originally credited to Tom Fritsche, but after review was given to John Mori. Assists on the goal were given to Fritsche and Gordon Bell. Jack Combs would give Tulsa a 2-0 lead at 16:16 when he punched the puck past Riverkings goalie Alexander Pechursky from the right side of the crease.
Mississippi would end the Oilers two-game shutout streak at 77 minutes 44 seconds when Riverkings leading scorer Nathan Lutz put the disc just underneath Keserich at 17:32 of the first period. Then Gordon Bell, who had the final empty net goal in the Tuesday night shutout of Quad City scored off a sweet cross ice pass from Tom Dignard. The other assist on the goal went to Evan Kotsopoulos.
Tulsa defenseman Sean Erickson would give the Oilers a 3-goal lead at 8:20 with Derek Hulak and Mike Beausoleil getting assists. Matt Miller of the Riverkings would tighen the game to a two-goal differential with a goal at 9:14 and the 2nd would end with the Oilers leading the game 4-2.
Then the Oilers quite simply blew up the Mississippi net in the 3rd period.
It started at 14:28 when Gordon Bell got his second goal of the night with Evan Kotsopoulos getting his second assist of the night. Then, Tom Fritsche tapped the puck into an empty net at 19:14 off assists from John Mori and Tom Dignard. Finally, with 49 seconds left John Mori would get his second goal of the night unassisted with a blast from the high slot.
Frustration took the form of another fight in the dying minute of the game as Darrell Stoddard and Oilers defenseman Brennan Barker with 2:30 keft in the game. Barker had the clear upper hand in this bout, landing a punch that sent Stoddard to his knees.
The second win in as many games gives the Tulsa Oilers their first back-to-back win streak since opening weekend when the beat the Wichita Thunder twice. It also gave the Oilers their first back-to-back win streak at home this season. In all aspects both Thursday night’s game and the shutout win on Tuesday night were prime examples of what the Oilers have been capable of all along this season.
In the end, despite the lopsided score on the Oilers side of the scoreboard the Riverkings outshot them by three at 30-27. Oilers goalie Keserich stopped 28 of 30 shots while Petursky of the Riverkings saved 20 of 26. Both teams were unsuccessful on the power play with Tulsa going 0-for-4 and Mississippi 0-for-3.
Tomorrow night the Oilers will host the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs who are considered the hottest team in the Central Hockey League at the moment, enjoying a 7-game win streak dating back to November 9th. Tulsa, who ended a four game win streak by the Quad City Mallards on Tuesday night, hope to do the same thing to the Mudbugs on Friday. The game is also “pink in the rink” night in support of breat cancer research, presented by TD Williamson.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
The Oilers will wear special jerseys and those jerseys will be auctioned off after the game with the proceeds to benefit the Susan G. Komen Center for Breast Cancer research.
Tickets for all Oiler games are available a the BOK Box Office, Tickets.com, Tulsa area Reasor’s stores, and by calling 1-866-7BOK-CTR (866-725-5287). More information is available by calling the Oilers office at 918-632-PUCK (7825).