Exceptional special teams help the Oilers win big in Indiana.
EVANSVILLE, IN.– The Tulsa Oilers know how to win again.
For weeks, the comments from head coach Bruce Ramsay have leaned toward how good his teams were, but it seemed that with all their talent they had found a way to lose games and seeing several decent leads turn into multiple goal losses reinforced that statement.
Then, just like that, recently they managed to win a game. Then two in a row. They stumbled short of a third in a row last night against the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, and then it was on the bus for the long trip to Evansville, Indiana to meet one of the former IHL teams, the Evansville Icemen.
The Icemen came into the game with an 8-7-1 record in the CHL’s Turner Conference. Their leading scorer is center Nicklas Lindberg, he has 5 goals and 18 assists for 23 points in 17 games for Evansville. The Icemen inhabit the low middle of the Berry Conference, in a tie for 5th place with the Bloomington Prairie Thunder. They lost on Friday to the Fort Wayne Komets and in the last five games they have 3 wins and 2 losses.
The Oilers opened the scoring at 6:04 of the first with Harrison Reed scoring off assists from Jack Combs and Chad Costello. Evansville would answer at 11:27 on a goal by John Dipace assisted by Damien Surma and Joe Grimaldi.
In the second period, the Reed-Combs-Costello combination would strike again, this time Jack Combs would do the lamp lighting behind Icemen goalie Matt Lundin at 4:31. Sean Erickson would add to Tulsa’s lead with a goal assisted by Combs and Reed at 12:35. Lee Zalansky would solve Oilers goalie Ian Keserich for the second time with a goal at 15:44 assisted by Mark Cody and Chris Capanale. Derek Eastman added a power play goal for the Oilers to close the period at 19:20 assisted by Erickson and Mike Beausoleil.
The Icemen chimed in with a power play goal 4:26 into the third period assisted by Dipace and Lindberg, then the Oilers would respond with a power play goal by Gary Steffes at 10:18 assisted by Gordon Bell and Derek Hulak, and a shorthanded goal by Harrison Reed, his second goal of the night, at 19:42 assisted by Bell and RJ Linder.
It was a decent recovery game for Tulsa, who had a major dose of reality in the BOK Center the night before in losing to the Mudbugs 6-2. In all the Oilers posted three special teams marks against Evansville, two goals on the power play and the Reed shorthander to close the game. The Oilers posted 39 shots and went 2-for-5 on the power play. Ian Keserich battled back after being pulled in the middle of the game at home in Tulsa on Saturday to post 35 saves of 38 shots. Evansville goalie Lundin recorded 32 saves of 38 shots and the Icemen went 1-for-8 on the power play.
The win lifts the Oilers to 6-12-1 and 13 points in 19 games, good enough to pull even with the Odessa Jackalopes who have a 6-10-1 record but have played two fewer games that Tulsa has.
The Oilers are back in action at home next Friday, December 3rd at 7:35pm against the Mississippi Riverkings in the BOK Center, then on Saturday the 4th , they will face the Missouri Mavericks. 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).