Keserich comes up big in shootout.
TULSA, OK– Ray Miron, the father of the modern CHL did not like the way ties were handled in hockey. Before 1992, if a game ended in a tie, in this country at least, the two teams played a 5 minute overtime and if the score remained tied the game ended, a standings point awarded to both teams and they called it good.
It validated the old sports adage that “a tie is like kissing your sister”. Miron was adamant that the games that were to be played in his Central Hockey League would be played to a conclusion with a hybrid form of tiebreaker that had been practiced overseas for a few years: a five minute overtime and a shootout; where penalty shots…shooters going one-on-one with the goalie would decide the game in a best of five rounds format.
Some people love the format, other hate it, but it proved it’s worth tonight when the Tulsa Oilers took on the Mississippi Riverkings in the amazing BOK Center on Friday night. The two teams would battle 12 rounds into the shootout before Mike Beausoleil found the back of the net behind Mississippi goalie Larry Sterling and sealed the victory for the Oilers, who had seen a 2-1 lead evaporate into a 4-2 deficit by the closing minutes of the third period.
Earlier in the season, the Oilers would have caved in around the disappointment that surrounded a collapse like that but the Oilers battled back with 2 goals after a questionable call by referee Ryan Hersey waved off an apparent goal by Oilers forward Chad Costello, who was coming in fast on Sterling and sent the puck into the upper corner of the net, but after some debate the goal was disallowed.
If anything, the Oilers deserved a power play as Costello was being manhandled by Chris Richards as he took his shot, but Hersey didn’t see the need. Oilers coach Bruce Ramsay was understandably livid, and vented his anger by slamming the gate to the Oilers bench violently several times. The incident so inspired Tulsa rookie Derek Hulak to score his first goal as a professional to close the gap, assisted by fellow rookie Brennan Barker and Gary Steffes at 7:48. Chad Costello would then knot the score at 4 a piece with a goal at 16:41 of the third.
In the end, it was the near perfect goaltending by Oilers goalie Ian Keserich that kept pace with 11-out of -12 Mississippi shooters, with Riverkings Brian Ihnacak getting the only goal in the shootout while Steffes and Beausoleil would get the others to seal the Oilers 5-4 victory. Tonight marked the first overtime loss by Mississippi, who fell to 9-10-1 with 19 points. In all, Keserich would stop 34-of-38 while Larry Sterling would block 33-of-37 Oilers shots. The Oilers would go 1-for-4 on the power play while Mississippi would not convert on all four of their power play opportunities.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
The Oilers will be back in action tomorrow night against the Missouri Mavericks at 7:35pm in the BOK Center. It will be the Oilers annual Teddy Bear Toss presented by the Warren Clinic. Bring a Teddy Bear and when the Oilers score their first goal you can toss it onto the ice rink where they will be collected and sent to needy families all over Tulsa.
Tickets for all Oilers games are available at the BOK Center Box Office, Tickets.com, Tulsa area Razor’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).