TULSA, OK– Once again with the Tulsa Oilers, it’s a tale of two hockey teams.
For all the success the Tulsa team enjoyed on Tuesday night with the 4-2 win against the Turner Conference leading Rapid City Rush , the Oilers looked lifeless and overwhelmed when they faced the Dayton Gems, a team near the bottom of that conference..
Braden Walls and Jack Combs kept the Gems from posting a shutout, but they were the only bright spots in an otherwise uninspired effort from the Oilers, that and the fact that the Oilers fired a season high 45 shots on Dayton goalie Jeff Jakaitis, winner of the CHL’s Sher-Wood Goaltender of the month for February. Jakaitis literally stood on his head amidst the barrage of Tulsa shots, stopping 43 in all. Trevor Cann faced as many shots on the Oilers end of the ice, but could only manage to turn aside 37.
The Oilers never led the game, and the Gems had full command of the game well before Walls goal in the seventh minute of the second period. Two Dayton players had a pari of goals, Matt Miller and Mike Vaskivuo, and the six other goals were provided by Jonathan Ornelas, Nick Canzanello, Damien Surma, and Brent Lutes. Only a power play goal by Jack Combs at 9:08 of the third period gave the Oilers a lift
Nevertheless, the boobirds of the BOK Center were out in full force among the 3,863 in attendance.
From here the Oilers hit the road to Odessa, Texas to take on the Jackalopes, a team that occupies 5th place in the CHL’s Berry Conference and is one point behind the Bossier Shreveport Mudbugs for fourth place. The Oilers have a three-point cushion between them and the Mudbugs, but Bossier has a game in hand, having played 55 games.
Tonight’s game was the only game played in the league tonight, so Tulsa didn’t lose any ground and remain just a point out of second place held by Texas, with 62 points to the Brahmas 63. Texas does have three games in hand over Tulsa, having played 52 games to the Oilers 55. Therefore, a strong showing on the road in west Texas is crucial if the Oilers want a high seed in the playoffs.
The Oilers return home to face the Wichita Thunder next Tuesday night for the final Tuesday night game of the season.