It was a successful weekend for the Oilers as they picked up five out of a possible six points during a stretch of three games in less than 48 hours. Friday night in Fort Worth, Gary Steffes scored the only goal of a tight, defensive game as the Oilers held on for a 1-0 decision over the Texas Brahmas. Ian Keserich turned aside 23 shots to record his second shutout of the season.
After earning a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to Wichita on Saturday, the Oilers returned home Sunday afternoon to face the Laredo Bucks. Mike Ullrich set the tone with a goal 34 seconds into the game and it was evident very quickly that the Bucks had no answers for the Oilers offense.
Ullrich registered his second hat-trick of the season, Michel Beausoleil scored twice, and Steve Christie made 33 saves en route to a 7-2 victory. Four Oilers recorded multiple points as Tulsa improved to 3-0 this season against Laredo.
With points in five straight games, the Oilers, firmly in fourth place in the Berry Conference, are riding their second longest point streak of the season.
The seven-goal outburst on Sunday is tied for the Oilers highest offensive output of the season. Back on December 2, Tulsa also tallied seven times in a 7-3 rout of Bloomington. Sunday’s outcome was a welcome relief to the Oilers recent goal drought. Tulsa had managed just two goals or less in each of the previous six games. Oilers forwards Mike Ullrich and Michel Beausoleil, two of the team’s biggest offensive weapons, were both able to break out of their recent slumps against Laredo. Ullrich, who had found the net just once in his last 13 games, scored three times on four shots. The Calgary native has lit the lamp 20 times this season and leads all CHL rookies in goals. The veteran Beausoleil had only one goal in the previous 17 outings, but found his scoring touch Sunday. “Bobo” tallied once in the first period and again in the second to run his goal total to ten on the season.
The Great #8: Saturday night in Wichita, Oilers center Marty Standish played in his 600th CHL game. The 13-year veteran is seventh on the league’s all-time games played list and has joined Travis Clayton, Jason Duda, Joe Burton, Chris Richards, Derek Landmesser, and teammate Tyler Fleck, as the only players to suit up for 600 CHL games. Standish, now in his third season in Tulsa, played in his 800th professional regular season game Sunday against Laredo. The durable forward began his pro journey in 1999 for the Kansas City Blades and has since recorded 254 goals, 403 assists, and 1830 penalty minutes. Standish, who won the lone championship of his career in 2001 with Oklahoma City, has also skated in 130 career playoff games.
Steve Christie has only been in Tulsa for two weeks, but the new Oilers netminder is already having a big impact. In six appearances with the Oilers, the Winnipeg native has allowed just 16 goals. Christie isn’t just making saves, he’s coming up with stops at the most crucial moments. The 27-year old has turned aside 47 of the 50 third period shots he’s faced, helping the Oilers to preserve leads or stay within striking distance in close games. With the win on Sunday, Christie’s record as an Oiler is 2-1-2. Before arriving in Green Country, Christie was the number one goalie for the Pensacola Ice Flyers and was named SPHL Player of the Month for December. During that stretch, Christie went 8-2 with a 2.29 goals against average, a save percentage of .923, and one shutout.
Through the first five games of 2012, the Oilers were able to kill off just 62 percent of the opposing team’s power-plays. Over the last six games, the Tulsa penalty kill unit is back to being one of the stingiest in the league. The Oilers, who didn’t allow a single power-play in Wichita on Saturday, have killed off 23 of the last 25 penalties. Tulsa’s penalty kill is operating at 80.1 percent for the season.
The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees buzz into the BOK Center on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. for the second meeting of the season with the Oilers. The Bees and Oilers clashed on Nov. 5 in Hidalgo, Texas with Rio Grande earning a 6-3 victory. Just like every Tuesday home game this season, beer is only two bucks and it’s also a Papa John’s College Night. With a valid student ID, college students will receive a ticket to the game and a coupon for a large, one-topping Papa John’s pizza for only $12. The beer is cheap, the tickets are affordable, and the Oilers will provide all the entertainment. Tuesday night is the perfect opportunity to save money and watch hockey as the Oilers try to run their point streak to six games. With Rio Grande three points behind Tulsa in the standings, Tuesday’s tilt looms large for both teams who are fighting for playoff position. Come on down to the BOK Center, grab a cold one, and watch the Oilers take the sting right out of the Bees!