TULSA, OK—An inexplicable crowd of 4,077 braved icy roadways in the Tulsa area to see the Tulsa Oilers (11-9-2) top the Arizona Sundogs (7-11-1) 5-3 in the BOK Center on Friday night.
The two teams were pretty evenly matched in the game, which was the first of six meetings between the Oilers and Sundogs this season. The game started off with Arizona denting the twine first with a strike from Jordan Clendenning at the 9:24 mark of the first period. Less than a minute later Adam Pleskach scored his 14th goal of the season to even the score.
At 14:20 of the first Pleskach scored his second goal of the night on the power play, taking a Scott Macauley pass and neatly lifting it up and over Arizona goalie Andrew Engelage to give the home side a 2-1 advantage. Then, with less than a minute remaining in the opening stanza, Travis Ouellete, playing his first game as a Sundog, scooped up a rebound off the end boards and fired over Tulsa netminder Shane Madolora to even the score at 2-2.
The two teams battled without a goal through the second period. Shot values through two periods was relatively low, by the end of the middle period the Sundogs were outshooting the Oilers 18-14, and on the whole the teams were playing an evenly paced game throughout.
The Tulsa offense came alive in the third period, when the Oilers took command of the game with a shorthanded goal by Todd Robinson at the 11:45 mark of the period when Todd Robinson finished off a neat passing play between him and Kyle Bochek. The Sundogs again evened the score at 14:29 of the third when Arizona scoring leader Paul McIlveen teed the puck up and blasted it by Madolora.
At that point the Oilers offense found new life. At 16:40 Ryan Cramer punched home his 7th goal of the year when he blasted in a shot off a Blair Macauley pass. Then veteran Michel Beausoleil provided the insurance marker with a little over two minutes remaining to put the game out of reach for the home team.
The Oilers improved to 11-9-2 with the victory, ending a two game losing streak. The Sundogs fall to 7-11-1. Tulsa has 11 wins in their last 15 games. Scott Macaulay, Adam Pleskach, Todd Robinson, and Kyle Bochek each ended the night with two points and Tulsa found a way to pick up two points despite being outshot for a third straight game, and Shane Madolora improved to 9-7-0 on the season with a 25-save performance.
The Oilers victory ties them with Denver in the standings for fourth place with 24 points, (Denver lost 3-2 to the St. Charles Chill tonight). Both teams will go on the road on Saturday, Tulsa heading to Wichita to take on the Thunder at 7:05pm in the InTrust Bank Arena and Arizona will visit the Missouri Mavericks in the Independence Event Center also at 7:05pm. All roads lead back to the BOK Center for a 4:05pm rematch.
Photo by Kevin Pyle. (www.photopyle.com)