TULSA, OK—The Tulsa Oilers played the Missouri Mavericks and Wichita Thunder this weekend (Friday and Sunday nights respectively) and they wound up going 1-and-1, with both exciting games ending in the overtime/shootout conversion. In fact, the Oilers have yet to play a game to its regulation time conclusion on the home side of their schedule this season.
Missouri tops Tulsa with help on Friday.
It’s purely subjective to say what factors determine who wins or loses hockey games but it was painfully clear what the tipping point was on Friday night in the game between the Tulsa Oilers and the Missouri Mavericks.
When Jake Obermeyer committed a tripping penalty with 1:10 remaining in overtime it put the Mavericks in the very favorable position of a 4-on-3 man advantage, and it allowed Missouri defenseman Martin Lee to bury the puck behind Oilers goalie Kevin Carr with just 38 seconds remaining before a shootout would commence.
Lee’s second goal in the game gave the Mavericks their first victory of the 2014-15 season.
The goal had the 3,440 fans in the BOK Center livid, and the Tulsa fans let referee Zac Blazic and his linesmen know it as they skated to the exit tunnel with a chorus of booing. A power play goal in overtime was a cheap way to end a game in which one player, Adam Pleskach, notched the first hat-trick for the Oilers in the young season.
After the Mavericks went up 1-0 with a David Rutherford goal at 15:01 of the first period, Pleskach beat a dying clock when he slipped the puck in between Missouri goalie Mike Clemente and the right post with just six seconds to go in the first period. Pleskach struck again to give the Oilers a brief lead at 15:01 when he uncorked a shot after a nifty feed pass and punched it home past Clemente.
Lee would help Missouri to the equalizer at the 9:00 mark of the third period to knot the score at two goals each , then David Rutherford tie the game in the second period when he sent a bullet of a slap shot past Carr to put the Mavericks ahead at the 14:36 mark of the final period.
Pleskach tied the score for the final time late in the third period when he drove home the rebound of a Scott Macauley shot to give the teams a 3-3 tie they would ride into the game’s final horn. Pleskach completed the third hat-trick of his young career and has three multi-goal games in five appearances this season.
Lee’s heroics in overtime ended the game, but it the Oilers came away with a point in the overtime loss.
Oilers silence Thunder in shootout.
One of the odder statistics this season for the Tulsa Oilers is that on the home side of their schedule, every game has resulted in points. They also have taken more than the allotted 60 minutes to finish. An overtime win against Wichita on opening night and the overtime loss against the Mavericks gained the Oilers three points, (two for a win, one for a loss), in each of their first two games.
On Sunday afternoon the Wichita Thunder returned to town for another afternoon matinee in the BOK Center. Tulsa’s oldest rival in two leagues blanked the Oilers in their last meeting 2-0 on October 29th and head coach Bruce Ramsay’s young team was keen on revenge.
It was an inelegant start for Tulsa on Sunday afternoon as the Thunder mounted a two-goal advantage before the first ten minutes had expired. Jared Walker and Nikita Kashirsky scored within 41 seconds in the first period, and with two goals on three shots starting goaltender Mike Zacahrias’ day was done, replaced by Kevin Carr for the second time in three games to stand in relief.
The early pull with two-goals for the visitors turned out to be a good move, as those were the only marks the Thunder would score in regulation time.
The brothers Mele, Tommy and Steve, provided the Oilers first goal of the game at 7:02 of the second period. Steve Mele sent a hard shot at Thunder goalie Tyler Bunz that he initially stopped, but brother Tommy scooped up the rebound and lobbed the disc over Bunz to tie the score at two. Jake Obermeyer scored at 6:44 of the third period, sending a blue line slapper past Bunz and into the Thunder net to tie the game at two.
With a little over three minutes remaining in the third period Tulsa center (and former Wichita Thunder player) Jon Booras appeared to score when he slapped one over the shoulder of Tyler Bunz, but the goal was disallowed after Mike McCready determined that the puck never crossed the line. The score would remain knotted at two as the regulation horn sounded.
Both teams engaged in fierce four-on-four combat in the extra frame, and it appeared that history might repeat itself as T.J. Caig was whistled for roughing with a minute to go in the extra period. The Oilers then scrambled to make sure the Thunder would not end the game in overtime as Missouri had two nights ago. Tulsa goalie Kevin Carr made a tremendous save just as time expired as he summoned up his goal stopping powers and denied Wichita forward Dannick Gauthier a last second miracle by stopping a his low slot ripper when he caught the puck from an impossible face-down, not looking position.
When the shootout was over, Carr stopped six of seven Thunder shooters. Each side had only one goal in the shootout and in the end the Oilers Scott Macauley found the back of the net, and Carr stopped Wichita’s final shot and that was enough to give the home team a win.
Tulsa had allowed a power play goal in each of its first four contests but held Wichita 0-for-6 on the night with the man-advantage. The two points pushed the Oilers into a tie with Rapid City for first place in the Central Division at 3-1-1 overall through five games.
The Oilers will remain home for a Tuesday night rematch with Missouri at 7:05pm.