TULSA, OK—It was an evening of goal tending greatness on the part of Oilers rookie net minder Brady Hjelle as he made 33 saves on 34 Brampton Beast shots to backstop the Tulsa Oilers to a 4-1 victory in front of 6,340 in the BOK Center on Friday night. The Oilers were fresh off a 7-4 win over the Wichita Thunder on Wednesday night while Brampton dropped a 5-2 decision to the Mavericks on Tuesday night.
The only black mark for Hjelle was the Beast’s only goal of the game, which sparked a review by the officials as Hjelle believed that the goal had gone in off of a linesman’s skate on a ricochet that allowed Brampton forward Stephon Thome to score at 2:16 of the first period. Referee Brett Sheva discussed the matter with his linesmen and determined that the goal would stand.
After that, the 25-year-old rookie closed down his net and stood on his head in the Oilers net, allowing his teammates to seize control, beginning with the equalizer provided by Tommy Mele. The New York native scooted past Beast defenseman Antoine Corbin on the left wing and shoveled the puck through the legs of former Oilers goalie Trevor Cann for his seventh goal of the season. Mele was assisted by Luke Judson who was inserted back into the Oilers’ lineup after missing 13 games recovering from a concussion.
The period would end with the score knotted at 1-1. The home team gained the only lead they would need with just under six minutes elapsed in the second period when Drew Fisher, on a Tulsa power play, belted home a rebound of a slap shot from Dave Pszenyczny to extend the Oilers lead to 2-1. After that, Jeff Jubinville snapped a shot in past Cann to extend the Tulsa advantage by two goals at the 13:20 mark of the middle period and sent the teams to the locker rooms with the Oilers heavy with a 3-1 lead.
Kyle O’Kane, who assisted on Jubinville’s tally in the second period, netted his ninth goal of the season at 7:43 of the third and extended his point streak to four games. Hjelle turned aside 13 shots over the final 20 minutes to help seal the win for Tulsa.
One of the more remarkable facts about Friday night’s game was that relatively few number of penalties called on either team and the penalties that were called were all minors with the exception of a 10-minute misconduct assessed on Tulsa forward Tommy Mele late in the third period. The Oilers were penalized only 16 minutes on four infractions and went 1-for-2 on the man advantage. The Beast sat for six minutes on three penalties and were blanked on the two power play opportunities.
Brady Hjelle notched his first regulation-time victory on Friday night (his other victory was a 3-2 shootout win on November 8th in Allen). With the win, the Oilers have won all four times Brampton has visited the BOK Center and are 5-2-0 over all against the team from the Toronto suburb. Friday’s win also improved Tulsa’s second place record to 13-8-2 and 29 points, just two points behind the Allen Americans who are in the top spot in the ECHL Central Division.
For the first time this season, the Oilers were without veteran center Jon Booras who suffered an upper body injury in Wednesday’s win over Wichita but Adam Pleskach, Judson, Fisher, and O’Kane each chipped in two points to fill the offensive void.