TULSA, OK—It was fitting that the Tulsa Oilers decided to retire the number of former head coach Garry Unger on Friday night because it was he who rendered a quote earlier in the day, eerily prophetic of what was to happen in the game following the ceremony.
Unger said, “There’s no easy games, it doesn’t matter if you have the best team in the league, there’s nobody who can’t come in here and beat you.”
On Friday night, Garry Unger’s night, the Rapid City Rush came into the BOK Center and did exactly that. The Rush (8-10) dominated the Oilers (13-11-3) in every facet of the game and handed the home team a 4-0 shutout on home ice. The Oilers were handed their third consecutive loss on their rink and in the last three games they have only scored two goals.
Jesse Schultz, and Robin Soudek scored in the first period, Winston Day Chief put the third Rush tally on the board in the middle frame and Jeremy Gates scored the fourth and final goal in the third period to secure the win for Rapid City. The win comes with a strange dynamic where the Oilers outshot the Rush 41-28 and a more telling statistic within that statistic is that despite outshooting Rapid City 19-9 in the first 20 minutes, the Rush came up with half of their total goals scored on just nine shots on Oilers goalie Kevin Carr.
Overall, the Oilers looked out of sync and listless. It didn’t help matters that, by and large the Oilers were not only outplayed but outmuscled in the physical component, which had them off their game. Rapid City pulled off a shutout with the use of both their goaltenders, as in the middle of the second period Etienne Marcoux left the game with an apparent injury and did not return leaving Danny Battachio to ride out the game.
Marcoux turned aside all 25 shots he faced and Battochio made 16 saves. Kevin Carr made 24 saves on 28 shots and his team was once again held scoreless on the power play, going 0-for-5 with a man advantage.
The Oilers need to get their act together, though on the surface there is really no need to go into full panic mode. They are losing ground on ECHL Central Division-leading Allen, who suffered a 2-1 loss at home to the Wichita Thunder, who were victorious against Tulsa on Wednesday night with a score of 2-1.
Tulsa now moves on for a home-and-home series with the Allen Americans. They travel to Allen tomorrow night and the Americans will come to the BOK Center on Sunday afternoon.