TULSA, OK—In the preseason, Tulsa Oilers head coach Bruce Ramsay said he expected Adam Pleskach to be an impact player and on Friday night against the Brampton Beast he proved his coach right yet again.
The 26-year old Manitoba native leads the Oilers this season with 18 goals thus far, but when he scored his 19th on Friday night, he proved what a clutch player he can be.
With the score tied 3-3 in overtime with just 34 ticks on the BOK Center scoreboard clock he sent a backhand shot over Brampton goalie Trevor Cann to give the home team a 5-4 victory and causing the 7.771 fans to erupt with a huge roar. The win for the Oilers is only their second in the last eight games, and it was a redeeming one of sorts for the debacle of Tuesday night’s game, which saw a three-goal lead disappear and the team lose to Rapid City 5-3.
The Beast assumed an early lead in the first period on power play goals by Rob Ricci and Matt McReady that occurred roughly five minutes apart. The Oilers looked sloppy in the game’s opening 20 minutes, and the fact that the last place team in the ECHL Central Division had the Oilers shut out 2-0 at the end of the period had the largest crowd for hockey this season groaning thinking that it was going to be Tuesday night all over again.
Thankfully, Jeff Jubinville and Drew Fisher had other ideas in the second period.
Jubinville was the first to solve Cann at 5:42 of the second period. After Cann denied Drew Fisher and a rebound attempt by Pleskach, Jubinville was able to tip a bouncing puck through the netminder’s legs for his ninth goal of the season. The Beast managed to kill off a 5-on-3 situation when Justin and Tyler Donati were boxed for tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct, despite the rapid fire shots sent toward Cann during that two minute time frame. Tulsa would pull even with Brampton at 14:38 of the second period when Jubinville was able to fire a pass over a fallen Cann to the waiting stick of Fisher who tapped home the equalizer.
It was Drew Fisher’s 10th goal of the season, and with that goal he became the fifth Oiler to reach the double digit mark in goals this season.
The third period started with Brampton scoring a goal early. A long shot from the neutral zone was stopped by Oilers goalie Kevin Carr but Beast center Cal Wild swatted the rebound into the back of net for a 3-2 lead just 4:30 into the final period. The Oilers responded near the middle of the period when Kyle O’Kane re-directed a Scott Macauley shot past Cann to pull the game even. Then the Beast surged back into the lead on a weird goal by Justin Donati six minutes later.
Donati fired the disc at Carr from center ice, and he initially appeared to have handled it easily with his blocker but it took a weird bounce over the Oilers goaltender and into his net to push the visitors ahead once more. Once again, the Oilers responded thanks to the concentration and hustle of Fisher. The third-year winger somehow located a bouncing puck in the feet of a Beast defenseman and snapped a shot over the glove of Carr with only 2:03 remaining in regulation.
Lost a back-and-forth action took place in the extra frame. Kevin Carr came up big five times in the overtimes session allowing his teammates to place Pleskach in the position to win the game in the dying seconds before the shootout. In all, Carr would make 27 saves on 31 shots in the game while Cann would turn aside 57 or a remarkable 62 Oilers shots, with most of them coming in the second period when the Oilers peppered him with 31 shots.
The win brings the Oilers to an even 15-15-3 on the season with 33 points, still in sole possession of fourth place in the ECHL Central, two points behind Wichita in third place with 35.
The Oilers will be back in action Saturday night when they take on the Rapid City Rush at 7:35pm in the BOK Center.