WICHITA, KS.—The path to ECHL Playoff became a little less crowded on Saturday night as the Oilers traveled North of the Oklahoma-Kansas border to take on the Wichita Thunder for the 11th time this season and easily handled their oldest rivals a 4-1 defeat on the ice in front of 5,008 in the InTrust Bank Arena.
Rookie forward Jeff Jubinville and rookie goalie Kevin Carr continued stellar performances, with Jubinville scoring twice and Carr allowing only one goal on 25 shots.
At the 5:39 mark of the first period, Oilers defenseman Dave Pszenyczny motored down the right wing side of the Wichita zone and feathered a pass into the high slot for Drew Fisher who slipped a wrist shot over the left pad of Tim Boron to give Tulsa an early 1-0 advantage. Fisher found the back of the net for the first time in nearly a month and notched his 18th goal of the season. The Oilers successfully killed three Thunder power plays in the opening 20 minutes and surrendered only three shots on goal over the course of the period.
Recent acquisitions Phil Brewer and Stephen Perfetto got a chance to show what they were made of in the second period as they combined assists to a Kyle Bochek goal less than five minutes into the second period. Brewer, a Bemidji State University product, moved the puck out of the Oilers’ zone and Perfetto, fresh off his collegiate career at Lake Superior State University, tapped the puck to Kyle Bochek who sped through the Wichita zone on his way to the net. Bochek dangled the puck through a pair of Thunder defensemen and slid a shot between the pads of Boron to give the visitors a 2-0 edge.
Jeff Jubinville then put in a pair of goals, the first on the power play when he buried a rebound of a ringing slap shot off the post by Dave Pszenyczny at 6:40 of the second period to extend the Tulsa lead to 3-0. As it so often has late in this season Jubinville goals come in pairs, and just ten minutes later, Scott Macaulay’s cross-ice pass was one-timed past Boron by Jubinville to give Tulsa a four-goal cushion. Jubinville, who has six goals in his last three games, recorded his fifth multi-goal outing of the season.
R.G. Flath provided the ruination of Kevin Carr’s shutout bid when he fired a quick snap shot in from the right of the Tulsa net. The Oilers locked down their defense for the reaminder of regulation time and held on for the 4-1 win. Carr and the Oilers have given up just five goals in their last six games and have won 11 of their last 13 contests. The Oilers successfully shut down seven Wichita power plays and scored a power play goal of their own for a third straight game.
The win briefly lifted the Oilers into second place behind the Allen Americans, whom they will face three times in the next six days and who have clinched the first playoff spot in the ECHL Central Division.
After a 3-1 defeat of Quad City on Saturday the Rapid City Rush edged the Oilers out of second place in the ECHL Central Division and now lead them by a point in the standings.
The next home game for Tulsa is a 7:05pm tilt against Allen Wednesday night.