TULSA, OK–The Tulsa Oilers endured a long drive back from Wichita last night after the 5-1 drubbing they received at the hands of the Thunder. With the all important home opener and the second game in two nights against the new (Cimarron) Turnpike rivals ahead of them, it was incumbent upon the Tulsa squad to post a solid performance in front of what was sure to be a big crowd at the amazing BOK Center
The Oilers opened the scoring at the 15:24 mark of the first period when Derek Eastman found the back of the net with T. J. Caig and Rob Hisey assisting. The goal came after referee Paul Mariconda had waved off an apparent goal by the Oilers and had instead sent Mike Beausoleil to the penalty box for goalie interference. It was only after the Thunder had killed off a 4-on-3 Oilers power play that Eastman scored.
Indeed the Oilers dubious outstanding statistics have been on special teams. The Oilers going into tonight’s contest had 9 scoreless power plays in two games, while they have scored a shorthanded goal in each of their games to date, the latest being a goal by Marty Standish in last night’s loss. Tonight the Oilers would extend that streak to 16 as they didn’t manage any goals either on a PP or shorthanded.
Dallas Steward pushed one past Wichita goalie Scott Campbell at 18:52 of the 2nd with assists coming from Brett Pilkington and Marty Standish as the period was winding down. Steward sent the puck past Campbell on the backhand on his right side. Tulsa then lit the lamp for a 3rd and final time in the 3rd period as current scoring leader Rob Hisey scored 6:24 into the 3rd assisted by Mike Beausoleil and T. J. Caig.
Wichita Thunder centerman Glenn Detulleo sent the puck past a sprawling Kevin Armstrong at 13:19 of the 3rd, scoring the Thunder’s only goal of the night and ruining Tulsa‘s shutout bid. Give assists to Chris McAllister and Jason Duda on that goal.
Strangely there wasn’t a lot of animosity between the two teams like you would imagine in a rivalry such as this, and thus no chippy play of fighting. You’d think there would have been as Friday’s game featured 4 rounds between the players. Since the Oilers play Wichita 10 times this season and given the rich history between the two clubs in the penalty minutes department, that is bound to change.
Though the night was a great one for the Oilers and the first home opener win for the team in the BOK Center, (last season the Oklahoma City Blazers pummeled the Oilers 5-1 in front of the 2nd largest crowd in CHL history), the one down note is that now they are still 0-for-the-season in power play goals, a total of 16 now. The win brings the overall record for Tulsa in home openers to 12-6-0 over 18 seasons since the 1992 CHL rebirth.
The Oilers now look to make it two and a row as the Rapid City Rush make their first visit to Tulsa this season. The Rush are 3-2 in command of the Northern division of the CHL and defeated the Arizona Sundogs tonight by a score of 4-3. It will also bring back a former Oiler from last season, Brendan Hodge, who in 4 games has 2 goals and one assist for 3 points
Tickets for Tuesday nights game and all home games are on sale at
the BOK Center box office, online at tulsaoilers.com and at all Reasors
Photos: Kevin Pyle