TULSA, OK–The Tulsa Oilers looked to extend a 3 game win streak Saturday night as they faced the Mississippi Riverkings for the second time in 3 nights and strengthen their bid to get in the playoff hunt.
Just a second into the game, with the puck virtually in the air Thomas Harrison and Adam Smyth dropped the gloves, and after about a minute and a half of what looked like a slow dance with the occasional flying fist, both sat their respective five minute majors for fighting, then the scoring began.
Oilers centerman Aaron Davis scored at the 4:28 mark of the first period, on assists from Dan Riedel and Sean Erickson. The Riverkings would knot the score at 1 on a goal by former Oiler Andrew Lackner assisted by Ryan Held and David Simoes. Mississippi would strike again and take a 2-1 lead on another man-advantage at 18:21, scored by Kevin Truelson and assisted by Derek Landmesser and Matt Summers.
Penalty killing used to be a specialty for the Oilers, and indeed their 84% kill ration with 9 shorthanded goals is impressive, but it meant little as Tulsa could not seem to stay out of the box tonight. The Oilers would themselves see a power-play goal in the 2nd period as Oilers captain and player assistant coach Tyler Butler would score on a blast from the slot in front of Riverkings goalie Kevin Beech at 14:33 assisted by Dan Riedel, tying the game yet again. That tie would be broken on the final power play goal of the night by Mississippi, when Matt Summers would find pay dirt behind Marty Magers to lift the Kings to a 3-2 lead. The Ruverkings would wind up going 3-for-6 on power play chances while Tulsa managed the 1-for-5 man advantage ratio.
At the 4:17 mark of the 3rd the Oilers found themselves deep in the Riverkings zone two on none and after a neat give and go Dan Riedel faked Kevin Beech well enough to tie the game yet again with T.J Caig and Sean Erickson assisting. It was all Mississippi after that as the Riverkings go-ahead goal was scored by Derek Landmesser at 8:33, and an empty net goal after the puck rolled off an Oilers player’s stick was scored by Matt Pierce in the dying seconds of the game to make the game 5-3 Kings, and that would do it. The Oilers fall to 16-13-1 on the year with 33 points, two points out of 3rd place. Mississippi assumes the 3rd place spot now at 16-13-3 with 35 points. The hill isn’t very steep but every game counts as the league is past the Christmas holidays and the playoff race heads into full swing.
The Oilers travel to Amarillo for a 4:05 matinee against the Gorillas, a team they beat 3-2 on December 18th. Games on January 8 against the Wichita Thunder and 15th facing the Texas Brahmas follow that before the Oilers darken the door of their home ice again on January 22nd facing the Thunder.
Tickets to all Oilers home games can be purchased at the BOK Center box office, online at tulsaoilers.com and all Reasors locations.
Photos: Kevin Pyle
GAME LENGTH: 2:26
REFEREE: Tom Steinel
1ST STAR: Lackner, Andrew (MIS)
2ND STAR: Held, Ryan (MIS)
3RD STAR: Riedel, Dan (TUL)