The Tulsa Oilers have done it again. The Oilers won the opening game at Intrust Bank Arena last January in Wichita, spoiling a special night for the Wichita Thunder. On Saturday night, the Oilers beat the Thunder 4-1 in front of 7,110 fans, again spoiling a special occasion.
In an emotional pre-game ceremony, the Thunder retired the number 11 jersey of long-time Thunder player, and now assistant coach Jason Duda. When the game started, however, goalie Trevor Cann took over, stopping 35 of 36 Wichita shots en route to a weekend sweep of the series between these two heated rivals. Gary Steffes led the Oilers’ offensive efforts with two goals as Tulsa improved to a perfect 2-0 on the season.
Tulsa struck first when Steffes sent in a shot from between the circles at the 2:16 mark of the first period. Sean Erickson and Chad Costello were credited with the helpers. Former Oiler Aaron Davis evened the score for Wichita with 52 seconds remaining in the period when he deflected a shot from Travis Wight into the top right corner past Cann.
While the second period did not produce any goals, it did produce lots of action. The two teams combined for 18 penalty minutes as it became clear that this game was tilting towards becoming a goaltender dual. Cann stopped 16 Thunder shots while his Wichita counterpart, Ian Keserich stopped 11.
Gordon Bell put the Oilers back in front 3:49 into the third frame on a shot from the right point that bounced past Keserich. Marty Standish and R.J. Linder picked up the assists. The Oilers picked up another goal to add to their cushion just under four minutes later when Harrison Reed found a streaking Jack Combs ahead of the Thunder defense.
Combs skated in on net and sailed a wrist shot that beat Keserich and found the right corner of the net. That goal gave the Oilers a little more breathing room just moments after Linder made a diving save to scoop a rebounded puck off of the goal line on the left side while Cann was out of position after making a save.
Steffes added his second goal at the 16:36 mark when he picked up his own rebound on the power play and found the right corner to put Tulsa up 4-1. Tulsa next travels to Bossier City, Louisiana for a contest with the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs on Tuesday. Face-off is set for 6:35 p.m.