Rapid City slips past Oilers 5-4.

Steffes scores two goals on the power play as Tulsa falls short of two in a row.alt

RAPID CITY, SD.– The Tulsa Oilers traveled to the badlands of South Dakota on Saturday night to take on last season’s defending champions fresh off a big win in Colorado on Friday evening. In that game, the Oilers rose from a two goal deficit to tie and eventually beat the Eagles in the shootout.

As it turned out, history was to repeat itself in Rapid City, with a different result. The Rush moved out to a two goal lead in the first period, the first by Ryan Menej at 11:18 assisted by Andrew Martin and Scott Wray, and the second by Derek LeBlanc at 12:15 assisted by Les Reaney.

Much like they did in Colorado, the Oilers took ownership of the second period with a pair of power play goals. The first came from Gary Steffes at 15:02 assisted by Chad Costello and Derek Eastman. With a little over 2 minutes remaining in the frame Tulsa defenseman Sean Erickson would light the lamp behind Rush goalie Danny Battochio with Mike Beausoleil getting the helper.

The Oilers would then take the lead on the second power play marker by Steffes at 4:33 of the third period assisted by Gordon Bell and Mike Beausoleil, followed by an even-strength goal by Marty Standish 19 seconds late assisted by John Mori and new Oiler Evan Kotsopoulos.

With their backs against the wall, the defending champions then woke up. Ryan Menej would score an unassisted goal at 8:20, and then Rapid City’s Andrew Martin would tie the game on the power play at 17:11 assisted by Scott Wray and Derek LeBlanc, something he would repeat less than a minute later with Ryan Menej and Scott Kalinchuk at 18:06.

The Oilers will return home next Thursday night when they will face the Allen Americans for the first time at 7:05pm in the BOK Center. On Friday, the Oilers will host Missouri in the first of a home and home series with the Mavericks. Tickets for those games and all Tulsa Oilers home games are on sale at the BOK Center box office.