Reed scores a pair of goals as win streak extends to 4.
TULSA, OK– As has been the marching cadence for the Tulsa Oilers (8-12-1, T8th, Berry) this season, there was a flurry of activity prior to their game with the Rapid City Rush (9-7-4, 4th Turner) on Tuesday night.
Coach Bruce Ramsay made a trade with the Missouri Mavericks that brought forward Braden Walls to Tulsa for future considerations. Trevor Cann was sent to Tulsa by the Lake Erie Monsters for the third time this season, and finally, John Mori underwent surgery on Monday and will be out for two months.
All of this is going on while the Oilers are enjoying what has been their most successful series of games since the season began in October. Tulsa has won five of their last six games and has pulled even for 8th place in the Berry Conference, which is the final playoff spot under the new CHL playoff alignment.
Leading the Oilers in points with 24, goals (10) and assists is Chad Costello. Derek Eastman is currently the top power play goal scorer with six and is tied with the lead with Mississippi’s Chris Richards and Kory Scoran of Wichita for the 31 power play goal scorer in the league.
The Rush come to Tulsa after splitting a weekend series at home with the Quad City Mallards, dropping an overtime decision on December 3 5-4 and dropping the Mallards 2-1 the following night. Leading Rapid City in points is Ryan Menai with 23 points, followed by former Amarillo standout Scott Wray with 19 points.
Opening the scoring in the game was former Oiler Brendon Hodge who shot the puck past Oilers goalie Ian Keserich at 4:18. Hodge converted a misplayed puck by Keserich off an assist by Jamie VanDerVeeken. Then at 14:05 Harrison Reed scored his 8th of the season for Tulsa assisted by Chad Costello and Derek Eastman. Reed made it two in a row at 3:08 of the second period assisted by Chad Costello and Jack Combs.
As a penalty for Rapid City’s Jay Birnie was expiring, Sean Erickson gave the Oilers a two goal lead on a blast that sailed past Rush goalie Danny Battochio at 8:59 to give Tulsa a two-goal lead. Through two periods the Oilers outshot Rapid City 22-19 and though the Oilers came close, neither team scored a special teams goal, (power play or shorthanded).
In the third period, both teams stepped up the checking and hitting and both goalies took beatings from being crashed into during breakaways. Keserich was briefly shaken up on one such instance and spent a brief period under the observation of Oilers trainer Stuart Nichols late in the 3rd, and about 4 minutes later he surrendered his net briefly to Trevor Cann after an apparent hand injury.
Cann, who was suffering from flu-like symptoms and practically just off the plane from Cleveland spent 8:15 in the net and stopped all four shots that the Rush fired at him. Ian Keserich returned with less than a minute remaining and the game ended with the Oilers on top for the sixth time in the last seven games. It also added to a win streak that began on November 27th in Evansville with a 6-3 win over the Icemen.
Both teams failed to convert any of their power play opportunities, with Rapid City going 0-for-3 and the Oilers 0-for-6. The team of Keserich and Cann combined to stop 31-of-30 shots. Across the rink, the Rush’s Danny Battochio stopped 22-of-26 pucks sent his way. Harrison Reed, the game’s #1 star, led all scorers with 2 goals, and Jack Combs had two assists on the night.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
In all the Oilers have been on a run of complete, hard fought victories where they are clicking on all levels of their game. The Oilers will finish their three game home stand on Friday, December 10th when they face the Texas Brahmas at 7:35pm on Friday December 10th in the BOK Center.
Tickets for all Oiler games are available at the BOK Box Office, tickets.com, Tulsa area Reasor’s stores, and by calling 1-866-7BOK-CTR (866-725-5287). More information is available by calling the Oilers office at 918-632-PUCK (7825).