TULSA, OK– Even though the Transport Workers local 514 is a huge supporter of the Tulsa Oilers and all of the professional sports teams in the Tulsa area, the team itself is rather hard on their tour buses.
For the second time this season, a tire overheated and caught fire on the way back from the Oilers 5-0 victory over the first place Allen Americans early this morning. Unlike with the November 5th incident on the way to Independence which destroyed the bus, the fire was extinguished and as a result the team did not make it back to Tulsa until 7am, as opposed to the normal 2am arrival.
Still, in the face of the demise of another bus the Oilers still had hockey to be played, and this afternoon’s opponent was the Odessa Jackalopes. For a good portion of the season Tulsa has been pursuing the Jacks and with the mid season surge from the Oilers the roles have reversed somewhat of late. The Jackalopes have won their last three games against Laredo, Colorado and Texas, and they have won six of their last 7 games coming into the first of four meetings between the two clubs, and the only one the Oilers will play against Odessa at home.
The Jacks have a 12-13-1 record with 25 points and the Oilers are at 13-13-1 with 27 points. The Oilers headed into Sundays game had won 10 of their last 12 games and were riding a 2 game win streak upon their return to the amazing BOK Center on Sunday afternoon.
In the game Odessa opened the scoring with a goal at 14:26 of the first period with a goal by Todd Robinson, who got the puck past Oilers goalie Ian Keserich off a pass from Dominic Leveille from behind the net. Robinson would score his second goal in the second period at 12:20 off assists from Daryl Bootland and Alex Dunn.
Jack Combs ruined the shutout effort of Odessa goalie Michel Robinson at 13:51 with Tulsa on a two-man advantage with Chad Costello and Tom Dignard getting the assists. Dignard would get his second assist of the night on a goal at 14:20 of the third period when he sent a pass from behind the Odessa net into a neat one-timer shot from Sean Erickson that whistled past Michel Robinson for the equalizer.
Regulation time ended with the two teams knotted at two, and that gave way for the 5 minute, 4-on-4 period that precedes the shootout. In achieving the extra frame the Oilers attained sole possession of third place in the Berry Conference of the Central Hockey League when one standings point was awarded to both teams for the tie.
Thirty-eight seconds into the extra period Chad Costello was sent to the penalty box for tripping, and after Marty Standish won the ensuing face off Derek Eastman took the puck in on a 2-on-1 break and fired a rocket from the left hand circle. The puck deflected in the net off Robinson’s legs and the game was over.
Eastman’s game winning goal continues a unique streak for the Oilers player-assistant coach. All of his 8 goals this season have come during special teams situations. He is a league leader with 7 power play goals and tonight’s overtime shorthanded marker is his eighth for the season so far.
Even though the Jackalopes managed to put a pair of goals past him, Oilers goalie was stellar in the Tulsa net, turning away all but two of Odessa’s 41 shots, including 21 of 22 shot at him in the first period.
The Oilers return to the mothership this Tuesday night to face the Texas Brahmas at 7:05pm. That game will be preceded by two high school hockey games that will complete the GTR Cup series, presented by the Oilers and GTR Newspapers.
The Tulsa Comets will play the Jenks Trojans in the 3rd place consolation game at 3pm with the championship game between the Union Redskins and Broken Arrow Tigers will commence at 4:30pm. A game ticket for the Oilers matchup with Texas is good for the high school games as well.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
Tickets for all Oilers 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).