After Saturday evening for either the Tulsa Oilers or the Mississippi Riverkings there is truly no tomorrow for one of those teams. After two disastrous games at home to open the series the Oilers have battled back to tie Mississippi and force an epic game 5 on Saturday night at the amazing BOK Center in beautiful downtown Tulsa.
While the Oilers have a daunting task against the Riverkings they are also locked in a fierce battle with history as well. If Bruce Ramsay’s speedy Tulsa squad wins on Saturday it will be the first time since 1994 that the Oilers have won a playoff series and advanced past the first round.
The team has not been in a series-clinching final game since 1997 as well, and that to is a statistic that weighs heavy on the minds of the Oilers players and the long-suffering Oilers fans.
Regardless of how the season ultimately ends tomorrow night there are far more positives than negatives in the Oilers season. Chief among them is the fact that during the first month of the 2010-11 campaign the team was stuck in a 3-11-1 hole that wound up turning into a third place finish in the Berry Conference, one point out of second place and home ice advantage in the playoffs.
Individually, the Oilers nhave had a decent playoff season as well. Chad Costello leads the playoffs in scoring with two goals and six assists for eight points. He has figured in eight of the Oilers 12 goals in the seriesMike Beausoleil leads the playoffs with four power play goals. He has scored one power play goal in each of the four games, and has scored the Oilers first goal in each game.
Derek Eastman is tied for the playoff lead for goals and points among defensemen with two goals and two assists for four pointsSeven of the Oilers 12 goals in the series have been power play goals. They are 7-for-26 for 26.9 percent fourth best in the playoffs
The Oilers have killed 26-of-28 penalties for 92.9 percent also fourth best in the playoffs.
The stage is set, and it will all come together Saturday night at the BOK. Not to put carts in front of any horses but an Oiler victory on Saturday will pit Tulsa against Bossier-Shreveport, while Mississippi is playing for the chance to take on Allen in the next best-of-five series.
Tickets for all Oilers playoff 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).
Photo by Kevin Pyle.