Over the weekend the Tulsa Oilers saw the win streak they were riding before hitting the road come to a rather rude ending over the weekend as they won one of three games.
After soundly defeating the Rapid City Rush 5-2 last Tuesday night the Oilers traveled to Wichita to take on the Thunder on their home ice. After a stalemate game which saw a scoreless first period, with Tulsa and Wichita trading goals in the second and third frames, the Oilers rode through the five minute extra session to go into their third shootout in the last two weeks and their second straight with the Thunder.
Ryan Menei, Ben Gordon and Justin Fox scored goals in the shootout and goaltender Shane Madalora stopped four of five Wichita shooters to give the Oilers a 2-1 victory over their only remaining CHL rivals from 1992.
That proved to be the weekend’s high point as the next two games were less than spectacular.
From Wichita the Oilers moved on to Independence, Missouri to face the Mavericks for the second time in under a week. When they last met the Oilers handed the Mavs a 6-4 regulation loss in the BOK Center. The Oilers overcame a three goal deficit to defeat the Mavericks, scoring six unanswered goals.
On Saturday night, it was a very different story indeed. The Mavericks roared out to a three goal lead as they did in Tulsa but the Oilers were not able to recover. The Tulsa goals were provided by forward Jason Weeks and Sean Erickson.
The first Oilers goal, Weeks’ first of the season, gave the Oilers life but the optimism was short-lived. Tochkin re-directed a Sebastien Thinel shot off the glove of Oilers goalie Dan Clarke and into the net to end the Oilers brief momentum and push the lead back to three goals. Sean Erickson blasted home a power play one-timer to cut the Mavs lead to 4-2 with 13 minutes to play, but Thinel answered just two minutes later to put the game away.
Clarke, making just his second start as an Oiler, made 34 saves on 39 shots. The rookie got the nod over Shane Madolora who had started 19 of the previous 20 contests.
First place met last place on Sunday afternoon as the Allen Americans returned to the BOK Center for the first time since November 30th when the Oilers topped the Americans 5-4. The only time the two teams have met since then was in Texas on January 4th when Allen defeated the Oilers 6-2.
The first period quickly turned into a one-sided affair in favor of the Americans. Jamie Schaafsma rocketed a shot past Shane Madolora at the 6:46 to give the Americans the early lead. Allen, the No. 2 ranked team in the Central Hockey League on power plays, then scored on two straight powerplay goals. With 9:45 remaining, Trevor Ludwig sent one over Madolora’s shoulder. Two minutes later, Adam Pineault connected re-directed Trevor Hendrikx’s blast to make it 3-0.
The Americans added to the pain in the second period. One minute and 31 seconds in, Schaafsma secured a rebound and knocked it into the net. With just 35 seconds remaining in the middle frame, Schaafsma put in his third goal to give the Ontario native a hat-trick and swell the advantage to 5-0. Schaafsma had four points overall (3 goals, 1 assist), which gives him 37 this year.
Tulsa got on the board one minute and four seconds into the final frame when Ben Gordon connected for his 26th goal of the season. Michel Beausoleil centered a pass for Ryan Cramer who rifled a shot off the shoulder of Allen goalie Steve Silverthorn that sat at the side of net for Gordon to clean up.
After five consecutive victories, the Oilers have now lost two straight games by a combined score of 10-3. Tulsa had also won five straight at the BOK Center coming into Sunday’s outing, their longest win streak on home ice since December 2011.
The Americans extended their league-leading road record to 14-3-4, and their overall record 27-10-8. For the majority of the night Tulsa was unable to solve Silverthorn, who ended with 27 saves. Madolora made his 20th start in his last 22 games and had 23 saves but was overpowered for his first loss since Jan. 26.
The Oilers and Americans will meet again at 7:05pm Tuesday night in the BOK Center.