Special teams errors spoil Oilers home openers

Tulsa's Tomas Klempa and Allen's Daniel Tetrault battle for the puck in Oilers home opener Saturday nightTULSA, OK—The Tulsa Oilers (0-3-1) opened the home side of their 2013-14 schedule on Saturday and Sunday night facing the Allen Americans (3-0-1), the defending champions of the league.  Both games had identical 3-2 scores in the losing effort and showcased a glaring error in the game plan of the “reloaded” Tulsa Oilers hockey team.  Lack of execution on special teams.

On Sunday afternoon the Oilers faced the Americans for the second straight game, (in all Tulsa will face Allen in six of their first eight games), and the Oilers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period.  By period’s end it was 2-1 and at 12:55 of the second Kale Kerbashian tied the contest at 2-2.   At 16:12 Allen forward Darryl Bootland was sent off for goalie interference, granting Tulsa the man-advantage.

After a flurry of shots on Americans goalie David Brown, they cleared the puck and after Tulsa player lost control of the puck in the Oilers zone Kerbashian found Jarret Lukin all alone in the slot and he slapped the puck past Madalora for a shorthanded goal.  That goal, like the one on the 5-on-3 on Saturday night, was all the Americans needed to pull ahead for good.

OilersFaceoffAllen goalie Brown stopped any hope the Oilers had of a comeback by stopping all eight shots he faced in the third period.  The game ended with the Americans and Oilers coming together in a brief scrum at the horn with a few punches thrown.  The end result of the altercation was a rather pointless 2-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to Kerbashian, who taunted the Oilers players as they were leaving the ice.

In Saturday’s game Allen outshot Tulsa 41-33 and went 3-for-6 on its power plays.  The Oilers finished 0-for-4 on the man advantage after notching power play goals in each of their first two games.  On Sunday, Tulsa finished the nigh 0-for-6 on the power play and was outshot 30-24 by Allen.

Tulsa, 0-3-1, is winless in its first four games for the first time since the 2008-09 season.  Allen improved to 4-0-1 and has earned a point in every game this season.

In each of the last three games, one in Denver and the pair at home against Allen were cases where the Oilers allowed a lead to slip away from them.   It was fairly obvious that while there seems to be no problem with the team’s ability to generate offense, it’s maintaining the pressure and the poor execution of special team situations that needs to be addressed.

Many fans after the game were left stunned at the Oilers 0-3-1 start given the preseason buzz generated over the off season but remained hopeful that the team will be able to correct their issues and get some wins.

The Oilers will travel to Allen for a third consecutive tilt with the Americans on Wednesday, then return to the BOK Center for a pair of games facing the Missouri Maveriks on November 1st, then the first of a pair of games with Allen on November 2nd and 3rd.