Caught in the middle of yet another multiple game set with the defending champions of the Central Hockey League the Tulsa Oilers faced off against the Allen Americans for the second straight time in the Allen Event Center on Saturday night. The two teams have faced each other seven times since the season began last month.
The game began with the Oilers falling behind 2-1 after goals by Kale Kerbashian and Corey Tamblyn within a minute of each other in the middle of the first period. Tulsa then cut the lead by a goal when Michel Beausoleil scored his 11th goal of the season at 15:21 of the first period off assists by Adam Pleskach and Ben Gordon.
Then utter chaos erupted in the second period. The Oilers scored seven goals and outshot the Americans 24-9 in one of the wildest periods of hockey in recent memory.
Adam Pleskach, one of the best rookies the Oilers have had since Jim Dahl of the 2005-06 Tulsa Oilers, scored his first goal of the game with a little less than 4 minutes elapsed in the second period to tie the score at two each. Then the Americans were awarded a penalty shot at 4:35 and Alex Lavoie converted to hand the lead back to the Americans. Three minutes later Kyle Bochek backhanded the puck in from his knees to give the lead to Tulsa for the first time in the game at the 9:06 mark of the period.
Spencer Asuchak tied the game for Allen on the power play at 13:06 and exactly two minutes later, Pleskach completed his hat trick and once again gave the Oilers the lead at 5-4. With the turn of the next shift all hell broke loose on the ice.
When Americans forward John Snowden was sent headlong into Oilers goalie Shane Madolora a line brawl erupted with every player on the ice except for Allen goalie David Brown squaring off with one another. When the fighting ceased both penalty boxes were full and the Oilers came out of the ruckus with a five minute power play, due in part to Allen forward Darryl Bootland, who scored a pair of goals in the Americans 3-1 victory over Tulsa, attacked Madolora sparking the line brawl, and earning himself an early trip to the showers and penalties for fighting, instigation and an additional major penalty for being an aggressor.
In hockey, when a player is penalized with a major penalty for something other than fighting, as Bootland was, the non-offending team is given five full minutes of power play time, and they can score at will without the offending team returning to full strength.
Tulsa capitalized on five unrestricted power play minutes with three straight goals. Pleskach notched his fourth score of the night and Scott Macaulay and Robinson followed with goals to swell the Oilers lead to 8-4 with less than a minute remaining in the period. Lavoie snapped a shorthanded shot past Madolora with just 34 seconds left to pull the Americans back within three.
The home side was determined to keep the game close and in the 3rd period they roared back to within a goal of the lead in the first 4 minutes of the final period. Then Alex Lavoie completed his hat trick tying the score for Allen at 8-8 with 9 minutes remaining in the game. Nine minutes later Blair Macauley silenced nearly 5,000 Allen fans in the arena with a comet-trailed slap shot past Allen’s relief goalie Bryan Pitton 19 seconds later giving Tulsa a 9-8 edge.
In the dying seconds of the game, Oilers forward (and former Allen American) Todd Robinson sealed a 2-goal victory for Tulsa sending the disc into the empty home net.
The victory…the second in three straight visits to Allen and the Oilers eighth in their last 10 games…pushes the Oilers to 8-7-2 and 18 points. Tulsa also improves to 2-4-1 against the defending champions and are now 5-2-1 in the season series.