TULSA, OK—The story of the season series between the Tulsa Oilers and the Allen American has been a sag of the one-goal loss. For all but three games in the series the two teams final scores have been decided by the single tally and those games were mostly where the Americans had the slightly heavier side of the scoreboard.
Such was the case on Sunday afternoon in the BOK Center, when defending Central Hockey League champions played their final game this season against the Oilers in a game that had been moved up from its original February date. Coming into the Americans were coming off a 5-0 shutout of the Denver Cutthroats and Tulsa was riding a three-game win streak after defeating Rapid City on the road last week, and Brampton twice on Friday and Saturday night.
The Oilers jumped out to a quick 2-0 leads thanks to goals by Michel Beausoleil and Ryan Menei in the first two and a half minutes of action. Allen rookie forward Alex Lavoie put his team on the board at 6:42 of the opening period when he jammed a loose puck past fallen Oilers goalie Brad Fogal. After Beausoleil was called for roughing at 7:14, it took the Americans just ten seconds to even the score with a power play goal from Jonathan Lessard. It was an astonishing goal scoring display as the teams had four goals on the board in less than tem minutes elapsed.
At 8:59, Oilers center Todd Robinson, who recorded his 1,000th career assist on Saturday night, fed the puck from behind the Allen net to the waiting stick of Blair Macaulay and the Oilers rookie winger slid a shot through the pads of Mark Guggenberger to put the Oilers back on top 3-2. After giving up three goals on four shots, Allen head coach Steve Martinson had seen enough and pulled Guggenberger in favor of Bryan Pitton, who rode out the rest of first period.
Tulsa re-gained its two-goal advantage at 16:48 when Robinson set up Beausoleil with another perfect pass on top of the Allen crease. The home team carried a 4-2 lead into the middle frame thanks to Beausoleil’s second goal of the period.
Guggenberger was back between the pipes for Allen to start the second period and the contest tightened in the middle frame with the only goal coming on an American’s power play. Kale Kerbashian drew the attention of the Oilers penalty killers and opened up space for Greger Hanson who snapped a shot over the glove of Fogal from the right face off dot. Tulsa’s lead was cut in half as the two sides approached the start of the third period.
The Americans took the lead at the 1:28 mark of the final period when Jamie Schaafsma batted a loose puck past Fogal to pull the Americans even at 4-4. The Oilers responded on an odd man rush into the Americans zone. Ryan Menei sent the puck from the right wing to the middle and Ben Gordon slid a pass across to rookie forward Adam Pleskach who reached back and cranked a one-timer through Guggenberger to put the Oilers back in front. Americans defenseman Ross Rouleau tied the game at 10:07 when he intercepted an Oilers clearing attempt and elevated a backhand past Fogal for his fourth goal of the season.
Lavoie, who started the scoring for Allen, blasted in the go-ahead goal at 11:42 and his second tally of the night held up as the eventual game-winner. Despite outshooting Allen 33-30, the Oilers were unable to squeeze another shot past Guggenberger and saw their three-game win streak come to an end.
The season series ends with the Oilers posting a 4-6-1 against the defending champs, winning two of the six games played at home. Todd Robinson dished out three assists for the second straight game and Brad Fogal made 24 saves in a losing effort in his first game as an Oiler goalie.
Tulsa falls to 19-18-2 on the season, still in sole possession of fifth place in the Central Hockley League standings as the season approaches the midway point. Allen moves to 21-10-3 and is in sole possession of second place.
Next up for the Oilers is a Friday night tilt with the Missouri Mavericks, a team that Tulsa has yet to beat thus far in the 2013-14 season.
Photo Credit: Kevin Pyle