PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ.—There a many ways to describe the importance of a shutout when it comes to a hockey goalie. The nearest comparison is baseball, when a pitcher throws a complete perfect game, meaning they stay on the mound nine innings and strike out 27 batters. It’s rare for a pitcher to throw a perfect game, but a hot goalie with a great defense in front of him can do the same thing multiple times in a season.
On Wednesday night in the Tim’s Toyota Center, Tulsa net minder Shane Madolora put together his third shutout this season, turning aside all 34 Arizona Sundogs shots while his teammates put five pucks in the net in a 5-0 victory.
Kyle Bochek got the Oilers off to another fast start by netting his 14th goal of the season at the 4:51 mark of the first period. A diving backhand pass from Blair Macaulay across the Sundogs’ crease was chipped into the net by Bochek to give Tulsa an early 1-0 advantage. Three minutes later, veteran winger Michel Beausoleil cranked a power play slap shot through Arizona netminder Andrew Engelage and the Oilers had the Sundogs back on their heels.
At 17:13, Ben Gordon, who had a hat-trick and a pair of assists in Tuesday’s win over Arizona, continued his hot streak by beating Engelage with a sharp-angle wrist shot that deflected off a stick and into the net. Gordon’s 31st tally of the season was his tenth goal in the last six games. Drew Fisher capped off the one-sided period by tapping home a perfect feed from Cody Dion at 18:50 to give the visitors a commanding 4-0 lead heading to the second.
There was no scoring in the second period and the visitors rode the four-goal advantage into the third period where just a shade over a minute and a half into the period, Matt Ambroz buried a well-timed pass behind Engelage give the Oilers a five-goal advantage.
Madolora made 14 of his 34 saves in the final 20 minutes and showed sensational rebound control throughout the evening, limiting the Sundogs second and third opportunities. The Oilers puck-stopper earned his third shutout of the season and recorded his career-best sixth consecutive victory.
The win improves the Oilers record to 26-23-3 and gives them, for the moment, sixth place in the CHL standings with 55 points. Tulsa has also won seven of their last eight games and evened their road record to 12-12 with two shootout/overtime losses. They never trailed in the two games in Arizona and outscored the Sundogs 10-3 in the two games.
The Oilers return home to face the Quad City Mallards at 7:35pm in the BOK Center.
Photo By Kevin Pyle