TULSA, OK— Everything that could go wrong for the Tulsa Oilers went wrong on Saturday night as the Rapid City Rush handed them a 5-0 loss in front of 6,505 in the BOK Center. The flat, generally lifeless offensive effort shown by the Oilers on Friday night carried over to Saturday night as the Rush took it to them early and did not let up.
Five different goal scorers found the back of the Tulsa net in the game, including Kevin Harvey, Jared Brown, Anthony Perdicaro, Jesse Schultz and Winston Day Chief before Oilers goalie Shane Madolora was pulled from the game in the third period.
In 43:20 worth of work on Saturday night Madolora turned in 12 saves on 17 shots. Brad Fogal came on in relief and stopped every shot he faced through game’s end.
Tulsa was unable to get things going on offense, partly because of the effective Rapid City containment and a gullible fellow in the striped sweater who saw fit to send the Oilers to the box on calls that both made and did not make sense. Trevor Harding was the referee on Saturday night, (as he was on Friday night), and the Oilers kept his hand in the sir as frustration grew and the Rush kept scoring. Though that would sound as if the referee had a vendetta of sorts against the Oilers this weekend, the vast majority of the times they were sent off were well deserved, and somewhat stupid penalties given the offensive effort Rapid City was presenting against them
Eleven times did Harding whistle the Oilers players for penalties, most of the time when the Rush players made an overly theatrical attempt to draw the penalty and despite going down two men at one point late in the game, all 11 times the Rush had the man-advantage were thwarted be Tulsa’s penalty killers, the single positive that could be garnered from the debacle the game had become.
Ben Gordon’s point streak ended at eight games and Shane Madolora has lost two straight after winning eight straight games. Despite losing two in a row at home the Oilers can take as a positive that they have won ten of their last 13 games. Beyond that, there’s not a lot more that could be spun out of the weekend’s efforts, or lack thereof.
The loss by the Oilers drops the Oilers to 29-25-3 on the season and they remain in seventh place overall in the Central Hockey League standings. The two home games with Rapid City brings to an end the season series with the Rush, with the Oilers winning the series by one game 3-2-0. Rapid City, clinched a playoff spot with a 4-3 shootout win over the Wichita Thunder on Sunday afternoon.
There are nine regular season games remaining on the Oilers schedule. Five of those games will take place against the Wichita Thunder starting next Friday night in the InTrust Bank Arena. Of those games,
Tulsa will face Wichita twice in the BOK Center (3/16 and 3/21) and three times in Wichita. With the Thunder gaining a point in their shootout loss to Rapid City, mathematically the season for the Oilers boils down to the five straight games with the Thunder. Every game is crucial, but with the Oilers hanging onto the second-to-last playoff position, and so few points separating the teams in playoff contention the five straight games with Wichita become crucial, to the point of almost a “red-alert” situation.
The next Tulsa Oilers home game will be on Sunday, March 16th against Wichita.