TULSA, OK— The last minute of the game between the Tulsa Oilers and the Missouri Mavericks was a blur of flying pucks, swinging sticks and frantic skating, but even with goalie Kevin Carr pulled to give the home team an extra man, the efforts fell short as the Mavericks topped the Oilers 5-4 in front of 3,202 in the BOK Center on Tuesday night.
The loss was the Oilers second loss in regulation this season and their first regulation loss on home ice.
It started off well for Tulsa with T.J. Caig chipping the puck in over Mavericks goalie John Griggs for a power play goal at 2:48 of the first period. The, in what would become a trend in the game, the Mavs evened the score when Sebastien Thinel jammed the puck through the legs of Carr at 11:03. The first period saw the Oilers outshoot Missouri 12-5 and featured a short fight between the Oilers Ty Bilcke and the Mavericks Scott Langdon. The unimpressive bout was more like a ballroom dance and did little to inspire either team.
Missouri jumped ahead with a goal by a new member of the Mavericks at 7:02 when Lindsay Sparks found the twine behind Carr to give the visitors a lead, but it didn’t last very long. Adam Pleskach, the Oilers johnny-on-the-spot for goals this season, beat Griggs on the short side 90 seconds later to knot the score at 2-2. Sparks responded in about the same time period when he put the puck in behind Carr again to give the Mavericks a 3-2 advantage. A defensive lapse at 14:44 allowed Missouri sniper David Rutherford an open patch of ice in the slot in front of the Oilers goal, and he swept in a backhand shot to give the visitors a two goal lead they would ride into the second break.
Shots on goal in the second period were almost directly opposite of the first with the Mavericks out shooting Tulsa 11-8.
The second break pep talk by Oilers head coach Bruce Ramsay must have made the paint blister in the locker room, because they came out in the third period on fire. Scott Macauley broke up a breakaway attempt by the Mavericks and fed the puck to Pleskach who fired the disc home to close the gap to 4-3 less than a minute into the final period. After that, at 3:43 defenseman Dave Pszenyczny corralled a loose puck in the Mavs zone and blasted it home to tie the score yet again at 4-4.
But the Mavericks responded at 5:45 when Jared Brown zipped the puck through traffic and past Kevin Carr to give Missouri their second straight win over the Oilers in five days.
The same referee who gave the Mavericks a power play in overtime on Friday night, Zac Blazic, drew Tuesday’s game but was less of a factor. This loss was squarely at the feet of the Tulsa players and they finished the three game home stand dead even at 1-1-1, and 3-2-1 overall. Despite the loss the Oilers remain tied for first place in the ECHL Central Division with the Rapid City Rush.
The Oilers will travel to Allen for a game with the Americans at 7:35 in the Allen Event Center before returning home for a three game swing starting with the Quad City Mallards on November 14th.
Tickets are on sale at the BOK Center Box Office or at tulsaoilers.com.