TULSA: The off-season acquisition of center Jon Booras has paid enormous dividends for the Tulsa Oilers in their debut in the ECHL this season. He proved to be the superhero for the Oilers when they defeated the Wichita Thunder 3-2 in front of 4,096 in the BOK Center on Sunday afternoon.
The 32-year old native of Billings, Montana scored two goals on Sunday afternoon, the first being a shorthanded goal in the second period when Tulsa defenseman Dave Pszenyczny was sent off for boarding. In that situation, Tulsa goalie Kevin Carr made a blocker save that bounced to Drew Fisher who started a shorthanded rush for the Oilers.
Fisher pushed the puck ahead to a streaking Booras who used a nifty forehand-to-backhand deke to beat Bunz at the 18:25 mark. Booras knotted the contest at 2-2 and scored Tulsa’s fourth shorthanded goal of the season.
His second goal was the game winner for the home team. With the Thunder’s Erick Lizon boxed for high-sticking, Adam Pleskach peeled the puck off the left-wing boards and fed Booras at the edge of the face-off circle. The veteran center whipped the puck past the glove of Wichita goalie Tyler Bunz at 11:46 to give Tulsa its first lead of the night. Booras, who has scored four goals in his last two games, registered his third multi-goal effort of the season and leads all Oilers with eight multi-point outings.
It was one of the more exciting game the Oilers have played against their oldest rival in the 255 times the two teams have played. The Thunder had the lead twice in the game, in the first and second period, but the leads were brief. The Thunder struck first in the game at 4:16 when Wichita team captain Theo Peckham intercepted a clearing attempt by Tulsa goalie Kevin Carr and hammered a shot from the blue line that found its way into the Oilers net.
The second time they led was on a weird goal by Kurtis Bartliff in the middle frame. Despite the attempts of two Oilers to cut Bartliff off and take the puck away, the Wichita winger maintained his balance long enough to swat the puck past Carr for his second strike of the season.
Kevin Carr made 28 saves on 30 Thunder shots while Tyler Bunz turned aside 22 of 25 Oilers shots. Booras’ efforts helped him pull into a three way tie with Orlando’s Greg Miller and Toledo’s Anthony Luciani with 20 points. The win for the Oilers over Wichita is their fourth in a row at home and the first that did not require the two teams to engage in the overtime/shootout round.
The win elevates the Oilers to 8-4-2 on the season and with an overtime loss by the Quad City Mallard to the Missouri Mavericks this afternoon they are once again in a tie for first place in the ECHL Central.
The Oilers are starting one of the busiest weeks of the season in which they will play a pair of home games with Allen and another home game with Quad City through the Thanksgiving holiday. The Oilers will take on the Allen Americans for the first time at home this season on Tuesday night at 7:05pm in the BOK Center.