The Oiler have been seeing red a lot lately. The red of the jersey of the Allen Americans, and the red of the lights above the goal on their end of the rink when they score. As mentioned previously, they are a big team, they are a skilled team and if you are chasing them on the scoreboard generally speaking, they will be very unforgiving.
Such was the case in the final two games of their seemingly endless series that was begun prior to the Thanksgiving holiday and concluded on Friday night.
After falling to Allen 7-4 on Tuesday night in the BOK Center the Oilers traveled to the Dallas suburb on Wednesday night to take on the Americans on their rink and they got hammered 5-1 in front of 2,924 in the Allen Event Center. Chad Costello scored two goals and dished out an assist to lead the Americans’ attack. Allen has won four straight games over Tulsa in the season series and has won 10 of its last 11 games. The Oilers suffered back-to-back regulation losses for only the second time this season and dropped to 10-7-3 overall.
Costello, as well as Jack Combs and Gary Steffes once wore the Oilers crest and they have been the thorn in the side of the Oilers throughout the season as it has been their line that has done a great deal of damage to Tulsa in the last few games in the series. A nifty passing play between Chad Costello, Jack Combs, and Gary Steffes resulted in Steffes’ twelfth goal of the season at the 9:07 mark. The puck moved rapidly between the sticks of the Allen forwards and Steffes was able to flick the puck past Oilers goalie Brady Hjelle to give the home team a 1-0 edge.
In all, the Americans had a 3-0 edge before any noise was made behind Allen goaltender Raphael Girard. Tulsa winger Matt Larke fired the only shot of the night that beat l Girard at 10:47 of the middle frame but the Oilers would come no closer. Spencer Asuchak, who scored a goal in Tuesday’s win, snapped a puck over the glove hand of Hjelle at 18:35 to restore Allen’s three-goal lead.
Tack on Costello’s second goal, and another by the man who scored the final empty net goal in the BOK Center on Tuesday, and the Americans handed Tulsa its worst loss thus far this season.
It would be a different story on Friday night.
The Tulsa Oilers put an end to a brief two-game skid on Friday night with a 5-4 shootout win over the Allen Americans in front of 4,141 at the BOK Center. Twice in the third period, the Oilers overcame a one-goal deficit as they ended the Americans’ streak of four-straight wins in the season series.
The Americans struck first when the usual suspects, Costello, Combs and Steffes played tick-tack-toe with the puck on the power play in front of Oilers goalie Kevin Carr. Combs’ pass from the far circle was one-touched by Costello in the near face off dot to the front of the Oilers’ net where Steffes’ stick was waiting. The Oilers tied the game when Scott Macauley set Tommy Mele up on a breakaway that ended with Mele slipping the disc between Allen goalie Riley Gill and the far post, and the period ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
Tulsa took their first lead of the game a little over six minutes into the second period when Kyle O’Kane, who has had a hot hand of late, swatted a loose puck past Gill to give the Oilers a 2-1 advantage. For the first time in the last seven periods against the Americans, the Oilers found themselves in front. The lead lasted about ten minutes until a power play snap shot from Combs sailed past the glove of Carr to knot the contest at 2-2.
Both teams came out hungry in the final period and it saw some very fast-paced action from end-to-end. The Americans struck first when Costello lifted the puck over a prone Carr to give the visitors a 3-2 lead. With 9:05 elapsed the Oilers Adam Pleskach slapped home a one-timer to tie the game up for the third time. At 10:58 Ian Schultz sent the puck between the legs of Carr to allow the Americans to resume the lead, and then Kyle O’ Kane redirected a Kevin Noble slap shot to once again knot up the score for the final time in regulation, and the teams moved into the overtime period.
Both goalies shut their cages tight in the extra period, and for the second time in a week between the two teams, and the third time in a week for Tulsa, the shootout solution commenced. Kevin Carr stoned four Americans shooters while the hero in Wichita for Tulsa, Drew Fisher, slipped to puck around Gill to give the Oilers a 5-4 win over the final champions of the Central Hockey League.
The Oilers went 0-for-4 on the power play and failed to score on the man-advantage for a fifth consecutive game. O’Kane, Tommy Mele, and Dave Pszenyczny each posted a pair of points as the Oilers improved to 3-4-1 against the Americans this season. Carr recorded his league-leading eleventh win of the season and has now stopped 21 of the 24 shootout attempts he has faced. Overall the Oilers improve to 11-7-3 with 25 points, good enough for second place in the ECHL Central Division.
The Oilers travel to Missouri tomorrow night. The next home game for the Oilers is next Wednesday night against Wichita at 7:05pm in the BOK Center.