TULSA, OK—The Oilers bid for a third straight win on home ice fell short as they dropped a 4-1 decision against the Quad City Mallards on Saturday night in front of 5,057 in the BOK Center.
T.J. Caig was the only story on the scoreboard for the home team as he provided the lone Oilers goal at 7:57 of the opening periodslamming in 5-on-3 power play marker at 7:57 of the first period.
Caig wound up and fired a bullet past Quad City goalie Evan Mosher to give him his 10th goal of the 2014-15 campaign and ended an 11-game goal drought.
It would be the only time the home team would lead in the game, because from there it was a duck pond in the BOK Center. Quad City combined speedy offense and machine gun like shooting on Tulsa goaltender Brady Hjelle with stick work and heavy checking to throw the Oilers flow off its game. It took a little more than half of the middle period for the Mallards to make their mark on the BOK Center scoreboard, when Johnny Rogic fired home the rebound of a Kevin Baker shot to level the contest at 1-1 with 9:36 remaining.
A charging minor against Charles Lachance and a hooking call against Tommy Mele gave Quad City a two-man advantage near the end of the period and the Mallards cashed in on the opportunity. An off-wing one-timer from Baker beat Hjelle to put the Mallards in front 2-1 at the 15:57 mark. Pearce Eviston slapped home a pass from Jeff Lee at 8:52 to extend the waterfowl lead to 3-1, and any hope of the Oilers scoring one for pride was ended when Eviston sent the puck into Tulsa’s empty net with one minute remaining in the game.
They key element in the Tulsa loss was the sloppy defensive effort allowing an inordinate amount of shots on their goaltender Hjelle, who was making his second straight start in net for the Oilers. Against Brampton on Friday night he let only one quirky goal in on 34 shots, while on Saturday he was forced to settle for another hard-luck loss after stopping 40 of the 43 shots he faced.
The Oilers went 1-for-5 on the power play and have scored a power play goal in three consecutive contests. Quad City won in regulation at the BOK Center for the first time in team history and moved within four points of the second-place Oilers. Tulsa has been held to just a single goal in each of its last three losses. On Saturday night the Allen Americans easily handled the Beast 6-0 and that extended their lead, which had been two points over the Oilers to four to remain in first place in the ECHL Central Division.
The Oilers will host the Wichita Thunder, who they defeated 7-4 last Wednesday night, this coming Wednesday at 7:05pm in the BOK Center. Three of the Tulsa’s next four games will be on home ice moving into the holiday week.