ESTERO, FL—The Tulsa Oilers ventured out of the familiar arenas of the ECHL Central Division Wednesday night to take on the Florida Everblades in their first cross-divisional game since joining the ECHL in early October. Tulsa came away with a 6-5 shootout win.
A little under half of the game’s first 20 minutes had gone by when Adam Pleskach capitalized on a mistake by Everblades goalie Allen York.
Pleskach tapped the puck over the line after York misplayed the puck in a clearing attempt to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead. Three minutes later, at 12:00 of the first period Oilers rookie forward Jeff Jubinville jammed home the rebound of a Scott Macauley to give Tulsa a 2-0 edge. The shutout for Oilers goalie Kevin Carr was then ruined by Florida forward fter weathering a barrage of shots and sustained pressure from the Everblades, the Oilers orchestrated a pinpoint passing play that concluded with Dave Pszenyczny’s sixth goal of the season. at 13:15 to cut the Oilers lead to a single goal.
Pleskach got his second tally of the night at 8:26 when Oilers center Jon Booras forced a turnover inside the Florida blue line and whipped the puck to Pleskach who snapped a shot through York for a 3-1 lead. Former Allen American Alex Lavoie once again cut the Tulsa lead to a single goal when he found the twine behind Carr when he batted his own rebound out of air and past his glove 14:05 of the second period. Kyle Bochek gave Tommy Mele an assist on a one-timer at 14:35 to extend the Tulsa lead to 4-2. But the see-saw momentum swung back to Florida when Kushneriuk netted his second of the night 20 seconds later to cut the Tulsa lead back to a single goal at 4-3.
Everblades defenseman Mike Little scored to tie the game at four early on in the third period, to which the Oilers responded by weathering a barrage of shots and sustained pressure from the Everblades, then orchestrating a pinpoint passing play that concluded with Dave Pszenyczny’s sixth goal of the season just past the 10 minute mark of final frame. Then Kushneriuk completed a hat trick tying the game at the 12:05 and completing the regulation time scoring from both teams in the game.
The Oilers took an ill-timed slashing penalty in the extra session, but endured the ensuing 4-on-3 power play to force the shootout round. Carr shut down every Florida shooter and Jon Booras scored for Tulsa, giving the Oilers their first ever win outside of the ECHL Central, their first ever win in Florida in franchise history, and has them in a tie for second place with the Wichita Thunder with a 19-16-4 record. Florida sits in first place in the ECHL East Division and they fall to 24-5-3, suffering only their fourth loss on home ice this season.
Tulsa improves with the win to 5-1-1 in the month of January. Tulsa and Florida will face off again at 6:30pm Tulsa time on Friday night.