ALLEN, TX—The Tulsa Oilers are in trouble.
After two games and the fifth and sixth consecutive losses to the final champions of the Central Hockey League, the Allen Americans now hold a 2-0 lead over the Oilers as the series shifts back to Tulsa for games three and four and the potential end of the 2014-15 season for the Oilers.
Game one saw the Oilers tied at 1-1 with the Americans after one period. The lone goal in the first period was scored by TJ Caig, set up by Stephen Perfetto. Perfetto stole the puck from Allen forward Kyle Follmer and fed T.J. Caig who was cutting toward the top of the crease. Caig, participating in the playoffs for the ninth time in his ten-year career, made a nifty forehand-to-backhand deke and flipped shot over Riley Gill to level the game.
The Oilers vaulted ahead in the second period thanks to another setup from Perfetto. A shot from Perfetto from the low slot was stopped by the glove hand of Gill but the rebound sat at the edge of the crease and Booras was able to slam it home to give Tulsa a 2-1 edge.
As it has happened countless times in the regular season the Oilers then imploded and the Americans seized control of the game, starting almost exactly one minute after Jon Booras’s tying mark. Chris Crane, Spencer Asuchak (twice) and former Oilers Chad Costello and Gary Steffes all added to the goal scored way back in the first period by Vincent Arseneau to give the home team a 6-2 triumph at home in game one and a 1-0 series lead.
But the worst was yet to come.
Last night, the Oilers suited up for the second game in the series and they were a totally different team.
For about 35 minutes.
Oilers forward Drew Fisher was in beast mode, scoring a natural hat trick in the game’s opening frame, notching marks at the 12 minute mark, the 14 minute mark, and with 13 seconds remaining in the first period. That was three unanswered goals by the same Oilers player in the first twenty minutes. Add to that a goal by Jeff Jubinville at 11:30 of the second and it looked as if the Oilers may come out of Allen tied heading back home.
Not quite. For some unexplainable reason they decided to drop the pressure from the back of the Americans, and they seized the opportunity. From the 15 minute mark of the second period through the end of regulation time, the Americans woke up and scored four (4) unanswered goals to tie the game, and then Gregor Hansen ended the game for the home team with an overtime game winner at the 9:41 mark of the extra period.
Hanson’s goal gave the Americans their six straight win over the Oilers, and dashed the hopes of their fans hanging onto Rob Loeber’s call over the internet back home. The Oilers net was a shooting gallery in game two, with the Americans unleashing a hellish 56 shots on Kevin Carr (he saved 51 of them, compared to making 35 saves on 41 Allen shots on Tuesday).
To say fans in Tulsa are disgusted is an understatement, because for one brief moment on Wednesday night the Americans looked beatable, and instead of delivering a killing stroke, the Oilers downshifted when they had the advantage and it cost them dearly. They do have the chance to come back, but it seems a distant chance given the task ahead.