MOLINE, IL—The Tulsa Oilers traveled to Moline, IL to take on the Quad City Mallards in a two-game set. Oilers goalie Kevin Carr and center Brandon Wong were the heroes in game one on Friday night when Wong scored the only goal and Carr turned in an 18-save shutout to give the visitors a 1-0 win, and despite multiple attempts at a comeback the Mallards proved too much for the Oilers and handed them a 5-3 defeat.
Friday night marked at least two firsts for the Tulsa Oilers this season. There is the first shutout of course but it also marked the first sets of fisticuffs for the team this season as the Oilers Brady Ramsay and the Mallards Austin Coldwell squared off in the period’s seventh minute, and at the 12:36 mark, Oilers’ center Ben Walker was sent face first into the boards by Mallards forward Ryan Tesink and the ensuing unpleasantries led to a bout between Tulsa’s Brian Nugent and Quad City’s Jake Baker.
Wong’s goal ended the Oilers power-play goal drought this season when he put the puck in the Quad City net after Mallards defenseman Alex Gudbranson was whistled for cross-checking at 5:39 of the second period. Wong slipped the puck under Quad City goalie Steve Michalek at 6:38 for his second goal of the season and second strike in as many games. Dennis Brown, newly acquired in trade from the Manchester Monarchs, assisted on the goal.
In the final frame, the Oilers held the Mallards to just five shots on net. Tulsa killed off a Matt Konan holding minor early in the period and finished the evening 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. The Oilers have now successfully killed off 17 of the 18 opposing power plays they faced this season.
Kevin Carr turned in an 18-save performance for Tulsa closing his net to all Quad City shots.
Dating back to last season, Carr has a .966 save-percentage in his last six appearances in Quad City and he improved his record to 1-1-0 for the 2015-16 campaign.
In game two on Saturday night the Mallards took the first lead when a wrist shot off the tape of Logan Nelson at 6:48 of the first frame zipped past Tulsa goalie Jussi Olkinuora to give the home squad a 1-0 lead. After killing off two Quad City power plays in a row, the Oilers had just a minute to even the score. Adam Pleskach sent a pass out of the Oilers zone and connected with Wong, who set up a give and go down the lice toward the Mallards net.
Nugent finished the exchange by firing the disc past the outstretched glove of Quad City goalie Brody Hoffman to even the score at the first break.
The Mallards began the second period seizing the early lead when rookie Miles Koules snapped a rebound past Olkinuora to give the home side a 2-1 lead. Two Oilers rookies brought the score back even again in the second period’s eighth minute when a rebound of a Matt Konan shot landed on the stick of Phil Brewer, who poked the puck through Hoffman to even the score at two goals each.
The Mallards sprung back into the lead on the power play when Guillaume Gelinas ripped a slap shot that somehow got past Olkinuora. Gelinas’ second strike of the season was just the second power play goal allowed by the Oilers through their first five contests.
Brewer put the game back at even again at 3:08 of the third period when he stuffed a loose puck underneath Hoffman to level the game at 3-3. That is where it would stay until the 14:37 mark of the third period when Raphael Bussieres had the puck lift off of his stick and over Olkinuora to put Quad City ahead for good. The home team made it official with an empty net goal by Bussieres with twenty seconds to go and with that, the Mallards sealed the win.
The Oilers allowed just 18 shots on goal in Friday’s win but surrendered 37 in the loss on Saturday. Tulsa finished 0-for-3 on the power play while Quad City ended up 1-for-4 with the man-advantage. Each one of the Oilers’ five games this season has been decided by two goals or less and the Oilers fell to 0-3 when trailing after two periods.
The Oilers return home next Friday night for a 7:05pm puck drop in the BOK Center.