When a team plays as many games as the Tulsa Oilers do in a season, the saying goes that it’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. What that means is that if a team falls into a slump, it’s a cause for concern, but it can be corrected if a team buckles down and improves.
Such has been the case for the Tulsa Oilers in November 2015.
In their first full month of the 2015-16 ECHL season, the Oilers have posted a 4-5-1-1 record through eleven games in the month of November, for a total of ten points altogether. The Oilers split four games with the Allen Americans, won two games and lost a shootout with Wichita, and dropped games against Colorado and Missouri with one of those games with Missouri being an overtime loss.
For the most part the Oilers aren’t being dominated by the teams they have played thus far. In fact, most of the games they’ve been decided by just one goal, including Sunday afternoon’s loss to Missouri. The Oilers took on the streaking Mavericks for the second time in as many weeks and if not for an error late in the game on the part of goalie Kevin Carr, the game might have needed the overtime or shootout to resolve it.
Carr attempted to play the puck off the end boards and misplayed it, turning it over to the Mavericks who were on the power play. That’s when Missouri’s Jesse Root tapped the disc in after it was swatted around in the Tulsa goal crease to notch the game winner with a little over five minutes left in the game. The contest started slow for the Oilers on Sunday, with the Mavs getting the early lead on a Sebastien Sylvestre goal just 2:29 into the game. Sylvestre swatted in a rebound to give his team an early 1-0 lead.
The Oilers pulled even a little over a minute elapsed into the middle period when Emerson Clark converted a neat pass from Dennis Brown to tie the game at one. It stayed that way until the near end of the game.
Carr’s mistake was in stark contrast to Friday night’s game where he stopped everything that the Wichita Thunder could throw at him in a 2-0 shutout of the Tulsa Oilers long-time rival. The Unionville, Ontario native blanked the Thunder and allowed his teammates to score twice to post his second shutout of the season and fifth since he joined the Oilers last season.
Goals came from Justin Mansfield and Phil Brewer. Mansfield punched in a shot past Thunder goaltender David Shantz in the first period while Brewer redeemed himself in the third after being denied on a shorthanded breakaway in the first period. Also featured in the game was a much-awaited and hyped fight rematch between Thunder tough guy Erick Lizon and Oilers pugilist Matthew Gagnon.
Lizon, who had posted a threatening tweet before the Thanksgiving holiday that Gagnon was “dead”, (which he later took down at the urging of the ECHL), squared off roughly seven minutes into the game in a classic gloves-down, helmets removed scrap. Gagnon got the edge when a right handed punch brought Lizon to his knees but largely the bout was a draw as neither man conceded before the linesmen jumped in to stop the fight.
The Oilers traveled up to south central Kansas for a rematch on Saturday, and after falling behind early the Oilers topped the Thunder 4-2.
Looking ahead to December the Oilers will, for the first time in their brief ECHL career host two teams that are not of their division and that they haven’t played before. After a game against Rapid City the Oilers will play three games against teams from the ECHL West Division
On Thursday the Oilers will host the Utah Grizzlies, who currently sit atop the ECHL West and next week they host the Idaho Steelheads who currently occupy 4th place in that division.
Tickets for those games and the remainder of the Oilers 2015-16 home schedule are on sale at the BOK Center Box Office or at the Tulsa Oilers office.