By and large the Tulsa Oilers didn’t have a lot to do during the two week period since a 3-2 shootout victory over Wichita on December 19th, but they did play a few games and they did manage to creep over the .500 mark by better than two games by the time the ball dropped and 2016 began.
Two key victories over Allen and Wichita and a split with Rapid City have the Oilers sitting at 14-11-2-1 with 31 points. That’s good enough to put them in third place as the middle of the 2015-16 campaign cruises towards its midway point.
Tulsa took to the road for a rare Monday night feature with the ECHL’s defending champions on December 21st. The last time Tulsa and Allen met saw the Oilers fall to the Americans 4-3 at home, so the visitors were keen on revenge in the enemy’s building. That night saw Oilers goalie Kevin Carr turn in a 19 save performance on 20 Americans shots and goals by Emerson Clark, Adam Pleskach and Brady Ramsay as they sealed up a 3-1 victory over the home team and a nice Christmas present for the Oilers nation at home.
A quick trip up the Cimarron Turnpike was in store for the Oilers the day after Christmas as they traveled to Wichita for a rematch with the Thunder, a team that is for lack of a better term, struggling this season. They split two games in Tulsa a week before, and the Thunder were looking to push themselves back up into the win column with a win over their oldest rival through two leagues.
The teams battled to a 1-1 stalemate at the end of the regulation side with goals coming from Tulsa’s Dennis Brown in the first period and Wichita’s Michael Neal in the second. The horn sounded on the third and after five minutes of three-on-three overtime it was down to the shootout to solve it. The Oilers’ Brandon Wong and Adam Pleskach scored in the shootout while Logan Nelson was the lone Thunder goal.
It was good enough for the Oilers to notch a second straight shootout win over the Thunder and give them a third straight win going into the final game of 2015 against Rapid City.
Rapid City is a rival based on former league membership for Tulsa, but they currently align not in the ECHL Central, but in the ECHL west. Nevertheless they do play Tulsa as part of their alignment in the conference and it was down to a New Year’s Eve tilt with the Rush to close out the year for the two teams in the Rushmore Plaza Events Center.
Adam Pleskach, with a regulation and shootout goal in the past two games against Allen and Wichita scored the first goal in the contest, slapping home a shot with a little under two minutes left in the first period. The second period saw Brady Ramsay get help from Aaron Harstad, who also assisted on Pleskach’s mark in the first period, making the score 2-0 as the final period loomed large.
After denying Kale Kerbashian early on in the period Carr surrendered a goal to Stefanovich who ruined a shutout effort by Tulsa’s primary goaltender. The game ended Tulsa heavy on the scoreboard and with the Oilers finishing out 2015 on a four-game win streak.