EVANSVILLE, IN – It’s a full weekend of hockey for the IceMen.  They play in Tulsa on Friday night and follow that up with back to back games in Missouri on Saturday and Sunday.  In an effort to constantly improve for the better, I’m trying a new format to the weekend preview.  Rather that a few bullet points about each game, I’m going to look deeper into some key points of each team.  Be sure to let me know in comments or give feedback on Twitter what you think.

 

Tulsa Oilers

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History & Record keeping
It may be difficult to believe but this is the first time the IceMen have taken on Tulsa in the ECHL.  The last time Evansville played Tulsa was back in the CHL.  That feels like such a long time ago for a team that the IceMen has shared a league with for years.  The IceMen are 3-2 all time against the Oilers but those records feel out of date given the span of time since the two teams have played.

Tulsa is 25-18-3-2 on the year and are currently in third place of the Western Conference Central Division.  

Team Trends
Tulsa may be 6-3-1 in their last 10 but they are 5-1-1 at home in the month of February.  Home cooking has been treating the Oilers well.  They’ve only lost one home game in regulation since dropping a home a game to Idaho on December 11th.  

The secret to success at home has been the defense and goaltending.  Tulsa has only given up more than three goals twice at home in their last 10 games.  They only lost one of those games and the 4th goal was in the overtime defeat against Quad City.

Players to Watch  
Offensively a couple of the key players for Tulsa are Dan DeSalvo and Adam Pleskach.  DeSalvo leads the team with 42 points, 30 of which he’s earned with assists.  On the current roster, Pleskach leads the team with 18 goals. Adam gives as good as he gets, as he also has 18 assists.  

On defense keep an eye on Dennis Brown.  Not only does Brown have 24 assists, he also is an impressive +19.  Goalie Kevin Carr has seen a bulk of the action in net for Tulsa.  He’s played in 37 games and has a record of 20-15-2.  In Carr’s last five starts only Quad City scored more than two goals on him.  

 

Missouri Mavericks

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History & Record keeping
The Mavericks are a league best 39-6-2-1.  They are insanely good this year.  The IceMen have pushed them to the limit in two out of their three meetings this year.  Evansville lost their last two games against the Mavericks in overtime and lost the first meeting of the year 3-0.  The first meeting was right after the IceMen returned from a problematic trip home from Alaska that involved travel delays.  

At home the Mavericks are almost unstoppable.  They have an astounding 22-2 record at home.  Aside from the two losses only Evansville has been able to push Missouri even to overtime.  

Team Trends
There’s very little of note to trend for Missouri.  They win.  If your team scores four, then they get six.  If the Mavericks are held to one goal, then the opponent gets shut out.  There’s some sort of gear the team seems to have that they find different ways to win.  

Players to Watch  
Missouri is lead offensively by Tyler Barnes who has 51 points.  He has 19 goals and 32 assists in 48 games.  Even more impressive than Barnes is Jesse Root.  Root has 22 goals and 28 assists in only 40 games played this year.  

Keep your eyes on Bryce Aneloski.  He has 13 assists on the year but has a high +28 rating.  Trevor Ludwig also has a +/- rating of +18.  After a team has to survive all that, in net is Josh Robison.  He has the second best GAA in the league at 1.85.  Anyone that doesn’t know, he’s 25-0-0-1 this season.  

 

Expectations

I seem to continuously get these wrong, but the IceMen are heading into rough waters this weekend.  Out of six possible points this weekend, I think the IceMen will do well to get one or two.

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