TULSA, OK — The Tulsa Oilers hosted the Allen Americans on Tuesday night, returning home to the BOK Center after a return to the win column on a rare Monday night game with Missouri.
The team prevailed 3-2 over the Mavericks and it was a much-needed win after being blanked by a combined score of 5-0 in two home games by the Colorado Eagles last weekend
One would think that a win would boost the Oilers confidence coming home to face Allen on Tuesday night, but…not so much. What started out as what looked to be a reversal of home fortunes against the two-time defending Kelly Cup Champs quickly imploded into a 6-3 defeat in front of 5,902 in the BOK Center.
Danick Gauthier broke a nearly 123-minute scoring drought for the Oilers at home by firing the puck in on Allen goalie Riley Gill from the left circle to give the Oilers their first home lead in a week. Bryan Moore tapped in a loose puck past Oilers goaltender Jamie Phillips to knot the score on the power play to tie the game up.
Darcy Murphy found twine for the home team as he slammed home a centering pass from Shawn Bates to give Tulsa another lead, but on the power play, the Americans cashed in when Spencer Asuchak solved Phillips to tie the game 2-2 at the first break.
Miles Koules pushed the Oilers back into the lead three and a half minutes into the second period with what would eventually be their final goal of the night, but the Americans special teams struck again…this time shorthanded and once again off Asuchak’s stick. Allen jumped forward into the lead on a Chad Costello goal and the visitors held the lead into the second intermission.
After a scary moment in the third period where Riley Gill lay motionless at the side of his net for a time after making a save on an Oilers breakaway, his team first solidified their lead with a goal from Jake Marchment, and then an empty net goal from Costello when Oilers coach Jason Christie opted to pull Phillips when they were awarded a power play for a 6-on-4 advantage with just over five minutes remaining.
It was the Oilers’ (17-11-2) sixth consecutive loss at home.
“We totally flopped from last night,” Christie said referring to the Oilers’ play in Missouri on Monday. “These four and five nights with travel, it is tough. But there is no excuse. I don’t know how we can play so well last night and be so inconsistent tonight.”
Inconsistency, particularly on special teams, has plagued the Oilers over the past month, but Tuesday night’s special teams play allowed the Americans to go 3-for-3 on the power play and a shorthanded goal when the Oilers were supposed to be on the man advantage.
“We were not strong on the (penalty kill),” Christie said. “We were throwing pucks back to them when we turn it over.”
Tulsa, which came into the night ranked 22nd in ECHL penalty kill stats, has been keeping Christie up nights trying to turn the team around.
“We will get it straightened out,” he said. “I just have to better our team.”
Tulsa travels to Moline, Illinois for a game with Quad City on Friday and then return home next Tuesday to take on Missouri.