TULSA, OK — On a night where parts of Tulsa were experiencing violent spring weather, the Tulsa Oilers faced off with the Colorado Eagles for the final time this season Wednesday.
After taking a lopsided loss to the Eagles on Tuesday night Jason Christie’s men made a better fight of it in the rubber match but still lost 4-3.
The teams battled to a scoreless tie through the first 20 minutes, and at the 8 minute mark of the first period the violent thunderstorms outside the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa sent a power spike into the sound system and killed the public address system. The outage was relatively brief but it did last through the first three goals of the game, the first coming from Tulsa’s captain Nathan Lutz.
The lead was short lived, as many of the Tulsa leads have been during the 2015-16 season because the Eagles were quick to respond. Kyle Ostrow hopped on a fat rebound off Oilers goalie Kevin Carr and knotted the board at one. Colorado would score twice more in the second period (Tyler Fiddler, Curt Gogol) and the middle stanza closed with the home team staring down a 3-1 deficit with the third period looming large before them.
The good news: since the beginning of 2016 Tulsa has a reputation of being a strong third period hockey club, especially at home. They also gained a rather disturbing habit of being a team that either wins or loses by one goal.
Tulsa made its case in the ninth minute of the third period when Phil Brewer set a screen in front of Colorado goalie Kris Lazaruk, giving Shawn Bates enough room to cut the lead to a goal with a little over a half a period to play. Bates connected with Roberts Lipsbergs two minutes later to do lock the score at 3-3.
Darryl Bootland ended any hope of the home team siphoning any points from the pair of games with the Eagles when he scored with just 2 minutes left in regulation. The goalie pull ritual was fruitless, and just like that the Oilers dropped their fifth straight.
The Eagles not only swept the four-game season series with the Oilers and won their fourth straight road victory. Colorado will not see their home ice until after the playoffs begin,
Speaking of the playoffs, the hope of a playoff berth for Tulsa did not die on the BOK Center ice Wednesday night.
Elsewhere in the ECHL, the Quad City Mallards lost to the Missouri Mavericks in Independence on Wednesday and in Wichita Tuesday night. Quad City stands three points ahead of Tulsa in the eighth and final playoff spot and with the Oilers losing along with them, nothing changed and Tulsa remains in control of their destiny…but so are the Mallards and the teams are slated to play each other this Friday in a pivotal game in Moline.
The regular season’s final road trip also includes stops in Evansville, Missouri and Wichita.
The next home game for the Oilers will be the final regular season game closing with Wichita, their longest and deepest rival dating back to the Central Hockey League days. They will play two games against them in Wichita during the final road swing before closing the season at home.