TULSA, OK — Tulsa goaltender Kevin Carr has owned the Wichita Thunder.
Pure and simple.
The stats bear it out, too. Heading into Friday night’s game, the second year netminder was 12-2-0-0, with a 1.90 goals against average and a .941 save percentage against Wichita. To make matters worse for Thunder fans, he is likely to play in both games against Wichita this weekend, as Oilers starting goaltender Jussi Olkuinora is called up to AHL Winnipeg.
The only thing left for Carr to do was shutout Wichita, something he had not done to this point.
The game started out with both teams trading scoring opportunities, but the early storyline was the rematch of a November 11 heavyweight tilt between Wichita’s Erick Lizon and Tulsa’s Mathieu Gagnon. Seven minutes into the opening period, the two enforcers squared off at center-ice and didn’t disappoint with a spirited contest that was applauded by the BOK Center crowd. Both fighters landed several quality punches, with Lizon looking to have more energy as the tilt wore on. When Gagnon wore down, the linesmen stepped in to end the fight.
Several minutes later, Thunder defenseman Daniel Johnston made a horrible pass across the slot that was intercepted by Oilers defenseman Justin Mansfield. The rookie sniped it past goaltender David Shantz for his first professional goal to give Tulsa a 1-0 lead.
Wichita took control of the game in the second stanza, peppering Carr with 16 shots on goal in the period. Carr stopped all of them, including this Kenton Miller opportunity during a Wichita power play:
Carr would give Tulsa a 1-0 lead heading into the second intermission. In the third, Wichita again came out and tried to figure out Carr, getting the first several shots on net in the frame. But at 11:36, Emerson Clark intercepted a Daniel Johnston pass, fed it to a cutting Dan DeSalvo, who found Phil Brewer for his fifth goal of the season to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead.
Thats all Carr would need. He would get his first shutout against Wichita and the Oilers won 2-0.
Tulsa ran its record to 6-7-1-1 (14 pts) overall and leap-frogged Wichita in the division standings, while the Thunder fell to 6-11-0-1 (13 pts) on the season.
Wichita was shutout for the fourth time in 18 games. Last season, they were shutout in three contests.
Same two teams tonight at INTRUST Bank Arena. Faceoff is set for 7:05.