TULSA, Okla. – Alex Dostie has had a superb playoff run with the Oilers in the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs thus far.
The 22-year-old from Drummondville, Quebec scored five goals in final two games, including three in game seven, to lift the Tulsa Oilers to a 6-2 victory on Wednesday night.
Tulsa won the series four games to three and advances to the second round of a league playoff for the second time since 1993 and the first time since 2011, when they lost to the eventual Central Hockey League champion, Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.
The Oilers gained the early lead when Steven Kaunisto found Ryan Tesink with a stretch pass and Tesink beat Mason McDonald on a breakaway with a backhander through the legs. The Mavericks tied the game when Jared VanWormer fooled Devin Williams with a shot from the corner that banked off of Williams’ pads and in. Late in the opening frame, Oilers captain Adam Pleskach redirected a centering pass into the net for a power play goal to put Tulsa ahead 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Alex Dostie gave Tulsa a two-goal lead 35 seconds into the middle period when he kicked a pass onto his stick and deflected it into the net on a 2-on-1 rush for his league-best seventh goal of the playoffs. Tesink then quickly made it 4-1 when he tipped a point shot through McDonald and into the net just 1:16 into the frame. Tulsa outshot Kansas City 13-8 in the period and led by three entering the third.
The Mavericks found a second life early in the third when Darian Dziurzynski scored a power-play goal to cut Tulsa’s lead in half. But Dostie scored his second of the game less than two minutes later to put the Oilers back ahead by three. The 22-year-old completed his first playoff hat trick late in the game on a power play to complete Tulsa’s 6-2 win.
Through seven games, Dostie has nine goals and four assists for 13 points and is averaging nearly two points per game. Those stats place him in the lead of all forwards in the 2019 ECHL Playoffs.
Dostie’s heroics were a key part of the Oilers series against Kansas City, but the team is peaking at the right time.
The 6-2 win for Tulsa was the largest main of victory posted by either team in the series, which saw the two clubs defeat one another by no more than two goals in the previous six games. Oilers head coach Rob Murray stated that it was a fairly common occurrence.
“It is a surprise sometimes how Game 7s tend to be a lopsided score,” he said. “I think it has to do with a do-or-die situation, and when one team is down one or two goals, they have to sell the farm to catch up,” Murray said.
One concern Murray had entering the playoffs was the team’s ability to finish off opponents. For at least one night, that concern was alleviated on Wednesday night.
“We definitely finished. Given the opportunities, we finished our opportunities,” Murray quipped.
While Dostie has clearly defined himself as the hero for the Oilers through the first round, Murray is quick to recognize his supporting cast, some of whom are fighting through injuries to get the job done.
“Alex Dostie was incredible, Stephen Perfetto, Adam Pleskach…and Willie (goalie Devin Williams) was excellent. He made some big saves. He really stood tall. It was a team effort,” Murray said. “Either team could have won any of the first six, but we deserved this game. Tonight, I definitely felt we had the leg up.”
The Oilers made team history on Wednesday night as well.
The victory over Kansas City gave Tulsa their 46th win overall in the 2018-19 season, which gives them the distinction of being the best Tulsa Oilers team in club history. That honor was previously held by the 1975-76 Tulsa Oilers team who posted a 45-21-10 record that season and went on to win the Adams Cup, the CHL Championship trophy that year.
Winning the first round over Kansas City now affords Tulsa the opportunity to take on the Idaho Steelheads, who dispatched the Utah Grizzlies last week.
The Oilers have home ice advantage and the series will begin on Friday night at 7:05 pm in Tulsa’s BOK Center.
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