TULSA, OK—Last week in overtime against the Missouri Mavericks, Tulsa Oilers defenseman Connor Kucera sent a slap shot laser beam into the net, giving the home team a 4-3 win just 47 seconds into the extra session. Last night lightning struck twice, this time 1:05 into overtime on the power play when Kucera slammed the disc through traffic and into the goal giving the Tulsa Oilers their first win over the South Carolina Stingrays in their very first meeting.
“We were passing the puck back and forth there and once I saw the defender, they were using get a little lazy, I decided to shoot that one and it went in.” Kucera said after the game. “It’s all about putting the puck on net and after working on my slap shots lately they’ve been going in.”
Kucera’s goal capped off a game where very little happened in terms of action more common in the professional hockey game, but is the status quo in the collegiate version. Indeed, other than a fight between the Oilers Matthieu Gagnon and South Carolina’s Trevor Gillies in the first period and Axel Blomqvist’s first period goal, it was a grinding game fought in the trenches.
South Carolina knotted the score at one on a goal in the second period when Brett Cameron saw Tulsa goalie Kevin Carr high in the crease and stuffed the puck in behind him.
The Stingrays, who were last year’s runner up to the ECHL Kelly Cup Champion Allen Americans, we’re riding high on a five game win streak including a 4-2 victory over the Missouri Mavericks in Independence. They are only the second team to do that this season, the Oilers are the other.
Tulsa came into the game fresh off a big 3-1 win over Utah last weekend and a flurry of roster activity that extended almost up until game time on Wednesday. Since the Utah game the Oilers have bid farewell to Brandon Wong, Trevor Campbell and Joe Sova in trades to the Indy Fuel and Toledo Walleye, welcomed Brennan Serville back from AHL affiliate Manitoba and said hello to Josh Brittain from Indy and Riley Armstrong from the Reading Royals (who has since retired).
“It was a big two points for us,” Tulsa head coach Jason Christie said. “They’ve got a good team over there and it was important because they are in another division. They kept the pressure on and knocked us back on out heels a little with the goal in the second period.”
“We rebounded in the third though, battled it out and came up with the win.“
The win lifts the Oilers to 23-17-4 with 50 points and the Stingrays fall to 25-16-6 with 56 points.
Ahead for Tulsa are three big games starting with a pair of games with the Quad City Mallards on Friday and Saturday nights and a tilt with the Wichita Thunder on Sunday afternoon.