WICHITA, KS—It doesn’t officially count, but the Tulsa Oilers won the first game of the Rob Murray head coaching era with a hard-earned, 5-2 come-from-behind victory over the Wichita Thunder on the road Saturday night.
The Oilers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take the Thunder by three goals in the team’s only preseason test prior to the beginning of the 2017-18 ECHL Regular Season. After falling behind by two early on in the first period, the Oilers’ Evan Richardson busted the Thunder shutout bid with less than two minutes remaining in the first period.
Dylan Hubbs tacked on the equalizer with just under a minute left in the opening period to knot the score at two at the first break.
Tulsa veteran Vladimir Nikiforov buried two goals in the second period to put the Oilers ahead 4-2 after 40 minutes of play. He gave the Oilers their first lead just over seven minutes into the frame on a breakaway and scored a power play goal from the slot later in the period.
Tulsa goalie Tyler Parks locked the cage down on the Oilers end for the third frame, stopping everything the Thunder threw at his net. Justin Selman tapped home an empty-net goal with less than a minute remaining in the game to give the Oilers a preseason victory over their oldest rival.
From here the Oilers will return home to resume training camp, and at the end of next week they will begin their fourth season in the ECHL and 10th at the BOK Center with their season opener against the Kansas City Mavericks next Friday night at 7:30pm.