TULSA, OK — The Tulsa Oilers battled the Kansas City Mavericks in the BOK Center on Wednesday night, and after what was a tie for most of the game, the Mavericks managed to capitalize on an epic defensive failure to snatch a 4-3 victory.
It was the Mavs third straight win over Tulsa this season and second straight in Tulsa thus far this season. Oilers head coach Rob Murray was not complimentary of his club’s efforts in his comments after the game.
“We were poor defensively,” Murray said. “Every goal they had was from a (Tulsa) breakdown. A bad breakdown. It was not like they made a nice play. We were nowhere to be seen.” Murray concluded.
The hero of the night for the visitors was clearly Matt Robertson, who had two goals on the night, including the game-winner in the third period when he slammed home a rebound off Oilers goaltender Jake Hildebrand at 2:30 of the final frame.
Poor execution and failure to emphasize their opponent’s top scorers have been a downfall of the Oilers this season and Murray noted it in describing Robertson’s goals against his team.
“Their top guy, Robertson, only played about three shifts and got two goals,” Murray said. “It is the same thing over and over again. Every night we are getting beaten by the other team’s top guys.”
Thye Oilers got the first goal in the game on Wednesday night, when the Oilers newest acquisition, Ryan Tesink, flipped the puck to Dylan Hubbs who scored on a one-timer at the 1:11 mark of the first period on the Oilers first shot of the game.
Mavericks defenseman Troy Donnay fired a laser of a shot from just inside the blue line past Hildenbrand to level the score at 1-1 three minutes later, and through the balance of the game, each team would answer the other back-and-forth with goals.
Tulsa jumped back in front when Eric Drapluk set up Vladimir Nikiforov for a tap-in goal on a 2-on-1 rush, but that was answered by Robertson when he literally snatched the puck out of the air and fired the puck home to knot the score 2-2 at the first break.
For the third time in the game, the Oilers gained the lead, when Captain Adam Pleskach buried a centering pass from Garrett Ladd into the back of the net to make it 3-2. With the assist, Ladd extended his point streak to six games.
The Mavericks had an answer again when Dan Correale scooped up a rebound and floated a backhander past Hildebrand to even the score at 3-3 after two periods.
With the loss Wednesday the Oilers fall to 12-11-3-3 with 30 points while Kansas City moved to 16-15-0-1 with 33 points.
At the beginning of the game, just one point separated Tulsa and Kansas City, but the Mavs got a two-point cushion with the victory in the first of four straight between the Oilers and Mavericks extending through New Year’s Eve.
The two clubs square off again in the BOK Center on Friday night.