TULSA, Okla. – It was a tight one in the BOK Center on Wednesday night as the Tulsa Oilers handed the Kansas City Mavericks a 2-0 shutout loss. The Mavericks have been scoreless for the last 164:47 of playing time.
Oilers goalie Devin Williams stood firm in the Tulsa net, turning aside 26 Mavericks volleys and Adam Pleskach had the game-winner as the Oilers fended off seven Kansas City power play opportunities including a brief 5-on-3. in the second period.
In all, Tulsa went 1-for-6 on the power play and the special teams and defense gave the home team a definite edge against their opponent.
“We had a lot of good penalty kills and a lot of good, timely blocked shots. (Devin) Williams played very well” Tulsa head coach Rob Murray said. “I think we could have been a little sharper on our power play,” Murray said. “We probably missed a few point-blank chances that might have changed the game earlier, I suppose. The bottom line is we played well enough to win.”
Pleskach ironically scored his goal on a power play at 9:11 of the second period to break the scoreless tie, assisted by Garrett Cockerill and Danny Moynihan.
“Pleskach just used a defenseman as a screen and (Brent) Gates was in front screening also. It was a well-played shot by Pleskach,” Murray said.
Matt Lane added an empty-net mark in the dying seconds of the third frame to seal the deal for the home side.
Williams shutout was the first of the season for the fourth-year goaltender this season, who is seeing a lot more ice time after the injury to Roman Durny a few weeks ago.
He can be credited for making several outstanding saves, including an acrobatic save with his right leg pad while diving forward to preserve the win.
Tulsa improves to 20-18-3-1 with 42 with the season now past over the midway point. The Mavericks fall to 16-16-6-2 and 40 points.
The Oilers sit a point behind the Utah Grizzlies, with whom the Oilers went 1-3 over a four-game set last weekend. Multiple games with divisional rivals are the norm this season for the entire ECHL and that is a challenge that Murray and his team are trying to adapt to.
“I would prefer not to,” Murray said. “It is just a symptom of the season that we are in with COVID and their (ECHL) ability to put together a schedule. For the most part, it cuts down on travel for a team. It gives you some familiarity with the team you are playing when you play four nights out of five. It is very taxing for the players. I feel the fatigue myself.”
The Oilers will face the Mavericks three more times in the next four days, two games in Tulsa on Saturday and Sunday, and one in Independence tomorrow night.