TULSA, Okla– The oddest stretch of games against a single opponent came to an end on Saturday night when the Tulsa Oilers (6-7-1-1) faced the Indy Fuel (11-1-0-0) for the third straight time. The Oilers were looking to halt a two-game slide after losing to the Fuel 3-2 on Wednesday night and 2-1 in an overtime heartbreaker Friday night.
It was not to be, unfortunately, as the Oilers would start strong in the first two periods but fail to sustain momentum and fell to Indy 4-2 in front of 3,049 in the BOK Center.
The Oilers, like many of the teams in the ECHL, have been shuffling players on and off of the Commissioner’s Exempt List due to covid-19 related issues. For example, just this week, the Oilers added five players to the roster while moving six over to the CEL. Nick Minerva drew the first blood in scoring at 1:41, with Ian McNulty and Tyler Kobryn getting the assists. They held this lead until the 12th minute of the first when the Fuel’s Willie Raskob found the net behind Tulsa goalie Roman Durny to know the score at 1-1 going into the first break.
After a penalty shot awarded to the Fuel failed, Alex Brooks gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead by snapping the puck through Fuel goalie Taran Kozun. That lead lasted until the 14:42 mark of the final period when Indy’s Nic Pierog tied the game at two-all, followed by a pair of goals by who netted the game winners first at 17:41 and an empty-net goal at 19:51 to seal the game and give Indy it’s league-best 11th win.
It was a clear case of the Oilers not being able to sustain a lead once they had one and getting caught protecting the lead and not attacking. Once again, the excellent performance in goal by Durny helped a goal eruption by the Fuel that would have made the loss sting that much more. In the end, Indy kept up the pressure, and once they had Tulsa on their heels struck at the right moment and got the win.
The Oilers need t0 address this problem in time for tomorrow’s game as the Allen Americans will visit to complete the four-game set.
Rich Lohman covers the Tulsa Oilers for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @SinBinOilers.