The playoff race keeps getting tighter and tighter in the Central Division. Heading into last night’s game, the Tulsa Oilers were tied with Wichita for fourth place and Quad City was just three points ahead of both teams. Rapid City was off, meaning they just got to watch the standings as all three of the other teams were in action.
The Oilers have enjoyed success at the iWireless Center against the Mallards this season, going 2-0-0-1 in three previous meetings on the road. Their last meeting ended in a 2-0 shutout by the Oilers, as they looked to continue their four-game winning streak.
Parker Milner’s night in net for the Mallards began badly, as a fluke goal opened up the scoring for the Oilers. During the first power play of the night for Tulsa, a dump-in by Ricards Birzinsh caromed off of the corner boards and ended up right in front of Milner’s net. Kyle Bochek took advantage of the unexpected play and chipped-in the goal at 5:19 of the period to make it a 1-0 Tulsa lead. Kevin Carr was tested later on in the period as Mario Lamoureux had a couple of chances, but Carr turned them all away to keep it a 1-0 score after twenty minutes.
Late in the second period, another power play chance for the Oilers earned them a 2-0 lead. The team’s leading goal-scorer Adam Pleskach one-timed a pass into the net to earn his 34th goal of the season at 18:42. Pleskach moved into second in the ECHL’s goal-scoring race, right between Allen’s Gary Steffes and Chad Costello.
Quad City spoiled Carr’s chance at a shutout in the third period as a Kevin Baker shot was deflected into the net to bring the Mallards within one with just over six minutes remaining in regulation. Carr stayed perfect in net through the final minutes however, including a 6-on-4 onslaught in the final minute, giving the Oilers their fifth straight win.
The 2-1 win gives the Oilers a 4-2-0-1 record against the Mallards this season. Kevin Carr improved to a 4-1-1 record against Quad City with a 1.65 GAA and a .948 SV% as he made 18 saves in this one. Carr has his fifth straight win as well, improving his season record to 26-15-2. Carr’s GAA over the last five games is just a 0.80 with a SV% of .974.
Over the five-game win streak, the Oilers have given up just four goals, outscoring their opponents 19-4.
Tulsa’s back in action on Saturday as they head into Wichita for a 7:05 Central start.
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