TULSA, Okla– The Tulsa Oilers returned home to face the Indy Fuel on Wednesday night, after a mostly successful weekend in Rapid City last weekend. The storyline actually begins there because as it turns out, in addition to the win and loss in Rapid City, the Oilers came back to Tulsa with some unwanted baggage.
After returning home and going through the required testing for COVID-19, three forwards; Darby Llewellyn, Justin Taylor, and Gregg Burmaster, were placed on the Commissioner Exempt List. In addition to that, it was announced close to game time that head coach Rob Murray and his assistant Zac Desjardins would not attend, instead, giving team equipment manager Steve Lintern the clipboard as interim coach.
So needless to say a game against the league-leading Fuel became quite the daunting task indeed.
The Fuel dominated the opening 20 minutes of the game on Wednesday, with Derian Plouffe solving Tulsa netminder Devin Williams five minutes in off a feed from Ross Olsson to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The Oilers came alive in the second period when Brent Gates slammed in a goal past Fuel goalie Billy Christopoulos to pull his team even at 1-1. Then, 15 seconds later, team captain Adam Pleskach gave the Oilers their one and only lead of the game by wristing in his fourth goal of the season.
The third period was all Indy. Mike Lee ruined Tulsa’s perfect 12-for-12 penalty kill streak by slapping one in on the power play from the right circle to tie the game, while Joe Sullivan put the Fuel ahead for good a little over two minutes later to cement the ninth win for Indy. Williams made 35 saves on 32 shots, while Christopoulos turned aside 27 Tulsa shots.
All-in-all, for all the strikes against Tulsa going into the game it really wasn’t a bad one for the home team. They started off in a somewhat confused state, brought things together in the second period, and stayed in the game even after the Fuel tied and then pulled ahead.
Tulsa will face Indy two more times, on Friday and Saturday night, both at the BOK Center.
Rich Lohman covers the Tulsa Oilers for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @SinBinOilers.