TULSA, Okla. – The sun will shine for at least one more day in the hockey world for the Tulsa Oilers.
On the strength of two goals by forward Alex Dostie, and an all-around stellar effort from his teammates, the Tulsa Oilers prevailed in a do-or-die game on Tuesday night, handing the Kansas City Mavericks a 4-2 loss and setting up a deciding, winner-take-all game 7 tonight.
Dostie scored near the end of the first period, and again fresh out of the penalty box near the end of the third to seal the victory for the Oilers. Team captain Adam Pleskach opened the scoring for the Oilers in the first and defenseman Steven Kaunisto scored on a power play to round out the goals for the home team.
Kansas City forward Corey Durocher scored both goals for the visitors.
While head coach Rob Murray was happy about the team’s win he still saw areas where the team needed improvement, zeroing in on the team’s tendency to turn the puck over towards the end of the game.
“It might have been a bit of nerves,” Murray said. “But you have to have nerves of steel. That is what makes you a professional hockey player. You can’t get to the next level if you can’t play with the lead in the third period in the playoffs.”
Murray continued: “There were multiple times we tried to flip the puck out and we don’t get it out. We could have just skated with the puck. That was just the first five minutes of the third and we got through it.”
The number of penalties in the game was kept to a minimum by the Oilers on Tuesday night, something that had plagued them during the three games in Missouri. In fact, Tulsa had only spent six total minutes in the penalty box the entire game, and held the Mavericks scoreless on their power-play chances.
“I am not thrilled about the penalties,” Murray said. “We still killed four and only got three power plays. I don’t know how we continue to get on the wrong side of that. But our penalty kill came up big and we got a goal on that tonight.”
Finally, Murray is concerned about his team finishing the job when it comes to putting the game to bed.
“I think we had multiple opportunities to put the game away,” Murray said. “Charlie’s (Sampair’s missed) breakaway. (Alex) Dostie had an open net that would have been a hat trick for him. (Adam) Pleskach had one he fanned on. We had so many chances to seal the game. We got our four goals which is great, but we could have easily had six. We have to be happy for ourselves, but we don’t have much time to be happy about it.”
Should the Oilers win on Wednesday night, it would set up a showdown with the Idaho Steelheads who sent the Utah Grizzlies to pasture, defeating them four games to one.