TULSA, OK—Payback is sweet, and the Tulsa Oilers got some of it on Saturday night by taking the Utah Grizzlies 5-4, completing the two-game weekend set with their Mountain Division rivals.
Tulsa forward and leading scorer Conner Bleackley was the superhero that saved the game for the home team, rocketing a wrist shot in from the left circle 28 seconds into the overtime session, effectively flipping the script on the visitors who had done the same thing to them on Friday night.
The Oilers (5-3-1-1) got 3 out of a possible four points against the Grizzlies (5-5-1-0) with the win and the OT loss on Friday night. Tulsa and the Idaho Steelheads are tied for third place in the ECHL Mountain division with 12 points each.
Adam Pleskach scored 1:03 into the game, then Eric Drapluk extended the lead in the ninth minute of the first period when he joined an odd-man rush and shot the puck over the glove of Utah goaltender Angus Redmond, then Bleackley made it 3-0 on a wrist shot from the right circle at 11:18 of the period.
Utah got on the board in the second period off of goals from Brendan Harms and they were two goals that effectively swung the momentum in the Grizzlies direction. Harms spoiled Tulsa goaltender Jake Hildebrand’s shutout bid right after a Grizzlies power play ended. The rookie added a second goal late in the frame on a deflection in front of the net to make it a 3-2 game heading into the third.
Dmitrii Sergeev put the Oilers back in front by two goals when he raced in on Redmond and put in a wraparound goal early in the third period, but the Grizzlies battled back to force overtime with back-to-back goals from Ryan Olsen and Ryan Misiak.
Hildebrand earned his first win of the season making 38 saves on 42 Utah shots while Redmond turned away 33 of 38 Tulsa volleys. The Oilers had the shot advantage through the first 20 minutes 17-9, but the Grizzlies peppered the Tulsa net the rest of the way outshooting the Oilers 33-21 through the overtime period. The Oilers failed to score on the two man-advantage opportunities while Utah made one of their 4 power play opportunities work.
“I suppose that any time you play a divisional opponent you don’t want to give any points up, but you’d rather have the two points than the one,” Tulsa head coach Rob Murray said after the game. “After the first period it really wasn’t a game, but give them (Utah) credit, they went to work in the second and third period.”
From here, the Oilers will become road warriors for the next six weeks, not seeing the friendly confines of the BOK Center until December 15th when they take on Colorado. That road swing begins with a 4:05 faceoff against Allen on Sunday afternoon in the Allen Event Center.
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