TULSA, Okla. – To say that this weekend was a bad one for the Tulsa Oilers would be a gross understatement.
Since nabbing a 2-0 shutout against the Kansas City Mavericks last Wednesday night, the Oilers saw a three-goal lead evaporate in the second period leading to a 4-3 loss on Friday night, suffered a 5-0 drubbing on Saturday night, and Sunday saw another spanking as the Kansas City Mavericks totally dominated Tulsa, defeating them 7-1 in front of 2,352 in the BOK Center.
More succinctly put, since taking a 3-0 lead in the middle stages at 8:55 of the second period in Friday night’s game, the Oilers were outscored by Kansas City 16-1 in the final 151:05 of play this weekend.
According to head coach Rob Murray, undisciplined play and lack of intensity have gripped the Oilers of late, and it’s manifested itself in an ugly way this weekend.
“We are playing against teams that are desperate right now, and we are not matching that desperation,” Murray said. “It all started Friday night when we are up 3-0 in the second period and give up four goals. Last night (Saturday) was no good, and tonight was not good enough.”
The Oilers ended a nearly seven-period stretch of scoreless hockey midway through the third period when Justin Taylor scored at 10:31, but by then, they were down by seven goals, and they couldn’t surmount that deficit even on their best day.
It was clear early on that the Mavericks were keen on going back to Independence with three straight wins as they scored three times on their first four shots of the contest. Darik Angeli and Lane Scheidl scored those goals, with former Oiler Angeli scoring two and Scheidl the other. After Angeli made it 3-0, Oilers starting goalie Austyn Roudebush was chased from the net in hopes that veteran Devin Williams might stop the bleeding.
Williams in net appeared to light a fire under his teammates briefly, but they quickly settled into a pattern of confusing play with no flow and no consistency. Even an intense fight between Alex Kromm and Zach Osburn failed to inspire the Oilers to mount much of a comeback. Nick Pastujov, Bryan Lemos, and Osburn rounded out the scoresheet for the visitors.
It’s hard to explain why the Oilers are slipping in early April after surging through February and March. An easy explanation might be that the blocks of three to four games with their opponents might be the answer, but Murray disagrees.
“Guys can say we are playing a lot of hockey, but everybody is playing a lot of hockey,” Murray said. “There are no excuses. Right now, we are not good enough.”
Another killer Sunday afternoon, as it was on Saturday night, was ill-timed and ill-gotten penalties, a pebble in Murray’s shoe also.
“Tonight, there were so many undisciplined penalties,” Murray said. “It is stupid and gets us nowhere except being embarrassed at home. It is hard to wrap your head around it.”
Tulsa falls to 20-21-3-1 with 44 points and into last place (.489 points percentage) in the Western Conference with the Rapid City Rush, who will visit the BOK Center for a three-game set, beginning Friday night.