BOISE, ID – The Tulsa Oilers traveled to Boise, Idaho for two games with the Steelheads and they came away with a win and a loss and a piece of ECHL history for their head coach, Jason Christie. Christie, who in December became the winningest coach in ECHL history, nabbed his 500th win on Saturday when the Oilers defeated the Steelheads 4-2.
Much like it was in December, when the Steelheads visited Tulsa for the first time ever the two teams split the weekend series, with each team taking a victory from the other. Idaho managed to outlast the Oilers on Friday night, scoring to take the lead and then holding off the visitors until the final horn sounded.
After Idaho’s Andre Bouvet-Morrissette tapped in the rebound off of Tulsa goalie Kevin Carr’s skate and gave Idaho a one goal lead 9:12 into the first period. Tulsa’s response time would come roughly four minutes later. The Oilers Emerson Clark, scoring his twelfth goal of the season, worked the angle and shoved one in past Steelheads netminder Jack Campbell to put his team on the board, 1-1.
The Steelheads scored the solitary goal of period two. In recovery from a 360 spin due to collision with Taylor Peters, Carr was beat to the net and Rob Linsmayer would score. In the meantime, one would find Captain Nathan Lutz in the corner getting physical with Peters in defense of his netminder.
It was also physical in the third period, but not one that would render any goals for both teams, and the Steelheads would summarily prevail 2-1.
The rubber match, however would be a different story indeed.
Saturday saw the same two teams in the same arena and it started very much like it did on Friday night, with Rob Linsmayer getting an early goal for Idaho just nine seconds into the opening 20 minutes. The goal begat a fight by Tulsa’s Emerson Clark and the Steelheads’ Andrew Panzarella resulting in the usual five minutes in time out for both players.
Phil Brewer gave the first lead to the Oilers in the state of Idaho on a neat feed from Clark to know the score at one at the end of the first period. Tulsa would add a power play goal when Brian Nugent fed Christophe Lalancette to give the Oilers a two goal advantage. The teams traded goals in the third period, with Emil Molin pulling Idaho to within a goal of tying the match at 3-2, and Emerson Clark sliding in the empty net goal for the visitors giving them a 4-2 win and their coach his 500th career win as a head coach in the ECHL.
The win carries the Oilers three games over .500 and sit in the 7th playoff position if the ECHL season were to end today. The road trip continues next weekend as the Oilers will travel to Independence to take on the Missouri Mavericks, the best team in the whole of the ECHL’s Western Conference next Friday and Saturday night.
The next home game for the Oilers will be on Tuesday, January 26th when they face the Allen Americans in the BOK Center.