TULSA, Okla. – The Tulsa Oilers faced the Wichita Thunder in a pair of games this weekend pitting the fourth-place 10-11-2-1 Oilers against the first place 13-5-2-0 Thunder. Tulsa came back to the BOK Center after a fairly successful run in West Virginia and South Dakota against Rapid City and Wheeling.
Oilers Shock Thunder In Overtime
Oilers defenseman Matt Lane was the hero for the Oilers in overtime when at 1:55 of the extra frame he broke loose on a breakaway, rushed in on Wichita goalie Evan Weininger and crashed it in to give his team a hard-fought 3-2 victory. Lane’s goal was his first as an Oiler and earned him first-star honors in the contest.
Brent Gates was Tulsa’s hero in regulation time, scoring the opening mark with just 18 seconds into the first period on a redirected shot from Justin Taylor. Gates’ second tally came off a nifty move late in the period to tie the game after the Thunder took the lead earlier in the period on goals by Garrett Schmitz & Dean Stewart.
Tulsa Falls In Regulation to Wichita
On Saturday night, the Oilers looked to try and sustain the momentum they gained in Friday’s overtime victory, and they looked as if they would do just that as they took to their home ice with a quicker veracity, assailing Wichita goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos with 15 shots in the first period.
One of those shots found its way in the Thunder net off Justin Taylor’s stick, who crossed in front of Sakellaropoulos and threw the puck into his net just shy of ten minutes into the opening period of the game. In the second period, Peter Crinella solved Tulsa goalie Devin Williams with an unassisted mark at 3:24 of the middle frame. The middle period also featured a fight between Oilers’ tough guy Mike McKee and a former Oilers enforcer, Mathieu Gagnon.
Stewart killed any hope of the Oilers carrying a tie into overtime for a possible repeat of Friday’s result when at 16:50 of the third, he beat Williams while he was falling down to give the visitors the lead. The Oilers’ last gasp came in the final two minutes when the Thunder went on the penalty kill. Williams was pulled and despite using Sakellaropoulos and his net like a target at a gun range, they failed to dent the twine and the horn sounded ending the game.
In the end the Oilers came away with two points on the weekend and fell to 11-12-2-1 on the year with 25 points. In game one, Roman Durny made 19 saves off 21 shots, while in game two, Devin Williams turned in a 21-save performance in the losing effort. Also, neither team managed to score on the man advantage in both games.
Coming up for the Oilers is a three-game series with the Kansas City Mavericks next weekend that will culminate with a home game with the Mavs next Sunday afternoon.