WICHITA, KS — All the scoring took place in the second and third periods, but when the horn finally sounded, once again, the Tulsa Oilers emerged the victors over the Wichita Thunder as they took a second straight win home from the INTRUST Bank Arena in downtown Wichita. They secured two points, this time, by a score of 4-2.
The teams battled to a scoreless tie after 20 minutes with a lot of back and forth action but not a lot of shooting. The Oilers held a two-shot edge over the Thunder at 9-7 at the first break.
Phil Brewer got his fifth goal of the season, unassisted, just 60 seconds into the first period as he fired the disc in from between the circles and past Thunder netminder, Scott Greenham, to give the Oilers the early lead. Fifty seconds later, Oilers newcomer, Jessey Astles snuck behind the Wichita defense and slid the puck through Greenham’s five-hole to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage.
Alexis Loiseau cut the lead in half on the power play when he shot the disc in off of Oiler goalie, Colin Stevens at the period’s midway point. They struck again on the man advantage at the 12:08 mark of the third with James Melindy zipping the puck in from the right circle, tying the contest at 2-2 with a little under eight minutes to play in the game.
It’s still early enough in the season for Oilers players who have been with the club since training camp to put their name on a score sheet, and that moment came for Ben Murphy on an odd man, two-on-one rush with Brewer and Danick Gauthier getting the helpers. Tack on an empty net goal by Adam Pleskach with 29 seconds to go and by the time the horn sounded, the Oilers had nabbed their second straight win over the Thunder in three nights.
Stevens got his first win as an Oilers goaltender on Friday night, making 25 saves on 27 shots while Greenham dropped his second straight game in as many nights to Tulsa in a 36 saves on 39 shots effort. For the fifth straight night, the Oilers have not posted a goal on the man advantage, going 0-for-4 on the power play. The Thunder converted two out of five power play opportunities in the losing effort.
The Oilers are dead last in the league as of this writing on the power play, having only scored five goals in 71 power play scenarios in 19 games this season to date.
On the penalty kill, the Oilers have allowed 18 goals against and have a 74% penalty kill percentage. This has to improve going forward as the season rises to altitude in the next two months.
The win over Wichita gives Tulsa a 13-5-1-0 record with 27 points, second place behind the Toledo Walleye by one point in the Central Division. Two more games remain in the four game set with the Thunder with the next coming on Saturday night at 7:05pm CST in the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa.
On Saturday night, the Oilers will wear jerseys commemorating their affiliations with the Winnipeg Jets of the NHL and the Manitoba Moose of the AHL.
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