TULSA, Okla. — For the Tulsa Oilers on Friday night, forward Charlie Sampair was Superman, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk all rolled into one as he sniped in the game-winning goal in overtime to give his team a 2-1 victory and knotted their Western Conference Finals Series with the Toledo Walleye at two apiece.
The 26-year old’s goal came after a near miss by Scott Henegar, who nearly scored on a wraparound shot that skittered across the Toledo goal crease but didn’t entirely cross the goal line.
Sampair then controlled a loose puck on the left side of the Walleye goal, skated around to the high slot and roofed the puck over Toledo goalie Pat Nagle’s glove and into the top left corner of the net.
“Overtime’s such a different animal, one bounce one way or another,” Oilers coach Rob Murray said. “We had that one sitting on the goal line, and as a coach, you’re sitting there (thinking), ‘If we don’t win this, that was the difference.’ I classify it as kind of a sloppy game, the puck was bouncing quite a bit and there weren’t too many clean plays to be made out there. You just got to grease it out, that’s kind of how we ended up winning that game.”
It was a breathless end to a game that went back and forth between the two teams, neither one looking to give much quarter after scoring during regulation time.
Brendan Kotyk drew first blood for the visitors, scoring late in the first period. The Oilers leading scorer in the playoff, Alex Dostie tied the game at 8:49 of the second period with his 13th goal of the playoffs on the power play. No scoring occurred in the final regulation period but Oilers goalie Devin Williams made some huge saves to keep his club in the contest.
“Willy’s been big for us all season and in the playoffs. We had confidence in him. We traded chances, in a playoff hockey game, you just got to bury one. Charlie came up really clutch there, that was a good goal.” Dostie said.
The Oilers victory was their eighth straight at home in the playoffs. In 26 years of professional hockey in Tulsa (since 1992), the Oilers have only won three overtime games in the playoffs. One in 1993, and two in this playoff cycle.
Tulsa and Toledo will return to the BOK Center for game five on Saturday night.