TULSA, Okla. – Charlie Sampair has become a huge story for the Tulsa Oilers this season.
On Sunday afternoon facing the Indy Fuel, the second-year pro scored his second hat trick of the season as the Oilers dumped the Fuel 6-2 in the BOK Center.
The victory by the Oilers was their third in a row and completed what arguably has been the best hockey the team has played this season, particularly at home.
The Fuel scored first when Robin Press sent a shot that ricocheted off of a skate and in behind Oilers goaltender Devin Williams just 2:38 into the game. Sampair tied the game at 1-1 midway through the period on a sharp-angle shot that fooled Indy starter Etienne Marcoux. Sampair notched his second goal with 1:09 left in the opening frame to put the Oilers ahead 2-1 after one.
2:32 into the second period, Sampair completed his second hat trick in less than a month to make it 3-1. Conner Bleackley made it 4-1 at 9:40 of the middle stanza when he tapped in a centering pass from the edge of the crease. Marcoux was chased from the net for backup goaltender Matt Tomkins 39 seconds later, when Ryan Tesink made it 5-1. Kale Kessy added a sixth Oilers goal with 2:46 left in the period.
After the Kessy goal a huge, frustration-fueled brawl ensued with all of the players on the ice engaged in the fracas. When the situation finally settled down, Bleackley along with the Fuel’s Garrett Clarke were sent to the showers on match penalties for punching unsuspecting players, while Kessy was given a game misconduct for continuing the altercation. In all, 48 minutes of penalties stemmed from the incident.
In the third period, Oilers goalie Devin Williams went down with an injury and was replaced by the Ian Keserich. Keserich, who was the Oilers starting goaltender from 2010-2013, hadn’t played professionally since that season and was dropped into the game with the Oilers facing a 5-on-3 penalty kill scenario. The 31-year-old performed admirably under the circumstances, making 10 saves on 11 shots and only allowing one goal, a late third-period mark by Alex Wideman.
There’s no official word on the severity of Williams’ injury.
Sampair was the game’s first star and was complimentary of the linemates he plays with that aided him in his success.
“Our line has been playing great,” Sampair said. “We are finding each other and taking advantage of the other team’s mistakes and getting the puck in the back of the net.”
With a hat-trick on Sunday, Charlie Sampair finished the weekend with five goals and one assist. Linemate Garrett Ladd added three goals and five assists in the three games. Tulsa team captain Adam Pleskach also scored a goal in the weekend win streak.
“This is some of the best hockey we’ve played all year.” Sampair said.
The Oilers will have a week to heal and get ready for the first of what will be five games in quick order against the Colorado Eagles Friday night in the BOK Center.