TULSA, Okla. – There was no rest for the weary in Tulsa Friday night as the Tulsa Oilers took on the Idaho Steelheads a scant 48 hours after they wrapped up round one with a series win over Kansas City. On the other side of the coin, Idaho had five days to rest after they sent Utah packing last weekend.
The Oilers were tired and they looked it, but they dug deep and held on for a 3-1 win. Head coach Rob Murray knew it was going to be a battle after the long series with Kansas City.
“As a coach, you look at the aspects of a game, and I knew that we were going to be not full of energy,” Murray said. “We just went through two elimination games and poured everything we had out both emotionally and physically.”
After Idaho’s Henrik Samuelsson flipped the puck over the glove of Tulsa goalie Devin Williams’ glove five minutes into the contest, Adam Pleskach slammed home a rebound with five minutes left in the opening period to tie the game. Alex Dostie continued his remarkable 2019 postseason point streak when he potted a power-play tally to give Tulsa a lead they would never relinquish.
Pleskach tacked on an empty net goal in the games dying minutes to seal the game for the home team.
The win for the Oilers was the team’s first ever game one win in ECHL postseason play.
Despite being happy with the win, Murray knows his team has a lot to overcome in terms of fatigue as the division final series wears on, and he saw it in the first game without question.
“I don’t think we played poorly, I just thought they had more jump than us. We were not heavy on the puck all night. Too many turnovers and soft plays, which is uncharacteristic of how we do play.” He said.
He had very high praise for Williams, who he gave credit for keeping the Oilers in the game.
“I won’t say it was one of our better games; it was a different game,” Murray said. “Willie (Goalie Devin Williams) played an excellent game for us.”
One of the unintended benefits that resulted from the game on Friday night was that in scoring his two goals on the night, Pleskach moved from ninth in scoring among forwards in the playoffs to third, where he trails teammates Dostie and Stephen Perfetto who are in the first and second positions.
In eight games each, Dostie has 10 goals and four assists for 14 points, Perfetto has an equal number of points, but the goals and assists are reversed at four goals and 10 helpers. Pleskach brings up the rear at six goals and four assists for 10 points.
Game 2 is coming up on Sunday at 4:05 pm in the BOK Center.