TULSA, OK — Adam Pleskach and Ben Murphy were the heroes for the Tulsa Oilers on Saturday night as they combined in regulation time and a shootout to defeat the Wichita Thunder in a shootout.
Pleskach scored the game’s tying goal for Tulsa on the power play with a little over five minutes remaining in regulation time when he tipped in a Christophe Lalancette shot to pull the game even and Murphy scored in the second round of the shootout to give the home team a hard-fought, come from behind victory.
Pleskach’s power play mark was the team’s first goal with the man-advantage since November 9th when Dan DeSalvo scored, also in an overtime/shootout scenario against the Fort Wayne Komets. The goal ended a 31-straight power play goalless drought.
Murphy said a little prayer right before he made his game winning goal.
“Right before I was going in, I said, ‘Lord, be with me on this one,’ ” Murphy said. “You just try to get your stick outside your glove or outside his blocker and you just go for it.”
Murphy’s goal was also his second game winner in as many nights.
“We have a team process and when you get away from that and start to do it yourself, you can kind of see where the holes are and you are subject to lose games,” Murphy said. “The last three games we came together well and the unity was there. I think we had that the first nine games. You have to stick to the team process.”
The only other goal was scored by Wichita’s Alexis Loiseau who slid a backhand shot underneath Tulsa goalie Jamie Phillips eight minutes into the first period.
For most of the game is was a sort of goaltender’s clinic as both Phillips and Thunder netminder Drew Owsley closed down their cages through the middle part of the game.
The Oilers outshot the Thunder 12-6 in the second period, but were stymied by Owsley, who stopped all 19 Tulsa shots through two periods. Phillips stopped all six Thunder shots in the frame to keep the score 1-0.
In the end, Owsley made 38 saves on 39 Tulsa shots while Phillips turned in a 21-save performance and locked out all three Thunder shooters in the shootout round.
The win give Tulsa six out of six possible points through the three game set with Wichita, and redeems the three losses they suffered last week at the hands of Rapid City and Allen, who they will take on for three straight games beginning at home on Tuesday night in the BOK Center.
Oilers head coach Jason Christie said he team was ready for the challenge of playing their oldest rival in three games over four days.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Christie said. “We have to keep playing like that. It is so important to keep doing the little things.
“We kind of got away from it, but we got it back.”
The Oilers will begin a similar three game set with Allen starting on Tuesday at home and then two games on the road in Texas next weekend.