With a brand-new coach and a brand-new affiliation, the Tulsa Oilers opened up their season at home this past weekend, taking on the Wichita Thunder. With Jussi Olkinuora in net, the Oilers began their second ECHL campaign.
Despite a few minor penalties in the first period, both Olkinuora and David Shantz for Wichita held pat, sending both teams to the first intermission with a scoreless game. Wichita came out in the second with a full-steam-ahead mentality, scoring twice in the period with goals from Kenton Miller and Anthony Deluca to make it a 2-0 game after forty minutes.
Tulsa fought back in the third period as Ben Walker scored at the 11:16 mark of the period, and Brady Ramsay looked to have tied it up with just 1:28 left in regulation. It took just nine seconds for the Thunder to dash any hopes for an opening night Oilers win as Kenton Miller scored his second of the night to give Wichita the 3-2 win.
The Oilers immediately had to shift their focus southward with a game in Allen, Texas the next night. With Kevin Carr in net for the Oilers, Tulsa took on the Americans and Joel Rumpel. The Americans jumped out to a quick start, scoring just 24 seconds into the matchup with Justin Courtnall scoring his first goal of the season to make it 1-0 Allen. The Oilers answered back later in the period as Darian Dziurzynski scored with the helper from Brady Ramsay to tie it up before the end of the first period.
The lone goal in the second period came on the power play, just as the referee was to call another on Tulsa, as Gary Steffes scored at 14:16 to put Allen up 2-1. Tulsa escaped the rest of the period unscathed to keep it 2-1 after forty minutes.
Allen added another one in the early part of the third period from David Makowski to go up 3-1. Brian Nugent brought the Oilers to within one at the 8:50 mark of the period with a helper from Dan DeSalvo. Allen put it away with the empty netter at 18:09 with Tristan King scoring the final goal and giving Allen the 4-2 win over Tulsa, giving the Oilers their second straight loss to open the season.
The Oilers closed out their weekend with a second-straight meeting against the Americans, but this time, both teams headed back to Oklahoma to the BOK Center. Jussi Olkinuora was back in net for the Oilers, and Joel Rumpel was in for the second-straight night for Allen. Tulsa started things off in the first period with a goal from Matt Konan at 8:35 of the period, giving the Oilers their first lead of the weekend. Exactly six minutes later, Chad Costello scored his first of the season, tying it up for Allen at 1-all.
Out of the intermission, Brandon Wong put Tulsa back in front just 95 seconds into the period, making it 2-1. Despite multiple penalties and power plays, neither team managed another goal in the period, giving Tulsa their first intermission of the season holding a lead. The third period was much of the same, and Tulsa put it away with an empty net goal from Brady Ramsay, his second goal of the season, to give Tulsa their first win.
The Oilers signed defenseman Connor Kucera before their game on Sunday. Kucera graduated last season from Bowling Green State University, and played five games for the Fort Wayne Komets during the Kelly Cup playoffs.
Tulsa heads into next weekend, taking on the Quad City Mallards in a two-game set on Friday and Saturday. The Mallards have a 1-0-0-1 record, splitting their opening weekend against Allen and Wichita.
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