TULSA, OK — The Tulsa Oilers got their first home win on Friday night defeating the Allen Americans 4-3 in front of 4,585 at the BOK Center.
The Oilers got the first home win monkey off their back on the strengths of a 33-save performance by goaltender Devin Williams and two shorthanded goals by Charlie Sampair and Conner Bleackley.
Ironically, getting the first home win and the reference to getting that monkey off their back was a refrain head coach Rob Murray expressed to his players moments after the game. “I just said that (to the team) — I literally did,” Murray said with a smile.
“I have felt like we have played well enough through all six games to potentially be 6-0, but we haven’t,” Murray said. “We have had to deal with it and keep plugging along.”
The victory over the Americans snapped a three-game slide the Oilers had been riding in addition to getting them the crucial first home “W”.
“It can be taxing on the guys especially at home,” Murray said, talking about snapping the losing streak, “It was a good win.”
Tulsa never trailed in the contest and brought a physical, in-your-face game to the Americans, who dropped their first regulation loss on Friday night in Tulsa. Dylan Hubbs put the home team on the board by swatting in a rebound in front of the net past Americans goalie Stefon Williams to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Americans veteran Spencer Asuchak tied the game off a turnover in the Oilers zone at the 11:25 mark of the opening period, then Tulsa scored on its only power play of the frame when Eric Drapluk fired a wrist shot under the crossbar to make it 2-1 entering the first intermission.
The Oilers extended their lead when Sampair raced in on a short-handed breakaway and beat Allen goaltender Williams to make it 3-1. However, the Americans closed the gap before the second break, when Peter MacArthur snuck in behind the Tulsa defense and chipped a shot into the top corner of the net.
Bleackley then gifted the Oilers with a 4-2 lead late in the third on the second shorthanded mark for the Oilers, but that cushion eroded to one when a defensive miscue led to a goal from Zach Pochiro scoring on the same power play.
Devin Williams was stellar in net for Tulsa the rest of the way, and they held on through nearly two minutes of 6-on-4, empty Americans net hockey for their hard-earned, first home victory of the season.
Williams, the rookie netminder from Saginaw, Michigan earned praise for his second straight win as the Oilers starting goaltender.
“He played really well,” Murray said of Williams. “He was awesome. I just told him before the game to just make the saves you need to make to give us a chance to win, and he did.”
Tulsa has two more games with Allen going forward this weekend, tomorrow night at the BOK Center and then again on Sunday afternoon at the Allen Event Center for their first visit there this season.