WEST VALLEY CITY, UT—The Tulsa Oilers began a major western swing on Wednesday night, traveling to West Valley City, Utah for their second meeting with the Utah Grizzlies. The last time the two teams met the Oilers were heavy on the scoreboard at home when they handed the Grizzlies a 5-2 decision on December 3rd.
Returning to the Oilers net was Kevin Carr, having done three games time in ECHL “time out” for his involvement in a brawl in Rapid City. His return leaves only one Oilers player in the ECHL brig, Matthieu Gagnon, who has four games remaining on his sentence resulting from the same incident.
Tulsa traveled to Utah after a 6-4 victory at home against Wichita on January 9th, while the Grizzlies came into the contest after defeating the Idaho Steelheads 3-1 on the same night.
The Grizzlies hopped onto the board first on a goal by Jon Puskar with a little under five minutes elapsed. That was answered by a goal by Tulsa’s Adam Pleskach less than 60 seconds later.
The opening 20 would end with the score knotted at a goal apiece. There was no scoring in the second period but there were fisticuffs as Aaron Harstad, fresh off the plane from a brief assignment in Manitoba with the Oilers AHL affiliate, hooked up with Kenton Helgesen and earned a five minute rest in the box.
The red light over the Oilers goal would get a workout in the third period as the Grizzlies would light it four times off the stick of the same player. After Dan DeSalvo scored the Oilers second and final goal, Barry Almeida scored four unanswered goals in a row, two of them on empty nets. The Grizzlies walked away with a victory by the same score that they lost by in Tulsa over a month ago and evened the season series at 1-1.
In goal, the Oilers’ Kevin Carr would face 29 shots and stop 25 of them, while his opponent on the other end of the ice faced 29 shots and turned aside 27. Utah managed to convert one power play out of four while Tulsa did not convert any of the four man advantages they were granted.
With the loss the Oilers fall to 16-12-4 on the season and remain in third place in the ECHL Central Division. Utah improves to 20-13-2 and are at the top of the ECHL West.
The Oilers and Grizzlies will conclude their season series in the BOK Center next month with a two game set on February 4th and 6th.
From there the Oilers traveled north to Boise, Idaho to take on the Steelheads, a team the Oilers faced in the BOK Center a week after they faced the Grizzlies in December. They will play a two game set with the fish tonight (1/15) and tomorrow night (1/16) for the third and fourth of a five game series that will conclude with a meeting o0n February 23rd in the BOK Center.