TULSA, Okla. – The Tulsa Oilers returned home to the BOK Center Friday night to take on the Utah Grizzlies for the first time in the 2020-21 campaign. The teams had been slated to begin the season with Tulsa visiting Salt Lake City in December, but those games were postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.
Tulsa has been battling chemistry issues all season and in Friday’s contest, they appeared to be at a point where things are starting to come together. This comes after the signings earlier this week of Alex Kromm and Justin Taylor.
After a scoreless first period, the Oilers got on the board first when Jack Badini notched an unassisted goal at 2:46 of the middle frame to give Tulsa the lead. Then, less than a minute later, the Grizzlies answered with a goal where somehow Charlie Gerard lifted the puck over sprawling Oilers goalie Olle Eriksson Ek and into the net for his third lamplighter of the season. After an apparent Oilers goal was waved off, team captain Adam Pleskach found the twine behind Jones to give the Oilers the lead once again at 6:25 of the period. The captain’s second of the season came on a power play.
In the third period, the Oilers appeared to relax and Utah took advantage of that at 7:24 when Cedric Pare knotted the score at two-all with his second goal of the season. Utah controlled most of the action in the final period, but Erikson Ek was up to the challenge, which forced the game into overtime.
In the extra session, Bryce Kindopp‘s first professional goal at 3:08 of the period gave the Oilers the extra point and capped off what was essentially a back and forth game between two evenly matched teams.
Eriksson Ek was solid, turning in a 26-save performance on 28 shots. On the other side of the rink, Grizzlies netminder Peyton Jones made 23 saves on 26 Tulsa opportunities.
The Oilers killed off all four shorthanded opportunities while converting one of their six power-play chances.
The two clubs will be at it again tonight at 7:05 pm in the BOK Center.
Rich Lohman covers the Tulsa Oilers for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @SinBinOilers.