WICHITA, KS — A strong first period combined with a solid goaltending effort combined to give the Tulsa Oilers a 4-3 victory over the Wichita Thunder on Wednesday night at the InTrust Bank Arena.
The Oilers held off a late rally by the Thunder to bring back the “W” and end a slump that began a week ago at the BOK Center and pushed Tulsa to their twelfth win of the 2016-17 season on the strengths of six points combined from Christophe Lalancette and newcomer Darik Angeli and the 200th career point from veteran Oilers wingman Adam Pleskach.
Shawn Bates got the Oilers on the board first with a goal when Chris Joyaux forced a turnover and got the puck to Bates, who shoved it under Scott Greenham’s pad at 8:30 of the opening period. A little less than three minutes later, Darik Angeli got his second goal as an Oiler when he converted a two-on-none against Greenham assisted by Pleskach and Lalancette. Lalancette added his name on the scoresheet at 17:04 of the first when he banked in a shot off a Thunder player’s skate to give Tulsa a commanding 3-0 lead at the first break.
Wichita’s Gabriel Gagne saw daylight between Oilers goalie Jamie Phillips’s pads and scored the Thunder’s first mark on the power play for the only goal of the middle frame.
Angeli lit the board up for the visitors once again with 24 seconds elapsed in the third period when he buried the rebound of a Wes Cunningham shot for the final Tulsa goal of the evening. Wichita then began to mount a rally beginning at 16:30 when Alexis Loiseau solved Phillips, and then they made it close when Blake Tatchell scored just over a minute later to bring the game down to the wire, but Wichita’s comeback effort would not be enough to defeat the Oilers.
Tulsa was again blanked on the power play, failing to convert three man advantage opportunities. Two of the three Thunder power plays resulted in goals. Jamie Phillips made 27 saves on 30 Wichita shots while Scott Greenham turned aside 35 of the Oilers 39 volleys.
The assist by Adam Pleskach in the first period was the 200th career point from the three-year Oilers veteran forward.
Tulsa and Wichita will face each other two more times during the holiday weekend, as they will rematch on Friday night in Wichita before returning to the BOK Center for the third and final game of their weekend set on Saturday night.