The Tulsa Oilers headed into this weekend with two games on the road, starting with a primetime game in Wichita and immediately needing to bus 370 miles south for a matinee game in Allen. With Allen already clinching a playoff spot, all they could do was play spoiler, but the game against the Thunder was going to be huge as both teams are jockeying for the three remaining playoff spots in the division. Tulsa has had a strong uptrend in their previous ten games, while Wichita has been struggling of late.
Saturday night in Wichita, the Oilers dominated throughout the game. With Kevin Carr in net, the Oilers Drew Fisher made it an early 1-0 lead at 5:39 of the first period. In the second period, the Oilers peppered Thunder goaltender Tim Boron with nine shots, and a third of those found a way into the net.
Kyle Bochek earned his seventh goal of the season, while Jeff Jubinville added on his 27th and 28th goals of the season to make it a 4-0 lead as they headed into the third period. R.G. Flath ended Carr’s bid for a shutout just a minute into the final frame, but that was all the Thunder could muster as the Oilers cruised to their sixth straight win.
With the overnight travel to make it into Allen for a afternoon tilt, the Oilers Kevin Carr made another start in net, with Riley Gill in net for the Americans.
For about the first 23 and a half minutes, the Oilers kept things close, with T.J. Caig scoring two goals for Tulsa, Gary Steffes adding two of his own and Steven Tarasuk adding a third tally for Allen. Despite outshooting the Americans 16-8 in the second period, goals by Kyle Follmer, Kevin Young, and Spencer Asuchak gave Allen the 6-2 lead after forty minutes.
Allen kept their foot on the gas in the third period as well, with Gill stopping all nine shots, and two more goals added by Tyler Ludwig and Chad Costello gave the Americans an 8-2 win over the Oilers, securing the Central Division title for Allen.
With the weekend over, the four teams battling for three playoff spots in the division are still as close as ever.
– Rapid City is riding a four-game win streak and sit in second place with 71 points.
– The Oilers are right behind them in third with 70 points.
– Quad City is in the midst of a four-game losing streak and they find themselves two spots below where they were last week in the fourth and final playoff spot with 69 points.
– Wichita has struggled as well of late, they’re on the outside looking in with 68 points.
The rest of the season is full of playoff implications for the Oilers as they face Allen three more times, Wichita three more times, Missouri twice, and Quad City one more time as they enter their final nine games of the season. Tulsa picks it back up at home on Wednesday night at 7:05 as they take on the Americans once again.