WEST VALLEY CITY, UT – The Tulsa Oilers battled back from a two-goal third period deficit to tie the Utah Grizzlies, before Utah broke the tie on a late power play to defeat the Oilers 3-2 Saturday at the Maverik Center.
The Grizzlies took a 1-0 lead 2:10 into the game, when Colin Martin buried a second rebound past Tulsa goaltender Jay Williams. Utah added to the lead, when ECHL All-Star Erik Bradford scored his second of the weekend on a one-timer from the high slot. The Grizzlies outshot the Oilers 18-7 in the opening frame and led 2-0 after one.
Tulsa dominated the second period, but could not find a way to beat Grizzlies goaltender Ryan Faragher. The Oilers outshot Utah 22-7 in the frame, but Faragher stopped everything he saw, carrying a 2-0 shutout into the third period. Neither team converted on four power plays in the first 40 minutes of play. Keegan Asmundson replaced Williams to start the second period and finished the game.
Darcy Murphy ended the shutout bid when he snuck a shot inside the post 6:03 into the third period. Danick Gauthier tied the game at 2-2 with 6:03 remaining in regulation, when he spun and shot the puck between the legs of Faragher. Both goals were setup by Oilers newcomer Tyson Fawcett. But the Grizzlies received their eighth power play with just over two minutes left, and Martin scored his second of the game on the doorstep with 1:13 left to push Utah to the win.
The Oilers have now lost five straight games and are now 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. After being in the top two in the midwest division all season, the Oilers have now fallen to third in the division, just four points ahead of the Quad City Mallards for fourth and six points ahead of the Kalamazoo Wings for fifth.
Meanwhile, the Utah Grizzlies are winners of four straight contests and are now 7-2-1 in their last ten games. They are currently back above .500 for the first time since late November and are nine points behind the Alaska Aces for the final playoff spot in the mountain division.
UP NEXT: The Oilers will see the leaders of the Mountain Division, the Allen Americans, three times next week. The first two will be in the Lone Star State on Thursday and Friday at 7:05pm at the Allen Event Center.