TULSA, OK — After a pair of come-from-behind victories against the Atlanta Gladiators on Saturday and Sunday and a decisive win over the Indy Fuel on Friday for the home opener, the Tulsa Oilers were looking to take the defending champs to task Tuesday night.
It didn’t take long — ten seconds as a matter of fact — for the Oilers to get on the scoreboard as they scored on their first run at Americans goalie Jamie Murray, with Dan DeSalvo denting the twine on assists from Phil Brewer and Tyson Wilson. DeSalvo’s goal was the fastest scored in the league so far this season. Minutes later, Emerson Clark backhanded the puck past Murray after a shot by one of his mates rebounded off the boards behind the Allen net.
Tulsa’s two-goal lead was cut in half near period’s end when Chris Crane swatted the disc in past Jamie Phillips to give the Americans their first goal of the game. Then, with time running out in the period, Reid Halabi scored his first goal to return the two-goal advantage to Tulsa at 19:26.
The second period lacked scoring but it wasn’t without outstanding chances and great saves made by the goaltenders. In all, Phillips turned aside 11 shots, while Murray handled 12 shots in the middle frame.
The Americans scored late in the final period to allow the defending champions to knock on the door of tying the game and potentially force overtime for the third time in as many nights in the BOK Center, but the Oilers defense, backstopped by Phillips locked things down in the face of a pulled goalie to win the game.
Neither team fared well on the power play, with Allen going 0 for 5 on the man-advantage and the Oilers failing to capitalize on three power play opportunities.
Jamie Phillips turned aside 42 of 44 Americans shots while Jamie Murray saved 23 Tulsa shots on the other end of the ice.
With the Oilers winning their fifth straight game to open the season, (and 10th in a row dating back to last season) they tied the 2002-03 Tulsa Oilers, who at the time were members of the Central Hockey League and coached by Garry Unger, for the best start in team history.
Tulsa coach Jason Christie was pleased with the performance of his team against the Americans, who have been a pebble in the team’s skates for a number of years.
“It was good,” Christie said. “(Jamie) Phillips came out with some big saves when we needed it. The guys battled hard.
“I thought our breakouts were good the first two periods. We had some good speed tonight. We have some guys that can scoot and that is something we have to use.”
Tulsa now heads out on the road this weekend to take on two divisional foes.
First up is the Indy Fuel, whom the Oilers handed a 6-1 loss to in Friday’s home opener and then it’s on to Moline, Illinois for their first meeting with the Quad City Mallards. The next home game for Tulsa is next Wednesday, November 2nd when they take on the Utah Grizzlies.