WICHITA, KS – Jussi Olkinuora stopped 29 shots and a late empty-net goal from Adam Pleskach proved to be the difference as Tulsa held on for a 2-1 victory over Wichita on Friday night at INTRUST Bank Arena.
Domenic Alberga had the lone Thunder tally of the night, which came with 24 seconds left in the game.
Both teams played an even first period as Wichita finished with nine shots while Tulsa had 10.
In the second, Tulsa had a chance to grab a lead when Christophe Lalancette stepped away down the middle of the ice, but was hooked up by Dan Milan near the Thunder line and was given a penalty shot. Thunder goaltender David Shantz poke-checked the puck off Lalancette’s stick, keeping the game scoreless. Minutes later, Phil Brewer broke the tie with a shorthanded breakaway goal with eight minutes to go in the frame and his 25th of the year.
Wichita had plenty of chances in the third and limited the Oilers to just 14 shots over the final 40 minutes of play. The Thunder unloaded 12 shots on Olkinuora and plenty more sailed over the net.
With just over a minute, David Shantz was pulled for the extra attacker only to see Pleskach get to a loose puck and fire it into the empty cage. Alberga tipped home a shot from Donnie Harris to cut the lead to one. The Thunder had one last face-off in front of Olkinuora, but lost the face-off and the final horn sounded.
Alberga netted his ninth of the season with assists to Harris and Dean Chelios. Shantz took the loss, stopping 22 of 23 shots. Olkinuora earned his 13th win of the season, stopping 29 of 30 shots he faced.
Wichita went 0-for-4 on the power play. Tulsa went 0-for-2 on the man advantage.
Even with the win, the Tulsa Oilers were eliminated from Kelly Cup Playoff contention, thanks to a win by the Quad City Mallards.
The two teams will play one last time tonight at BOK Center. Faceoff is set for 7:05 pm.