Oilers Fall to Mallards in OT, Settle for Fourth Spot in Central Division
MOLINE, IL - A dramatic, tension- filled contest between the Tulsa Oilers and Quad City Mallards was finally decided by an overtime slap shot from Matt Duffy. The Mallards defenseman blasted a puck past Tulsa goalie Kevin Carr on a power play at the 2:20 mark of the extra session to lift Quad City to a 2-1 victory in the regular season finale for both clubs. With the loss, the Oilers finish fourth in the final Central Division standings and will face off against the Allen Americans in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The best-of-seven series is slated to begin at the Allen Event Center on Tuesday, April 14 at 7:05 p.m.
A pair of first period power plays for the Oilers did not pan out and the Mallards were able to net the only goal of the opening frame with just over three minutes remaining. Kevin Baker walked the puck across the top of the left face off circle and ripped a shot from the high slot that beat Kevin Carr to the stick side. Baker's 22nd of the season gave the home team a 1-0 edge and Michael Clarke, who made his pro debut for the Mallards, recorded his first pro point with an assist.
Adam Pleskach, the Oilers' leading goal-scorer, found a way to manufacture more offense with just over three minutes off the clock in the second period. As he began to make his way behind the Quad City net, Pleskach fired a puck from below the Mallards' end line that somehow banked off goalie Parkner Milner and into the cage. The 41st goal of the season for Pleskach pulled the Oilers even at 1-1, a score that would hold up throughout the remainder of the middle frame.
The sides traded chances and traded power plays in the third but the final 20 minutes of regulation belonged to the goaltenders. Carr made 10 of his 29 total saves in the third period while Milner turned aside 13 shots en route to a 35-save performance.
At 2:07 of overtime, Tulsa defenseman Scott Macaualay was called for hooking after taking down Mallards' forward Justin Fox in the middle of the Oilers' zone. Only 13 seconds into the ensuing power play, a clearing attempt was gloved down by Duffy inside the blue line and the Mallards' defenseman took his time in lining up a heavy drive. Duffy's slap shot sailed through traffic in front of Carr and into the net as the iWireless center erupted.
Tulsa posted a 4-2-2 mark in the eight-game season series against Quad City and earned points in each of its five visits to the iWireless Center (3-0-2).
The Oilers finished the 2014-15 regular season, their first in the ECHL, with a record of 37-29-3-3, the highest win-total of Bruce Ramsay's tenure as head coach.
The Oilers will hold a playoff press conference on Monday, April 13 at 1:00 p.m. in the Grand Lobby of the BOK Center to discuss the match-up against the Allen Americans as well as dates for home playoff games and ticket information.
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