Oilers Offense Explodes in 9-6 Victory over Americans
ALLEN, TX - In their ECHL debut, the Tulsa Oilers cashed in on scoring chances early and often to earn a thrilling 9-6 win over the Allen Americans on Friday night at the Allen Event Center. The two sides combined for 75 shots on goal in the first of 17 scheduled meetings. T.J. Caig, a 33-year-old forward playing North American hockey for the first time in four years, led the Oilers' offensive attack with a pair of goals and an assist.
It was Caig who opened the scoring at the 9:21 mark of the opening period when he swatted a rebound past Allen goalie Aaron Dell to record Tulsa's first ECHL goal. The Oilers pushed the lead to 2-0 just 80 seconds after Caig's tally when Drew Fisher elevated a backhand over the shoulder of Dell at 10:41. The Oilers outshot the Americans 11-10 in the first 20 minutes and carried the two-goal advantage into the second period.
Greger Hanson put the Americans on the board with a power play marker at 2:03 of the second period but the Oilers responded almost immediately. Tulsa captain Nathan Lutz finished off an odd-man rush at 2:30 to restore the Oilers two-goal edge. Defenseman Jake Obermeyer blasted a slap shot past Dell at 4:49 and Adam Pleskach notched a re-direction goal on the power play at 7:11 to swell the visitors' lead to 5-1. After Allen forward Brett Lyon snapped a shot past rookie goaltender Kevin Carr, the Oilers once again found a quick answer. Kyle O'Kane, in his second stint as an Oiler, found Charles Lachance all alone in front of the Allen net and the Quebec City native deked his way around Dell to make it a 6-2 contest. For the rest of the middle frame, the Oilers weathered an unrelenting storm of pressure from the Americans. The home side picked up goals from former Oiler Jack Combs and Ian Schultz to trim the Tulsa lead down to two goals. Hanson netted his second of the night on the power play at 17:53 and the Oilers found themselves clinging to a one-goal lead going into the third period.
The narrow margin held up through the first half of the final frame and Scott Macaulay provided the Oilers with a much-needed cushion at 10:51 by slinging a power play wrist shot through Dell. Just 20 seconds after Macaulay's first tally of the season, Caig deposited a knuckling puck past Dell for his second goal of the contest and an 8-5 Oilers lead. Hanson finished off his hat-trick at 17:25 of the third, but the Americans would come no closer. Off a defensive zone face-off win, Lutz rifled the puck 180 feet into Allen's empty net to seal the win for the Oilers.
Carr, in his first ECHL start and just his fifth professional game, turned aside 38 shots to earn his first victory as an Oiler. Tulsa finished 2-for-4 on the power play while Allen capitalized three times on five power play opportunities. Each player on Tulsa's top line, Jon Booras, Adam Pleskach, and Drew Fisher, ended the night with a +4 rating and six Oilers - Caig, Lutz, Macaulay, Obermeyer, Pleskach, and Booras - recorded multi-point performances.
The Oilers have a day off on Saturday before their home opener on Sunday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. against the Wichita Thunder.
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