Oilers Survive Mavericks' Surge in 6-4 Win
TULSA, OK - A game that started with a near flawless first period suddenly turned into a struggle, but the Tulsa Oilers found a way to overcome a pesky Missouri Mavericks squad to record a 6-4 victory on Friday night. Playing in front of 12,784, the largest crowd of the season, the Oilers earned another pair of precious points and moved five points ahead of the Wichita Thunder in the race for the final Central Division playoff spot. Ricards Birzinsh and Kyle Bochek each notched three assists to lead the Tulsa attack and rookie forward Phil Brewer registered the first multi-goal game of his career as the Oilers won for just the second time in nine meetings against Missouri.
With more upper bowl sections of the BOK Center open than any other game this season, the Oilers immediately pumped some energy into the crowd with a goal less than two minutes into the first period. Bochek's shot was kicked out by Mavs' goalie Mike Clemente but Brady Ramsay pounced on the rebound and flipped the puck over Clemente's shoulder at 1:46 for a 1-0 Tulsa lead. Only 34 seconds later, a rebound created by the shot of Stephen Perfetto was stuffed home by T.J. Caig and the Oilers were off and running. Adam Pleskach, who received the Oilers' award for Offensive Player of the Year in a pre-game ceremony, tapped in a power play goal at 8:59 to give the Oilers a comfortable 3-0 advantage. Before the buzz in the building had died down, Brewer used his speed to cut to the front of the Missouri net and nudged a backhand through Clemente. Brewer's strike came just 32 seconds after the Pleskach marker and gave the Oilers their third four-goal period of the season. With 3:10 remaining in the opening frame, Mavericks' forward Andrew Courtney collided with Tulsa goalie Kevin Carr and both players fell back into the net. Courtney's skate lacerated Carr's leg and the Oilers' rookie netminder was unable to return to the game.
The contest had all the makings of a blowout but nobody told that to the Mavericks. Only 100 seconds into the second period, the Missouri comeback effort began with a snap shot from Brett Stovin that beat Brandon Anderson and put the visitors on the board. After penalties to Nathan Lutz and Brady Ramsay gave the Mavs' a 5-on-3 power play, Courtney buried a loose puck in the Tulsa crease at 15:02 to cut the Oilers' lead down to two goals. On the ensuing 5-on-4 advantage, Ludwig Karlsson connected from close range and within the span of 41 seconds, the Mavericks had trimmed the deficit to a single goal. Tulsa outshot Missouri 16-5 in the first period but the Mavericks turned the tables in the second with a decisive 18-5 shot advantage.
At the 1:45 mark of the third with his team back on the power play, Pleskach drew the attention of the Missouri defenders and slid a pass to Scott Macaulay who had snuck down from the blue line. Macaulay's wrist shot found the top corner of the cage and the Oilers took a 5-3 lead. Macaulay, who leads the Oilers with 23 power play points, scored his ninth goal of the season. Karlsson answered just 30 seconds later with a textbook one-timer on a 3-on-1 rush into the Tulsa zone. Karlsson's second goal of the night was set up Geoff Walker and the Mavs had closed the gap once again. Brewer, in only his seventh game as a pro, provided the insurance for the Oilers at 14:03 with an unlikely goal from the side of the Missouri net. A shot by Bochek from the corner boards was stopped by Clemente but the quick stick of Brewer jabbed the puck inside the post and across the goal line. Anderson made 14 of his 29 saves in the third period as the Oilers secured a home ice victory over the Mavericks for the first time since February 1, 2013.
Bochek and Birzinsh each posted their first three-point outings of the season while Bochek led all skaters with a +3 rating. Pleskach, Macaulay, and Caig all ended the evening with a goal and an assist to help the Oilers to their highest offensive output in the last eight games. Bruce Ramsay picked up his 35th win of the season and has equaled the highest win total of his tenure in Tulsa.
The Oilers will face off against the Mavericks in the regular season home finale at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday night. The pre-game party begins at 4:30 p.m. with the Chris Nikel Tailgate in front of the BOK Center. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the first 1,000 fans into the arena will receive a free Oilers mini-stick from Safelite Auto Glass. All fans are encouraged to bring a canned food donation for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.
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Tulsa Oilers vs. Missouri Mavericks
Tulsa Oilers Celebrate vs. Missouri Mavericks
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