Oilers Weekly News and Notes
Week In Review: The Oilers went 0-2-1 last week and are winless in their last five games.
On Tuesday at the BOK Center, Tulsa fell 3-1 to the Fort Worth Brahmas. The Oilers fired 36 shots on goal but Brahmas' netminder Brad Fogal turned in a 35-save performance and held the Tulsa offense to just one goal for a second straight game. Ben Gordon scored for the Oilers who fell to 2-2-0 against Fort Worth this season.
Friday, the Oilers were transformed into the Gotham City Crusaders as they hosted the Bloomington Blaze for the second time in a week. Wearing special Batman themed jerseys, the Oilers broke out of their offensive slump and held a 5-4 lead early in the third period. The Blaze tied the game at the midway point of the final frame and the Oilers found themselves in an overtime battle for the third time this season. Jesse Dudas provided the game-winner for Bloomington as the Oilers were forced to settle for a single point in a 6-5 loss. Tulsa set new season highs for goals (5), shots in a game (45), and shots in a period (18 in the first). Gary Steffes chipped in goals in all three periods for his first hat-trick of the season and the second three-goal night of his career.
The Oilers carried the offensive momentum into Quad City on Saturday night when they scored three times in the first nine minutes of the game. Ryan Menei had two of the goals and Steffes scored for the fourth time in four periods to help Tulsa build a quick 3-0 lead. Mallards goalie John Murray came into the game in relief of Jimmy Spratt and promptly shut the door on the Oilers. Over the final two and half periods, Murray stopped all 27 shots he faced. Quad City scored four unanswered goals for a 4-3 comeback victory that dropped the Oilers to 3-6-0 on the road.
Steffes In Right Place at Right Time: Nearly every time he found himself in front of the Bloomington net on Friday night, third year center Gary Steffes capitalized on a scoring opportunity. In the first period, Steffes poked in a loose puck on top of the crease. With only five seconds remaining in the second period, Steffes put his stick in front of Kyle Mariani's shot and redirected the puck over the shoulder of Blaze goalie Gerry Festa and into the upper portion of the net. The 25-year old Steffes, shoveled home another rebound in the third period to complete his hat-trick and tie the game at 4-4. Steffes, who added another goal at Quad City on Saturday, now leads the CHL with 11 goals.
Offensive Drought Over: After recording only eight goals in their previous five contests, the Oilers offense finally came to life on Friday night against Bloomington. For the first time in five games, Tulsa scored the first goal of the game. The Oilers peppered the Blaze net with 18 shots in the opening twenty minutes and finished the evening with a season high 45 shots on goal. It was the third time this season that the Oilers managed 10 or more shots in each period. Tulsa's offense continued to click in the first period at Quad City on Saturday when it scored three times in nine minutes. The Oilers have eight goals in the last two outings, a total that ties their highest output over any two-game stretch this season.
PK Getting The Job Done: Tulsa's penalty killing unit has surrendered only one goal in the last seven games. Over that stretch, the Oilers have shut down 23 of the 24 opposition powerplays they have faced. Up against Bloomington's top-ranked powerplay unit on Friday night, the Oilers killed off all four Blaze powerplays. Tulsa's penalty kill is now the fourth best unit in the CHL (85.1%) and has given up the second fewest number of powerplay goals.
Trouble When Trailing: With the 4-3 loss to the Mallards on Saturday, the Oilers are still searching for their first comeback victory of the season. In every loss the Oilers have suffered this season, they have found themselves trailing after two periods. Tulsa has also not won a game when falling behind after the first period.
Streaks and Milestones: Right wing Ryan Menei is on a four-game point streak. The 26-year old has three goals and two assists during the streak and ranks second on the team with 16 points. Defenseman Sean Erickson is just one point shy of 100 for his four-year professional career. The Eden Prairie, Minnesota native recorded his 99th point with an assist on Saturday night. Bruce Ramsay is only two wins away from recording his 100th victory as Oilers Head Coach. Now in his fourth season behind the Tulsa bench, Ramsay has a mark of 98-89-23. The 43-year old Ramsay is just five wins shy of 300 for his coaching career.
Coach's Show: The Tulsa Oilers Coach's Show returns to El Chico Café (71st and Mingo) tonight from 6-7 p.m. Broadcaster Rob Loeber will be joined by Oilers Head Coach Bruce Ramsay along with Oilers players Ben Gordon and Drew Fisher.
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