Oilers Win Sixth Straight in Rout of Grizzlies
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT - The hottest team in the ECHL picked up its sixth straight win Friday, as the Tulsa Oilers (23-12-6) routed the Utah Grizzlies (22-11-4) 7-3 at the Maverik Center. The Oilers have won 10 of their last 11 games and sit atop the Mountain Division standings.
Utah outshot the Oilers 9-3 in the early going, but Tulsa goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick weathered the storm to keep the game scoreless. On Tulsa's first power play of the game, Eric Drapluk fired a shot through a screen the was deflected by Sam Wilbur and into the net to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead. The Oilers scored again on their second man-advantage, when Ian McNulty tipped a shot from Steven Kaunisto past Grizzlies goaltender Joe Cannata. McNulty added a second goal with 2:44 left in the period to give Tulsa a 3-0 lead after one. Utah pulled Cannata after the third goal for backup Kevin Carr.
After killing off four second period penalties, including a five-minute major, the Oilers extended their lead when Drapluk jammed a loose puck into the Utah net. Tulsa cushioned its lead to 5-0 when Scott Henegar fired a shot under the crossbar with just 1:22 left in the middle frame.
Tulsa captain Adam Pleskach, who was selected for next Monday's ECHL All-Star Classic, scored the Oilers' third power play goal to breakeven with Doug Lawrence for second place in franchise history with his 153rd goal. That made it 6-0 just 4:25 into the final stanza. The Grizzlies scored back-to-back power play goals of their own to cut Tulsa's lead to 6-2 when Tim McGauley and Jake Marchment found a way to beat Fitzpatrick, but Jared Thomas made it 7-2 shortly thereafter, when he jammed home a loose puck in the crease. Utah's Turner Ottenbreit picked up a short-handed goal late to complete the scoring.
The Oilers had seven players who recorded multi-point games, led by McNulty (2g, 1a), Drapluk (1g, 2a), Wilbur (1g, 2a) and Steven Kaunisto (3a), who each had three-point outings. Fitzpatrick stopped 36 of 39 Grizzlies shots for his ninth win of the season.
The Oilers and Grizzlies face-off one more time in West Valley City before Tulsa returns home from a ten-day road trip. The Allen Americans come to Oil Country next weekend for three games in three days at the BOK Center. Tulsa and Allen battle Friday and Saturday at 7:05pm, before finishing off the series Sunday at 4:05pm on the York Plumbing Ice at the BOK Center.
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