Defensemen Propel Oilers Past Thunder in Preseason Action
WICHITA, KS – The Tulsa Oilers picked up three goals from defensemen and recorded a 4-2 preseason victory over the Wichita Thunder in front of 857 at the Wichita Ice Center on Saturday afternoon.
Blue-liners Drew Fisher, Matt Register, and Kyle Mariani each tallied for Tulsa and rookie forward Matt Gingera sealed the win for the Oilers with an empty net goal.
Wichita found the early momentum on offense and outshot Tulsa 18-4 in the first period. The home side held a 1-0 advantage after the first frame thanks to a powerplay goal by David Inman with just three seconds remaining on the clock.
The Oilers answered late in the second period when Drew Fisher netted a powerplay marker of his own. The rookie defensemen, who played the final six games of the 2011-12 regular season for the Oilers, was assisted by Ryan Cramer and Matt Register.
With an extra attacker on the ice midway through the third, Kyle Mariani, a former Laredo Buck, scored unassisted to give the Oilers their first lead of the evening. Less than four minutes later, Matt Register, who spent last season in Allen, beat Kamil Jarina to provide Tulsa with a two-goal cushion.
Thunder forward Ian Lowe pulled his team back within one with 90 seconds remaining but Gingera quickly dashed any hopes of a Wichita comeback when his shot found the back of the unguarded cage.
Goaltenders Ian Keserich and rookie Dan Bakala each saw a busy thirty minutes of playing time. Keserich, entering his third season in Tulsa, turned away 22 of the 23 shots he faced while Bakala, a product of Bemidji State University, stopped 19 of 20 Wichita offerings.
Fisher and Register both recorded multiple-point nights while Gingera posted a +2 rating, highest of any skater on either squad.
The Oilers head west to Dodge City on Sunday for their second and final exhibition contest against the expansion Denver Cutthroats. Game time is set for 6 p.m.