Oilers Edged By Mavericks, Playoff Bid Falls Short
INDEPENDENCE, MO – The Oilers clawed their way back in the Berry Conference playoff race over the last two weeks, but their postseason dreams were squashed Saturday night in a 5-4 loss to the Missouri Mavericks.
Tulsa, seeking its first win in five games at the Independence Events Center, jumped out to an early lead after Marty Standish chipped in his sixth goal of the season. Patrick Shafer answered for the Mavs, but the Oilers quickly regained the lead off a shorthanded goal by Michel Beausoleil.
The game took a drastic turn two minutes into the second period. Oilers defenseman Sean Erickson delivered a crushing check to Missouri forward Andrew Courtney which was deemed an illegal hit to the head. Erickson was given a game misconduct and Oilers Head Coach Bruce Ramsay was also tossed from the game after vehemently voicing his displeasure to the officials.
With no coach on the bench and only four defensemen still in the game, the Oilers managed to extend their lead after a nifty passing play from Luke Lucyk and Mike Ullrich set up a wide open Dylan Clarke who buried the puck past Mavs goalie Charlie Effinger. Tulsa held its 3-1 lead until the final minutes of the second period when Shafter registered his second goal of the game and Andrew Courtney pulled the home side even when he pounced on a rebound with just 14 seconds left in the frame.
Two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against the Oilers at the end of the second period gave Missouri an extended 5-on-3 advantage to start the third. Tulsa successfully killed off the two-man advantage but John-Scott Dickson scored for the Mavs with only four seconds remaining on the Oilers second penalty. Brandon Smith found the back of the net 33 seconds later and suddenly the Mavs had a two-goal lead. The Oilers cut the deficit to one on a goal by David Solway but couldn’t solve Effinger over the final 16 minutes.
Tulsa dropped its tenth straight road game and fell to 1-7 this season against Missouri. With an 8-2 trouncing of Laredo on Saturday, Rio Grande Valley moved four points ahead of Tulsa and locked up the final Berry Conference playoff spot.
The Oilers return home Sunday to finish the regular season with one more contest against the Mavericks at 4:05 p.m.