Six Unanswered Goals Lift Oilers Past Mavericks
TULSA, OK – Through the first ten minutes of Friday’s contest against the Missouri Mavericks, the Tulsa Oilers looked sluggish, disinterested, and undisciplined. Over the final 50 minutes, the Oilers played an inspired brand of hockey and turned the tables for a 6-4 victory in front of 4,401 at the BOK Center. Six points from Ben Gordon (1 goal, 5 assists) and four points from Ryan Menei (2 goals, 2 assists) allowed the Oilers to climb back in the contest and overcome long odds to earn two badly needed points.
Taylor Vichorek snuck one under Tulsa goaltender Shane Madolora a minute and eight seconds into the game for his first goal of the season. Missouri then sent in a couple of powerplay goals. The first was from the leading scorer of the Central Hockey League Sebastien Thinel, who notched his 60th point of the year. The second came from Kellan Tochkin, who made it 3-0 with 6:18 left in the opening period. Gordon put the Oilers on the board on a powerplay goal of his own, a slapshot with 4:35 to go in the first period. Tulsa trailed 3-1 after the opening frame and allowed 21 shots on goal. The Oilers, 1-16-2 on the season when trailing after the opening period. were in the game, but just barely.
The Oilers came out on fire in the second period. Drew Fisher continued his torrid pace, closing the gap to 3-2 on a powerplay goal. Then Gordon connected two times with Menei who secured his 18th and 19th goals of the season. His second goal vaulted Tulsa to its first lead of the game at 4-3 with 10:54 remaining in the second period.
Tulsa knocked in two straight powerplay goals to start the final period. Jeff Buvinow got his first goal of his professional career on a pass from Menei. Buvinow, a rookie out of Brown University, rifled the puck past Mavs goalie Mike Clemente who just happens to be Buvinow’s former college roommate. Sean Erickson tipped in a shot from Menei to make it 6-3 with 7:54 left in the game to cap a string of six consecutive goals for the Oilers.
Madolora had another stellar game for Tulsa. After surrendering three goals in the first 14 minutes of the game, Madolora saved all but one Missouri shot the rest of the way, finishing with 35 saves.
Tulsa is now 9-0-0 this season when leading after two periods. The Oilers have won three straight at home and posted back-to-back victories for the first time since early November.
The Oilers improve to 14-27-3 on the year, and their next contest is tomorrow night when the Wichita Thunder will visit the BOK Center. The puck will drop at 7:35 p.m.