TULSA, OK — The Tulsa Oilers leaned on a strong performance from goaltender Jamie Phillips and three-point performances from forwards Darcy Murphy and Shawn Bates to defeat the Wichita Thunder 4-3, on Saturday night at Intrust Bank Arena.
Wichita jumped out to an early lead when forward Alex Krushelnyski scored on a breakaway at the 2:45 mark of the first period. Mitch Holmberg was awarded the lone assist after his pass created Krushelnyski’s opportunity.
A pair of new Oilers would answer Wichita’s opening score. Rookie forward Darcy Murphy sliced through the Thunder’s defense before scoring on his backhand from the top of the crease. Veteran defenseman Wes Cunningham assisted the goal, which came 9:56 into the period.
Murphy would find the back of the net again 1:33 into the second period to give the Oilers their first lead of the game. Forwards Shawn Bates and Reid Halabi assisted the early-period goal.
Big saves from both goaltenders kept the game tied until the 17:36 mark of the second period. Shawn Bates buried a top shelf backhand shot to extend the Oilers lead to 3-1. The assists went to Darcy Murphy and Chris Joyaux, giving Murphy his third point of the night and Joyaux his first point as an Oiler.
Wichita’s Landon Oslanski would cut the Oilers’ lead to one halfway through the third period. Louick Marcotte left a dump-pass to a drifting Oslanski, who fired a wrist shot top shelf from the top of the circles past Jamie Phillips.
Seconds later, with just over 8 minutes to go in the game, Adam Pleskach would extend the Oilers’ lead to two, when he snuck a net-mouth scramble underneath a sprawling Scott Greenham. Forward Kale Kessy was credited with the lone assist on the goal.
Jack Rodewald brought the Wichita fans to their feet when he brought the score within one with just 1:30 remaining. Rodewald buried a rebound off of a shot from James Melindy.
Phillips made a key save in the final minutes of the game to seal the Oilers’ victory in their first game of the season.
Neither team was able to capitalize on the power play as the Oilers went 0/4 and the Thunder went scoreless on their two opportunities. The SOG were 36-34 in favor of the Oilers.
The Oilers will return to the BOK Center in Tulsa for their home opener against the Indy Fuel on Friday, October 21 at 7:05 p.m.
Tulsa Oilers 2016-17 season tickets and group tickets are on sale now! Visit www.tulsaoilers.com or call 918-632-7825 for details.