Tulsa’s Dan Desalvo scores his third career goal during the first period of Thursday’s tilt at the BOK Center. (photo by: Kevin Pyle – www.photopyle.com)
TULSA, OK – Dollar beers weren’t the only things Oilers fans were thirsty for Thursday night at the BOK Center. Tulsa pulled out a 5-1 victory over the Utah Grizzlies during their first ever meeting in franchise history. The Oilers’ win was not the only historical moment celebrated as Head Coach Jason Christie tied the ECHL record for career wins with his 491st triumph. Kevin Carr stopped 25 shots on his seventh straight start as he helped his team advance to a record of 8-9-1-1.
It was not long into the first period that these two teams, foreign to one another, got moving. After a gloved-in no goal call for Utah, the Oilers took the first goal of the night when Emerson Clark slapped one in with help from Dan Desalvo and Nathan Lutz at 14:48. Less than three minutes later, new comer Christophe Lalancette received a chipped-off-the-boards puck that he backhanded to a charging Adam Pleskach for goal number two of the night. After a failed turnover attempt, Desalvo quickly forced another that led him to a through-traffic goal, which gave the Oilers a 3-0 lead over the Grizzlies. Three wasn’t enough. On a Tulsa power play with 1:08 left in the period, Christophe Lalancette missed a shot off of the Dennis Brown pass that led to a rebound goal from Brandon Wong—his sixth of the season. The period ended with Jack in the Box coupons in the hands of the fans.
Period two was not a hand short of goals and even included a short-handed goal. With a pair of penalties from Brian Nugent and Pleskach, the Oilers faced their first full two-minute, three-man penalty kill of the season. Could the Oilers survive a five-on-three? Not only did they survive, but the home team scored as well when forward Ben Walker snagged the puck off of a misguided Grizzly pass and netted a goal—giving Tulsa a five point lead. The fans received a gymnastics show as well as a hockey contest in the second frame when Kevin Carr stopped a fast moving puck with a full splits save. A response from Utah finally came at the 15:02 mark as Alex Krushelynski beat Carr to the net and put the Grizz on the board.
Utah outshot Tulsa 7-5 in the third period but was denied all opportunity by Carr. The Oilers finished the frame with their second highest scoring game as well as second highest margin victory of the season.
The Oilers will face the Grizzlies five more times this season—twice more at home with the remainder trio in West Valley City, Utah. Tulsa returns home to the BOK Center next $1 beer Thirsty Thursday at 7:05 p.m. to take on the Idaho Steelheads.
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Jeff: With you in the [inaudible 00:33:52]. [inaudible 00:33:56].
With you here in the first intermission, and joining us [inaudible 00:34:09] Brandon Wong of the Tulsa Oilers, and Brandon, seventh year pro, and first year with the Tulsa Oilers, but you’re pretty familiar with the East Coast Hockey League?
Brandon: Yeah, its been a long ride, but a new place here, and yeah.
Jeff: Tell me about Quinnipiac University up there in New York. How did you end up going to school there from Victoria?
Brandon: Played in the BCHL for three seasons and got recruited out of there, and signed a scholarship up there, and spent four years in Connecticut.
Jeff: That’s … Connecticut, yeah. I said New York, but just outside of the New York City area, but I can’t even imagine from a kid from Victoria, British Columbia to end up in Connecticut near New York City, that had to be an interesting change for you.
Brandon: Yeah, it was really different, but I always wanted to go to New York and the East Coast. I hadn’t been there as a kid or anything. It was great to be out that way for four years, and we were right in between Boston and New York, so it was a neat experience.