It was a less than happy ending in the BOK Center Wednesday night when the Rapid City Rush, in front of 3,511 fans and Miss Oklahoma herself, defeated the Tulsa Oilers. With goals by Oilers’ Christophe Lalancette and Brandon Wong, Tulsa fell 4-2 after a late third period tie-breaking goal followed by a pair of empty netters.
Not early in the first period, but before the period even began, punches were traded by two opposing heavy-weights. With 20 minutes on the clock, Mathieu Gagnon and Jimmy Bonneau dropped the gloves and participated in a lengthy brawl that resulted in five minutes apiece. 7:13 into the frame Christophe Lalancette slapped a hard one from the stick of Matiheu Brisebois and Jordan Kremyr for his eighth point in nine games (4 goals, 4 assists). A response came from the Rush with 2:47 left when Kale Kerbashian received a tight pass off the breakaway of Mikhail Stefanovich and beat Kevin Carr to the net, tying the period 1-1.
A hooking minor in the second twenty minutes put the Rush on their sole power play of the period. Carr, with a hard-fought performance, stopped all eleven shots faced throughout the frame.
Six minutes left in the third, with the Oiler’s on the penalty kill, Ben Walker took a shot off the leg and limped through the play where Tulsa then gave allowed a power play goal to Rush’s Taylor Doherty. With the Oilers trailing by one at the 2:03 mark, Destry Straight scored an empty net goal off the face-off for the Rush followed by a second empty bucket credited to Rapid City’s Cody Ferriero. The Oilers allowed four unanswered goals and slumped 4-1. Brandon Wong replied with 13 seconds left and marked his fifth goal of the year. Regulation ended with a 4-2 loss for Tulsa.
The Oilers will face Rapid City two more times this season, once later in December and again in January—both in Rush territory. Tulsa’s record now sits at 7-9-1-1 overall as they return to the BOK Center tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. to contend against West Division leaders, the Utah Grizzlies, for the first time in franchise history.
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Jeff: Did you have much interest or did you know anything about the Tulsa Oilers before you came here this year?
Brandon: I didn’t, not much. Maybe a few guys that had played here, but I didn’t know much at all, and hadn’t ever been to Oklahoma. Last year, we played Allen in the finals, so that was my first time to Texas, but not too much in the Southwest.
Jeff: Last year, you were with South Carolina, so going to South Carolina’s got to be different with the accents, the drawl, the food’s a little different, I guess, and then you come out here to Oklahoma. You’re getting a whole new experience really, aren’t you?
Brandon: Yeah, covering most of the United States, that’s for sure in the ECHL. This is my first year on the west side. It’s been a long ride in the ECHL.
Jeff: Have you found a favorite place where you like to visit or a favorite place where you like to play, one of the arenas that you like the best?
Brandon: There’s actually a lot of arenas in the ECHL that are exciting to play in. Last year, I played in Evansville where the place was packed most nights, and for cities-wise, it’s Charleston, South Carolina was unbelievable. That’s one place I’d like to live.
Jeff: Beautiful city, right?
Brandon: Yeah, it’s great. Great city, great weather. It was really cool to see.
Jeff: Brandon, go get them tonight. Thank you very much.
Brandon: Thank you very much.
Jeff: Brandon Wong, we’ll be back with the second period in just a moment. You’re listening to Tulsa Oilers hockey.
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