OILERS SNAP SKID AT SIX WITH WIN IN COACH MURRAY’S RETURN
Tulsa comes from behind in the third period to defeat Rapid City 3-1 in first game back for Head Coach Rob Murray.
RAPID CITY, SD – In the return of Head Coach Rob Murray to the Tulsa Oilers bench, the Oilers won a hard-fought, come from behind game 3-1 over the Rapid City Rush Friday at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The victory snapped Tulsa’s winless skid at six, setting up the rubber match Saturday in the Black Hills.
The two teams skated to a scoreless first period, with Rapid City holding a narrow 8-7 shots advantage. Oilers goaltender Jake Hildebrand stopped all eight shots, including an early breakaway, while Adam Vay turned away all seven Tulsa shots.
The Oilers outshot the Rush 15-10 in the second period, but Rapid City broke the scoreless deadlock with 1:33 left in the frame when Alex Guptill beat Hildebrand over the blocker with a wrist shot from the slot.
Conner Bleackley tied the score at 1-1 just 43 seconds into the third period with his team-leading ninth goal of the season, when he scooped up his own rebound and slid the puck behind Vay. Late in regulation, Evan Richardson set up Charlie Sampair with a saucer pass on a 2-on-1 rush and Sampair fired the one-timer into the net to give Tulsa the lead for good. Dylan Hubbs added an empty-net goal from center ice to cap the scoring, and Hildebrand stopped 28 of 29 shots in the Oilers’ victory.
The Oilers and Rush will meet again Saturday at 8:05 CT at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center to conclude the three game series this week. Then Tulsa heads to Boise, Idaho to face-off against the Steelheads three times next week at CenturyLink Arena. Catch all the action on www.tulsaoilers.com, The Sports Animal Radio Network (99.9FM/1550AM), or ECHL.TV.