(Photo by Josie Vimahi)
West Valley City, UT — In their final meeting of the regular season, the Tulsa Oilers were defeated 3-1 by the Utah Grizzlies on Saturday night in West Valley City.
In each game (of the seven) between Tulsa and Utah, the home team has scored first. Matt Berry’s shot that got behind Jussi Oklinuora 5:58 into the first period kept the tradition alive.
The fresh faces of the Oilers made their move next. Roberts Lipsbergs, in his first shift for Tulsa, got the assist on the Shawn Bates goal. Bates tallied his first last night in his debut with the Oilers.
The squads entered the second frame level at 1-1.
Mike Ratchuk took a power play shot on Olkinuora that Barry Alemedia blasted in off the rebound. Almeida scored with the help of Berry for a Grizzlies lead to end the middle period, 2-1.
Utah’s Bryan Moore got a shot off of Olkinuora for a third period goal that upped the Grizzlies lead 3-1. Alex Krushelnyski and Eric Knodel were credited with the assists.
The Oilers completed the week against the Grizzlies with two out of a possible six points in the ECHL Standings. Tulsa returns home to the BOK Center Tuesday night to face the Colorado Eagles.
Tulsa Oilers @ Utah Grizzlies 7:00 MST p.m.
Watch on ECHL-TV
Overall: 32-26-3-2 (69 points)
Rank: 3rd in Central Division
Overall: 35-25-3-3 (76 points)
Rank: 2nd in West Division
Goals: Phil Brewer – 23
Assists: Dennis Brown – 28
Points: Adam Pleskach – 43
+/-: Dennis Brown +14
PIM: Mathieu Gagnon – 149
Goals: Alex Krushelnyski, Barry Almeida – 23
Assists: Charles Sarault – 40
Points: Charles Sarault – 57
+/-: Matt Berry, +12
PIM: Cody Ferriero – 70
The Oilers are in West Valley City, Utah contending against the Grizzlies in what is a three-game series. When the two met up earlier in the Maverick Center this season, the Oilers were defeated 5-2. This was not the case on Wednesday when Tulsa came back from a 2-0 deficit to win in a shootout. Last night the Grizz took their turn for a win as they edged the Oilers 4-3. Tulsa is now seven points below Utah in the ECHL standings.
ROAD TO KELLY
After Wednesday night’s Oilers victory, Tulsa re-secured a playoff spot over the Quad City Mallards. Last night, an Oilers loss plus a Mallards win meant that Quad City would reclaim their eight place position with 70 points to the Oilers’ 69.
Next week the Oilers will host the Colorado Eagles. The Eagles are seventh and only one point ahead of Tulsa. They will play next Tuesday and Wednesday for their final matchups with one another in the regular season.
When in the BOK Center, the Oilers bring it. In their own home, the Oilers are second in the ECHL on the power play. Tulsa may be in last place on the road with the man advantage but at home they have 21.1% just behind the Fort Wayne Komets. They have 19 total power play goals on 90 attempts in 33 games at the BOK Center.
This week the Tulsa Oilers have announced two fresh faces to their roster. Although they’re new to Tulsa, neither will be complete strangers to the team. Both forward newcomers Shawn Bates and Ben Murphy have been on the same side as a few Oilers in college. Bates, out of Merrimack College, scored his first goal as an Oiler in his first game with them last night against the Grizzlies. He and Oilers defenseman Justin Mansfield spent time as teammates. Murphy comes to Tulsa after time at Bowling Green State University with Oilers Connor Kucera and Dan DeSalvo.
Monday the Manitoba Moose recalled forward Ben Walker. Walker, 22, returned to the Moose after skating in four games with them where he produced 4 penalty minutes. The Edina, Minnesota native has suited up in 36 contest with the Oilers–logging 11 points (7 goals and 4 assists). The Moose still have Oilers’ leading goal scorer, Dan DeSalvo, on loan. DeSalvo, on a contact with Tulsa, made his AHL debut with the Moose where he produced an assist. In his second game, DeSlavo tallied his first AHL goal against the Grand Rapids Giffins on Friday, March 11. In seven games, the forward has four points.
The Oilers are sixth in the ECHL in shots against with a 28.03 percentage… Kevin Carr is tenth among goaltenders with a 2.26 goals against average and third in minutes with 2498… Phil Brewer is tied at third among rookies with 22 goals…
The Oilers are in a bind for a playoff spot now as they needed a few more points this weekend than they got. If the Quad City Mallards coninute to have success this could be dangerous for the Oilers. Luckily, the Oilers have less games played than the Mal;adds do but it is still going to be quite the race as the two teams have been flipping back and forth this week in hopes to seal that final playoff position or even advance further past it.
Those two will meet up next weekend in Quad Citites just for one game to see who will take it home. Which one will win? If they get into the playoffs, who will the Oilers play first? Will they face the Missouri Mavericks in the first round and continuteto be the team that breaks them down? Seeieng the number one team in the ECHL (by far) go down in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs would be quite the sight indeed, Or will the Oilers defeated Colordado this week as well and jump on them and maybe get a 7th seed? Could the Oilers and Grizzlies meet again in the playoffs? Or maybe the Oilers and Americans? This Tulsa team has proven that if they can just make it into a playoff spoition that they can compete with any team placed in from of them whether it’s the best or the worst. As far as special teams go and streaks, the Oilers will be on the downside of no home ice advantage but it’s better than nothing.