TULSA, Okla. – Home games for the Tulsa Oilers are becoming few and far between and all of them matter if they have any hope of making the 2020 ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs. On Tuesday night, the Oilers took on the Allen Americans with the hopes of strengthening their playoff push.
The 4,089 in attendance at the BOK Center got to see a potential preview of the first round of the 2020 playoffs as the Americans finally solved Oilers goaltender Devin Williams in the 61st minute of the game with a questionable five-on-three power-play goal by Jordan Topping who batted in a puck into the net during the first minute of overtime.
Once again, it was a goaltender’s battle. The first period was both scoreless and penalty-less, with the Oilers edging Allen 8-5 in shots. Tulsa came out of the intermission loaded for bear and peppered Americans goalie Andrew Shortridge with 10 shots and ramped up their physical game. That would become a problem later on with some ill-timed stick penalties that saw Tulsa on the penalty kill six times for 12 minutes in the contest.
The third period was capped off with an ill-timed high sticking penalty with just 28 seconds left in the game by Tulsa’s Jack Nevins, and that was followed by another high sticking offense by brand new Oiler, Hunter Drew, just 19 seconds into the extra frame, gifting the Americans a five-on-three power play with over six minutes left in overtime, and Topping scored about 20 seconds after that.
Oilers captain Adam Pleskach argued that the game-winner was swatted in with a high stick, but referee Sean MacFarlane held firm and the game was over. The Oilers played what many in the crowd compared to playoff hockey on Tuesday night but in the end, careless stick work that resulted in poorly given penalties doomed them to a loss.
The loss was not a fruitless one, as the overtime loss garnered Tulsa another crucial point in the standings and after a six-point weekend in Rapid City last weekend, it bolstered the Oilers playoff hopes that much more. As it stands now, Tulsa is in the playoffs with 64 points to the Rush’s 62, but Rapid City does have a four games in hand so it will be a footrace to the finish for the two clubs.
Tulsa is in action again on Saturday once again facing the Americans at the Allen Event Center.
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