The Tulsa Oilers survived a wild third period, fending off a Wichita Thunder rally in the final minute, to defeat the second-place ECHL Mountain division team 5-4 Tuesday night at the BOK Center.
Leading 4-2 going into the third period, the Thunder outscored the Oilers 3-1 in the final 20 minutes with a chance to tie the game.
Michal Stinil fired a long shot at 6:02 of the third period to give the Thunder their second goal of the night to bring them up 2 (4-2). The Thunder then got within one with 2:31 left when Mark Liwiski fired a wrist shot down the crack.
Wichita got the goalie out for a six-man offense, but Max Golod scored into an empty net at 7:06 to complete a hat trick and put the Oilers up 5-3. However, Jake Wahlin spooked Oiler fans with a goal at 7:40 to put the Thunder within one again.
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Luckily Golod’s goal into an empty net was the winner of the match and gave him his first professional hat-trick.
“It’s definitely a special feeling and when the team gets the win it’s like a double reward,” said Golod of his performance. “I’ve never had one in juniors or pros, so it’s nice to have the former.”
Golod felt that he had missed a chance before and was happy to have another chance.
“I had a chance to shoot one before and let it go, so it was nice to get redemption with the second one,” he said.
After controlling the game in the first two periods Golod felt the team give up too much in the third.
“We passed them quite heavily in the first two periods, then in the third period I think we relaxed a little too much,” said Golod. “We have to get more comfortable with the lead if we want to be a playoff team. It’s important that once you get the advantage you keep playing like we did.
“We haven’t really had a winning streak this year, so it would be nice to start with a win here and keep it going. We’re five points behind in the playoffs, so we need to string together some wins.
Happy with the win, Oilers coach Rob Murray was not happy with the finish.
“It was terrible,” Murray said of the team’s third period play. “We just sat and let them come. With three and a half minutes left we have three guys behind their goal and they (Wichita) were 4 on 2 at the other end. We didn’t handle that third period very well. But in the end we won and that’s all that matters.”
Defensive back Mike McKee gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead at 6:29 of the first period with his second goal of the season.
At 1:09 pm Golod picked up a loose puck in front of the Thunder goaltender and fired shots around him to put the Oilers up 2-0.
Golod put the Oilers up 3-0 at 5:43 pm with his second goal of the night off a deflected shot into the net.
Timur Ibragimov capitalized on a shorthanded opportunity in front of Oilers goaltender Colton Ellis and the shot bounced to give the Thunderbirds their first goal of the game at 1:27 of the second period.
The Oilers answered at 7:08 on a Bertuzzi Tag throw to take a 4–1 lead.
First period: 1, Tulsa, McKee 2 (Poulsen, McLaughlin) 6:29. 2, Tulsa, Golod 5 (Bertuzzi, Bean) 1:09 pm. 3, Tulsa, Golod 6 (Sheriff, Boudrias) 5:43pm. Sanctions: Tulsa, Kromm (tripped) 2:06pm. Tulsa, Hilderman (stumble) 2:34pm. Wichita, Bent (major fighting, game misconduct) 5:43pm.
Second period: 4, Wichita, Ibragimov 10 (unassisted) 1:27 (sh). 5, Tulsa, Bertuzzi 17 (unassisted) 7:08. Sanctions: Tulsa, Golod (engagement) 10:27. Tulsa, Jarvis (interference) 5:01 PM.
Third period: 6, Wichita, Stinil 23 (Dickman, Rhodes) 6:02. 7, Wichita, Liwiski 8 (Os-Shaw Whaling) 5:29pm. 8, Tulsa, Golod 7 (Bertuzzi) 19:06 (it). 9, Wichita, Wahlin 9 (Stinil, Os-Shaw) 7:40pm. Sanctions: Wichita, Dickman (hooking) 8:15.
Power Games: Wichita, 0-4. Tula, 0-1. Shots: Wichita, 9-6-10—25. Tulsa, 5-13-19—37. Save: Wichita, Dop, 4-12-16—32. Tulsa, Ellis, 9-5-7—21. Referee: Luke Gagnon, Austin O’Rourke. A: 4,677.
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