Ben Murphy Strikes Again for Tulsa Downing Thunder in Shootout
A night after Ben Murphy delivered a late goal in the third period in the Tulsa Oilers 4-2 victory over the Wichita Thunder, the forward was at it again. This time he would be the only player to score in a shootout following 65-minutes of hockey, spoiling a fantastic outing by Thunder goalie Drew Owsley. The loss gave Wichita five straight losses and gave the Oilers a sweep of the three games the two teams played this week.
The Wichita Thunder took the lead early. At the eight-minute mark Alexis Loiseau took a shot on Jamie Phillips, but the goaltender could not make the save. That was Loiseau’s 13th goal of the year. That moved the Thunder forward into a tie for the most goals in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). He is 10th in points with 21.
The shots were tied through the first period, but the ice would seem to tilt in the second. The Tulsa Oilers took control of the play and dominated the period, outshooting the Thunder 12-6. However, Owsley stood tall, making two huge saves to keep his team on top by one.
In the third, the Oilers would continue to pressure Owsley. They would outshoot Wichita 16-6 in the frame and would finally get the equalizer. With Tulsa on the power-play, Adam Pleskach would tip in a shot by Chrisophe Lalancette for his 10th goal of the season. That was just the fifth power-play goal that the Thunder have allowed this season.
Tied at one the game went into overtime. Wichita had a chance to win it when a mad scramble ensued in front of the Oilers goal, but Gabriel Gagne could not get it past the Tulsa goalie and the game moved to a shootout.
In the first round, Darcy Murphy was stopped by Owsley and Loiseau would be stymied by Phillips. In Round 2, it would be Ben Murphy and he would make a nice move before putting it into the net to put his team on top. Gagne would not score moving the contest to Round 3. Nolan Julseth-White was stopped by Owsley, setting up a last chance for Wichita. Nick Trecapelli skated in and attempted to make a move to get it past Phillips, but the Tulsa goalie did not bite, and the Oilers were the 2-1 winners.
Owsley had a great game in net, stopping 38 of 39 shots.
The loss gives the Thunder just one point in their last five games, going 0-4-0-1. They are now 7-7-0-1.
The Thunder have the next six days off before they travel to Rapid City for a two-game set staring Friday night. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier