The Tulsa Oilers-Wichita Thunder rivalry is one of the most heated in the ECHL, meaning that every contest is a battle. That was the case on Tuesday night as the two teams took a 1-1 tie into overtime, where the Oilers would win it on the second goal of the game for Jared Thomas, 2-1. The loss was the fourth in a row for Wichita.
It was a scoreless contest through the first 14 minutes but, as been the case so often with Wichita lately, the Tulsa Oilers would take the lead with 6:17 left in the first. With Tulsa on the power-play, Jared Thomas passed the puck back to the point to Eric Drapluk, who blasted the one-timer past Ty Rimmer for his second goal of the year.
The Oilers were absolutely smothering the Thunder. Wichita had seven shots in the first period, and only nine in the second.
While Tulsa led, the big story in this contest was Thunder goalie Ty Rimmer. He stopped eight of nine shots in the first, then made 17 saves in the second. That included making nine total saves during the three power-play opportunities that the Oilers had in the frame.
Just before the three minute mark in the third, the Wichita Thunder tied the score. Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin fired a shot that that Devin Williams saved, but the rebound bounced in the air and into Stephen Iacobellis as he was charging toward the net. The puck hit off Iacobellis and went in, but the referee waved it off saying the Thunder forward kicked it in. After a review, the referee overturned his ruling and the game was tied. That was the 16th goal of the year for Iacobellis.
The score remained tied as the two teams went to overtime. At 1:15, Adam Phillips took a great pass in the neutral zone, splitting between two defenseman as she moved in on a breakaway. His shot beat Rimmer up high but hit off the post and to the corner to keep it tied.
Play continued with 1:38 left in the extra frame, the Oilers would win it. Ryan Tesink carried the puck into the Thunder end, dropping it off to Jared Thomas. Thomas blasted a laser that went through five hole through Rimmer for his second goal of the game.
Devin Williams finished with 25 saves for Tulsa. Ty Rimmer had 32 for the Thunder.
These two teams will square off again on Friday, when the Wichita Thunder head to Oklahoma to take on the Tulsa Oilers. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier