Oilers shutout Texas, keep playoff hopes alive
BY JOHN RITTENOURE World Correspondent
Saturday, March 24, 2012
3/24/12 at 5:54 AM
The Tulsa Oilers continued their drive toward a Central Hockey League playoff spot with a dominating 6-0 victory over the Texas Brahmas before a BOK Center crowd of 5,677 on Friday night.
Oilers goalie Ian Keserich earned his third shutout, all coming against the Brahmas, and Gary Steffes scored twice and added an assist as the Oilers tallied their most goals since Feb. 12.
Five Oilers scored goals to give Tulsa its fifth victory in seven games.
"We got better as the game went on," Oilers coach Bruce Ramsay said. "Early on we scored some goals but they had chances. Keserich made some real good saves for us.
"We are in a desperate situation and it was good to see we responded with a sense of urgency. We took the lead early and never gave up."
Dylan Clarke and Ryan Cramer scored in the first 5:39 of the game before Steffes made good on a penalty shot against the CHL's best goalie, Mark Guggenberger, for a 3-0 lead.
In the second period Mike Ullrich got the lone goal from in front of the net to make it 4-0. In the third period Steffes and Michel Beausoleil scored power-play goals, which Ramsay liked the best.
"Our best period was the third," he said. "We outshot them 15-2 and had a bunch of great scoring opportunities."
Keserich gave credit to his teammates for making his third shutout look easy.
"I enjoy playing against their team," Keserich said of Texas. "We play a real defensive style and tonight our team did such a great job of clearing the net in front of me. They made it easy for me."
The victory allowed the Oilers to pull within two points of Rio Grande Valley with two games remaining for both teams.
The Oilers travel for a game Saturday night at Missouri then conclude the regular season Sunday afternoon at the BOK Center with Missouri.
"We need to bring that effort out tomorrow night as we are within two points of the (Rio Grande Valley) Killer Bees," Ramsay said. "Hopefully, Laredo can do us a favor and go out there and steal a victory or two.
"It is good to see after we were down by eight points. I am really happy no matter what happens with this team. We had a tough schedule this year. Fifty of our 66 games this year were against teams that were in the playoffs."
TULSA 6, TEXAS 0
First Period: 1, Tulsa, Clarke 26 (Solway) 4:58. 2, Tulsa, Cramer 16 (Standish) 5:39. 3, Tulsa, Steffes 21 (penalty shot) 15:21. Penalties: Tulsa, Steffes (tripping) 13:11. Tulsa, Fleck (hooking) 18:06.
Second Period: 4, Tulsa, Ullrich 29 (Steffes, Clarke) 10:24. Penalties: Texas, Barr (slashing) 13:47. Texas, Meadows (fighting major) 17:36. Tulsa, Ofukany (fighting major) 17:36. Tulsa, Terminesi (tripping) 19:21.
Third Period: 5, Tulsa, Steffes 22 (Erickson, Ullrich) 3:01 (pp). 6, Tulsa, Beausoleil 18 (Solway, Ofukany) 10:25 (pp). Penalties: Texas, Rouleau (boarding) 1:08. Texas, Nicholls (tripping) 1:40. Texas, Barr (fighting major) 5:08. Tulsa, Sheldrake (fighting major) 5:08. Texas, Nutkevitch (interference) 8:55. Tulsa, Ullrich (elbowing) 11:38. Texas, Nicholls (interference) 19:51.
Power Plays: Texas 0-4. Tulsa 2-5.
Shots: Texas 9-7-2 - 18. Tulsa 9-11-15 - 35.
Saves: Texas, Guggenberger 6-10-13 - 29. Tulsa, Keserich 9-7-2 - 18.
Referee: Zac Blazic. A: 5,677.
Central Hockey League
Original Print Headline: Oilers shut out Texas, keep playoff hopes alive
7:05 p.m. Saturday
at BOK Center
4:05 p.m. Sunday
Tulsa's Travis Mealy (5) checks Texas' Chris Moran into the boards during their Central Hockey League game Friday night at the BOK Center. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
Tulsa players celebrate after their win over Texas on Friday night at the BOK Center. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World