Rookie goaltender expected to work Tulsa Oilers' home opener
BY JOHN RITTENOURE World Correspondent
Friday, October 26, 2012
10/26/12 at 5:08 AM
The Tulsa Oilers are more than ready to play their first home game of the 2012-13 Central Hockey League season. The anticipation has been building since training camp, and Friday night the Oilers host the Quad City Mallards at the BOK Center.
Seven players are making their Tulsa debut with what coach Bruce Ramsay says is his most experienced team since coming to Tulsa four years ago. However, Ramsay has slated a rookie to start in goal.
Dan Bakala was key in the Oilers' 4-3 victory over Wichita last Friday. Tulsa is 1-1 after opening the season on the road last weekend.
Bakala made 25 saves out of 28 shots on goal against the defending regular-season champions.
"It was exciting and a little nerve-wracking," Bakala said. "You don't know what you are getting yourself into. It is nice when the team plays well in front of you and lets you ease into the game."
Bakala says he had little notice that he would start the opener.
"I knew the day of," Bakala said. "You try and get prepared whether you are playing or not. I was thinking about the game and making sure I was ready and would stay focused."
That might have played a part in Ramsay's decision to go with a rookie goaltender.
"Sometimes coaches just go with their intuition, and that was mine at the time," said Ramsay, who expects to use Bakala in the home opener. "Ian Keserich is a very good goaltender too, but my intuition told me to go with Bakala."
Ramsay first heard about Bakala through Oilers player Drew Fisher, and the more he learned about the 24-year-old, the more he liked.
"He had an outstanding college career at Bemidji State, a school that plays in one of the toughest Division I college leagues in the country, and put up outstanding numbers there," Ramsay said. "I think he has a bright future. He handles the puck very well, is very agile and very quick. He is muscular and works out a lot.
"There are some things he needs to work on, but there is a lot of potential there."
Oilers weekend schedule
What: Tulsa vs. Quad City, Fort Worth.
When: 7:35 p.m. Friday, 4:05 p.m. Sunday
Where: BOK Center
Original Print Headline: Oilers' rookie goaltender set for home opener
Friday: first 1,500 fans will receive schedule magnets courtesy of Warren Clinic Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.
Sunday: Papa John's Family Fun Day. Skate with the Oilers after the game.