Menei scores four to rally Oilers past Rush
BY JOHN RITTENOURE World Correspondent
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
2/06/13 at 4:28 AM
The Tulsa Oilers are trying to pull themselves out of the Central Hockey League cellar, and it just might happen if Ryan Menei has anything to say about it.
Menei closed out the Oilers' homestand with four goals Tuesday night to lead Tulsa (16-27-3) to a 5-2 victory over the Rapid City Rush (21-19-5) at the BOK Center.
In three games last week, Menei amassed seven goals and four assists for CHL Player of the Week honors. That just might carry over another week as Menei now has 11 goals in four games and two hat tricks in the past two games.
It was the Oilers' fourth straight victory and fifth in a row at home.
"The stars were all aligned for me tonight," said Menei when asked about his recent success. "Playing with guys like Ben Gordon and Drew Fisher, they are so skilled and are giving me the puck right now.
"It gives me confidence and I am just happy we are winning games right now. Confidence is a funny thing. If you have it, you are untouchable. Earlier in the season I did not have it."
During the past homestand, Gordon and Fisher have teamed with Menei to make them the hottest trio in the CHL. Gordon, who scored the third goal Tuesday to start the third period, has three goals and 12 assists and Fisher has four goals and four assists.
Menei is hoping to carry that momentum on the road this weekend at Wichita and Missouri.
"We are going to make a run here," Menei said. "A playoff push. Four in a row and it starts again Friday in Wichita."
Oilers coach Bruce Ramsay felt since the start of the season that Menei would be a good hockey player.
"He is doing what we brought him in to do," Ramsay said. "They (Menei, Gordon, Fisher) were doing well at the start of the season, but nothing was going our way. I had faith in both him and Ben Gordon that they were capable of getting great things done.
"It has been pretty consistent for a while and they have taken the team on their backs. Once again they were there for us when we needed it the most."
Leading 2-1 to start the third period, the Oilers scored three goals, the last one an empty-net goal by Menei, to ice the victory.
The Oilers fell behind 2-0 in the first period until Menei pulled Tulsa into a 2-2 tie at 3:06 of the second period.
Jesse Schultz put a shorthanded shot past the glove hand of Oilers goalie Shane Madolora four minutes into the game, then Winston Day Chief slapped a shot that went under the legs of Madolora at 12:02.
Menei put the Oilers back in the game with his first goal just four seconds after Day Chief scored for the Rush.
Notes: Tulsa plays at Wichita on Friday and at Missouri on Saturday. The next home game is Sunday at 4:05 p.m. against the first-place Allen Americans.
OILERS 5, RUSH 2
First Period: 1, Rapid City, Schultz, 7 (Brown) 4:08 (sh). 2, Rapid City, Day Chief, 2 (VanderVeeken, Weselowski) 12:02. 3, Tulsa, Menei, 23 (Fisher, Buvinow) 12:16. Penalties: Rapid City, Wray (slashing) 2:48. Tulsa, Barlock (tripping) 6:26. Tulsa, Fleck (roughing) 13:02. Rapid City, Sawyer (roughing, elbowing double minor) 13:02. Tulsa, Cramer (roughing) 17:51. Rapid City, Behler (roughing) 17:51.
Second Period: 2, Tulsa, Menei, 24 (Gordon) 3:06. Penalties: Rapid City, Wray (slashing) 1:05. Rapid City, VanderVeeken (hooking) 3:18. Tulsa, Barlock (cross checking) 7:51. Tulsa, Menei (too many men) 11:16. Rapid City, Gruenke (hooking) 16:03. Rapid City, Konkle (slashing) 18:36.
Third Period: 5, Tulsa, Gordon, 24 (Fisher, Buvinow) 8:51 (pp). 6, Tulsa, Menei, 25 (Gordon) 16:07. 7, Tulsa Menei, 26 (Fleck, Gordon, empty net) 19:32. Penalties: Tulsa, Flamminio (tripping) :59. Rapid City, Peto (tripping) 7:34. Rapid City, Wray (slashing, roughing double minor) 11:33. Tulsa, Erickson (roughing) 11:33. Tulsa, Amesbury (unsportsmanlike conduct) 11:33. Rapid City, Brannon (slashing, roughing double minor) 11:33.
Power plays: Rapid City, 0-4. Tulsa, 1-7.
Shots: Rapid City, 13-9-8 - 30. Tulsa, 8-8-11 - 27.
Saves: Rapid City, Battochio 7-7-8 - 22. Tulsa, Madolora 11-9-8 - 28.
Referee: Brent Coulombe. A: 3,213.
Tulsa Oilers forward Ben Gordon (left) is chased by Rapid City Rush defenseman Kyle Peto during a Central Hockey League game at the BOK Center on Tuesday. KEVIN PYLE / For the Tulsa World