TULSA, Okla. – Garett Bembridge stole the show Saturday night, netting a hat-trick and an assist as the Denver Cutthroats claimed a 4-2 win over the Tulsa Oilers before 2,837 fans at the BOK Center, evening the best-of-seven series 1-1.
For the second game in a row, Tulsa out-shot Denver, this time by a 34-21 margin. Denver finally cracked Tulsa’s penalty kill, scoring twice on the man advantage while Tulsa was blanked on four chances.
Denver jumped out to the lead early in the game, grabbing a 1-0 advantage on a goal by Troy Schwab. 39-seconds in, Schwab collected a pass from Bembridge around the boards and sent it past Shane Madolora for the lead. Tulsa answered back around two and a half minutes later on a highlight-reel goal from Ben Gordon. At 3:06 of the opening period Adam Pleskach dished the puck from the left circle to Ryan Menei, who in turn slipped it ahead to Gordon who beat Kent Patterson to tie the game.
Neither team managed to find the net in the second period, as both defenses took control of the game. The Oilers did pepper Patterson with several shots during a powerplay opportunity, but were denied. Tulsa held a 13-7 shot advantage in the middle frame.
Tied 1-1, Bembridge went to work in the third period, scoring three times.
At 4:54 of the third, with Drew Fisher in the penalty box, Bembridge netted his first score on a one-timer to give the Cutthroats a 2-1 lead with A.J. Gale and Jean-Philipp Chabot picking up the assists. Gordon would once again knot the score, this time just 22-seconds after Bembridge’s first strike. Gordon closed out a breakaway, lifting a backhand over Patterson to make it 2-2. Assists were awarded to Menei and Jake Obermeyer.
Bembridge took over from there, though, scoring twice within three-minute period to ice the game. At 8:07 Bembridge sent another one-timer past Madolora on the powerplay with Gale and Steve Kaunisto getting the helpers to make it a 3-2 Denver advantage. He completed his hat-trick bid at 11:08, beating Madolora on a pass from Schwab with Gale picking up the secondary assist.
Tulsa would attempt to chip away at the score, but the damage was already done and the Cutthroats would leave the ice with a 4-2 win.
The series now shifts to the Denver Coliseum for the next three games. Game three is scheduled for Wednesday night, with games four and five set to take place on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively.
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