Gordon’s solid play keeping Tulsa in playoff race

Ben Gordon celebrates a goal / Photo by Les Stockton

TULSA, Okla. – For the second week in a row, Tulsa’s Ben Gordon was given the Central Hockey League’s Player of the Week award, and with the way Gordon has been playing recently, it is no surprise.

The second-year Oilers forward and sixth year pro has scored 13 goals and added seven assists in the last eight games. In the last week alone, Gordon has recorded two hat-tricks. He currently leads the CHL with five hat-tricks this season and is ranked third in the league in scoring with 73 points.

Oilers Head Coach Bruce Ramsay was quick to praise not only Gordon’s play, but also that of his linemates, Adam Pleskach (30 G, 21 A – 51 points) and Ryan Menei (9 G, 35 A – 44 points).

“He’s playing with two really good linemates and they seem to really gel and feed off of each other,” said Ramsay. “Ben’s been playing good hockey lately, not just scoring, but at both ends of the ice,” he said.

Ramsay added that Gordon has excelled since moving from left wing to the center position.

“Since he’s started playing full time at center, he’s really turned his game on and it’s been great to see that whole line producing as well as they have and it’s resulted in a lot of victories,” said Ramsay.

In the last eight games, the Oilers are 7-1-0, making them one of the hottest teams in the CHL. During Gordon’s current five-game point streak, Tulsa is 4-1-0. Gordon has contributed 15 points in those five games. The International Falls, Minnesota native is a big reason why the Oilers are 8-1-0 in the month of February.

Tulsa currently sits in seventh place in the CHL standings, two points behind the Brampton Beast and three points ahead of the eighth place Arizona Sundogs. Ninth-place Wichita are seven points behind Tulsa with two games-in-hand. The top eight teams at the end of the 66-game regular season advance to the playoffs.

With six of their 13 remaining games against the rival Wichita Thunder, including Friday night, the Oilers will gladly take as many points as Gordon can contribute.

Gordon came to Tulsa during the 2012-13 season after spending the previous year playing for Düsseldorfer EG of the German Ice Hockey League. Prior to that, he saw action in 25 AHL games with five teams and played three years in the ECHL where he recorded 68 goals and 115 assists. During the 2009-10 season, while with the Reading Royals, Gordon contributed 24 goals. That figure would stand as his career high until he moved to Tulsa.

Gordon battles to put the puck in the net / Photo by Les Stockton

Last season, the University of Minnesota Alum netted 26 goals and 40 assists during a 52-game campaign. Gordon chipped in four game-winning goals while producing 19 multiple-point games.

The 29 year-old has surpassed last years totals already, scoring 34 goals and dishing out 39 assists for 73 points in just 50 games this season. He has netted five game winners, 19 multiple-point games and six multiple-point games while maintaining a .164 shot percentage.

Ramsay said that his improved numbers are due to a combination of his linemates and Gordon’s abilities.

“He’s an incredible hockey player that has put up good numbers in the past and we’ve always said he was going to be capable of being one of the best players in the league and now he’s proving that,” he said.

According to Ramsay, it is important that Gordon, along with Pleskach and Menei continue producing points, especially with veteran point scorer Todd Robinson out of the lineup due to injury.

Looking at the stats, points from Gordon also seems to boost Tulsa’s chances of winning.

Through the last two seasons Tulsa is 27-19-4 in games that Gordon scores and just 7-19-1 when he doesn’t register a point. This season the Oilers have a record of 14-8-2 when Gordon scores, and 4-9-1 when he doesn’t.

The Tulsa Oilers bench congratulates Gordon on a goal / Photo by Les Stockton

Those numbers, along with his stats this year, prove just how valuable Ben Gordon is to the Tulsa Oilers as they head into the final playoff push.

Contact the writer: john.hall@prohockeynews.com

Contact the photographer: les.stockton@prohockeynews.com


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