DENVER, Colo. – A series of dramatic swings in momentum and emotions ended in bitter disappointment on Wednesday night for the Tulsa Oilers. J.P. Chabot tipped the game-winning goal past Shane Madolora at 12:18 of overtime to give the Denver Cutthroats a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Oilers in Game 3 of the first round playoff series. Denver holds a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 slated for Friday evening at the Denver Coliseum.
The contest was scoreless for nearly 39 minutes until Denver center Troy Schwab connected on wrist shot from the high slot. Schwab notched his third goal of the series and the Cutthroats carried a 1-0 advantage into the third period.
The home team was able to sustain its lead into the closing minutes of regulation but the Oilers would not go quietly. At 15:23, Ryan Barlock’s blast from the blue was re-directed past Kent Patterson by Ben Gordon whose third tally of the series leveled the contest at 1-1. Rookie forward Blair Macaulay gave the Oilers their first and only lead of the night at 17:39 when he rushed down the left-wing boards and solved Patterson with a deke through the five-hole. Macaulay’s second goal of the postseason put the Oilers in a position to close out the Cutthroats, but the Fish wasted little time in finding the equalizer. After T.J Fox’s shot created a rebound, Denver defenseman Mikael Tam slammed the loose puck through Madolora with just 1:16 remaining in regulation. Three goals in the final four and a half minutes of the third period sent the game into overtime knotted at 2-2.
Despite outshooting the Cutthroats 9-3 in the extra frame, the Oilers were unable to beat Patterson who finished the night with 40 saves on 42 shots. Cutthroats blue-liner Steve Kaunisto fired toward the Tulsa net at 12:18 and Chabot, who planted himself in front of Madolora was able to get a piece of the puck and put it home. Complete jubilation for the Cutthroats, heartbreak for the Oilers.
Tulsa went 0-for-5 on the power play and is now 0-for-13 in the series on the man-advantage. Madolora made 36 saves in a losing effort and after allowing Denver to strike twice on the power play in Game 2, the Oilers penalty kill shut down all four Cutthroats power play chances in Game 3.
With Tulsa Oilers team release
Contact the photographer: Ed.Bailey@prohockeynews.com