Tulsa, Okla. (January 21st) – Matt Robinson and RG Flath provided some late heroics as Wichita (16-17-4) got by Tulsa (19-19-3) 3-2 in a shootout at the BOK Center on Tuesday night. Robinson scored four seconds into a power play with less than a minute to go in regulation that tied the game and Flath recorded the shootout winner in the bottom of round five. The Thunder is 3-3-1 against Tulsa this season in the StoneWolf Casino Cup Series. The win extends Wichita’s streak to five games, which is a season-high.
Wichita started out with the early momentum in the first period as Jon Booras stole a loose puck at the Thunder line, came down with Matt Robinson on a two-on-one, but the shot went wide of the Oilers’ net. At 9:27, Mike Wilson gave the Thunder a 1-0 lead as he fired a wrist shot off a face-off that clanked off the cross bar and beat Shane Madolora for his sixth of the season. Tulsa started to get chances later in the frame as Ryan Menei caught a cross-ice pass and just missed the glove-side of David Brown. A few minutes later, Todd Robinson fired a slap shot from the slot that went wide. Despite being out-shot 11-6 in the first 20 minutes, Wichita took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room.
In the second, Tulsa evened the score with a goal from Michel Beausoleil at 6:24. He stole the puck at the right circle, skated towards the slot and fired a wrist shot just under the blocker of Brown for his 24th of the season. Wichita got a couple of late chances, but were held to seven shots and a two-period total of 13 shots on net.
Kyle Bochek gave the Oilers a 2-1 advantage at 9:23 of the third period when he grabbed his own rebound and flipped it past Brown, who made a terrific save on the first opportunity. Wichita started to play with more urgency down the stretch and out-shot the Oilers 14-8 in the final frame. With 58 seconds remaining, Craig Cescon took down Jared Walker in the right circle and was called for tripping. Wichita used its time-out before the ensuing face-off. Booras won the draw right to the slot and Matt Robinson blasted it past Madolora tying the game at two. For the third time in the last five games, the Thunder needed extra time to decide the outcome.
After a scoreless overtime that saw both teams come up short, the shootout was needed. Neither team found the back of the net through the first four rounds. Matt Robinson, Matt Summers, Booras and Tomas Klempa were all unsucessful against Madolora while Brown stopped Beausoleil, Todd Robinson, Adam Pleskach, Ben Gordon and Menei in round five. At the bottom of round five, Flath skated out wide, angled back to the left hash-mark and put a wrist shot past Madolora for the game-winner.
With the win, Wichita improves to 4-1 in shootout situations and has won four-straight in games being decided in penalty shots. Wichita has also won the last five games that have gone past regulation, which includes Sunday’s overtime win. Thunder hands the Oilers their first home loss past regulation. Flath extended his point-streak to five games with his game-winning goal. Wilson has goals in three of the last four contests. Booras has points in four-straight, assisting on the game-tying goal. Brown collected his fourth-straight win, stopping 33 of 35 shots. Madolora suffers his first loss past regulation, stopping 28 of 30 shots he faced.
Wichita went 1-for-5 on the power play. Tulsa was 0-for-4.
Wichita heads to the Black Hills for the first time this season for a pair of games against the Rapid City Rush beginning on Friday night at 8:05 p.m. CST.
With Wichita Thunder team release
Contact the photographer: Ed.Bailey@prohockeynews.com