TULSA, Okla. – The Oilers were only 54 seconds from the finish line on Tuesday night but ended up on the wrong side of a 3-2 shootout decision with the Wichita Thunder. Tulsa needed to hang on for less than a minute to claim an impressive victory over their biggest rival and snap a two-game skid, but Matt Robinson and David Brown dashed the Oilers hopes in dramatic fashion.
With the contest knotted at 1-1 halfway through the third period, Oilers forward Kyle Bochek backhanded his own rebound past Brown to give Tulsa its first lead of the night. Bochek, back in the lineup after missing the previous five games, netted his 15th goal of the season off assists by Todd Robinson and Ryan Menei. Still clinging to the 2-1 advantage as time ticked away, Oilers defenseman Craig Cescon was whistled for tripping with 58 seconds remaining in regulation. With Cescon in the box and Brown at the Thunder bench, Wichita lined up for the ensuing face off with a 6-on-4 advantage. To the Oilers horror, the puck bounced from the face off circle to the slot area in front of Madolora and Robinson was there to snap it past the Tulsa goalie with just 54 seconds showing on the clock.
In the extra session, Ryan Menei and Eric Tallent were both robbed at close range by Brown and the Oilers found themselves in a shootout for the first time since November 27 at St. Charles. Both goaltenders stood tall through four rounds of the shootout and Menei missed the net on Tulsa’s fifth attempt which left the game on the stick of Thunder forward R.G. Flath. The Wichita center sizzled a wrist shot past Madolora to clinch the triumph and the extra point for the Thunder.
Wichita won its fifth straight while the Oilers suffered a third straight setback on home ice and dipped to 2-3 in shootouts this season.
Bochek recorded his 12th multi-point game of the season and Michel Beausoleil scored his team-high 24th goal of the season with a second period tally that moved him into a tie with Rapid City’s Konrad Reeder for second place in the CHL goal race.
The Oilers will conclude their season-long six-game home stand on Friday, January 27 at 7:35 p.m. against the Missouri Mavericks.
With Tulsa Oilers team release
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