TULSA, Okla. – Resting several of their stars and playing with just 14 skaters for the most of the evening, the Tulsa Oilers closed out the 2013-14 regulars season with a 2-0 loss to the Denver Cutthroats in front of 5,146 at the BOK Center. The loss, coupled with a victory by the Brampton Beast earlier in the afternoon, gives the Oilers the number seven seed in the upcoming CHL playoffs where they will meet the Cutthroats in a best-of-seven first round series.
Sunday’s contest was scoreless for 39 minutes until Steve Kaunisto’s wrist shot was re-directed into the Tulsa net by Denver forward Matt Glasser. The Cutthroats carried a 1-0 advantage into the third period.
A.J. Gale buried a pass from Garett Bembridge at 7:33 of the third period to provide the visitors with a two-goal cushion. The Oilers fired just one shot on goal in the final frame and were shutout for the fourth time this season. Tulsa ended the season series against Denver with a 1-4-1 record.
Tulsa finished the season with an overall record of 34-29-3 with 17 of those victories on home ice and 17 wins on the road. The Oilers mark is a 12-win improvement from last season and the second-largest win differential from one season to the next in franchise history. After missing the postseason for two straight seasons, the Oilers are back in the hunt for the Ray Miron President’s Cup for the first time since 2011.
Ben Gordon, named Oilers MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in a pre-game ceremony, ended his second season in Tulsa as the team leader in goals (36) and points (89). Four players – Nathan Lutz, Craig Cescon, Drew Fisher, and Michel Beausoleil – appeared in all 66 games and goaltender Shane Madolora recorded 29 wins, just three shy of the single-season franchise record.
Tulsa’s postseason run begins on Friday, April 4 at 7:35 p.m. at the BOK Center in Game 1 against the Cutthroats.
With Tulsa Oilers team release
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