TULSA - On a night that saw an ECHL-high 93 shots on goal, it would take an overtime marker by Tulsa Oilers leading scorer Adam Pleskach to eventually pull out the 5-4 victory over a feisty Brampton Beast squad on the road in front of a thunderous crowd of 7771 fans at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The story of the first 20 minutes was the constant trips to the penalty box for both squads. The Beast and Oilers would combine for 22 PIMS in the first frame beginning with a hooking call on Rob Ricci. Ricci would redeem himself when the dust settled on the early barrage of penalties, finding the back of the net on the powerplay with a tip-in goal at 14:44 in the first.
An interference penalty with less than two minutes left in the first frame allowed the Ricci-McCready connection to flourish once again, this time with McCready firing a slapshot from the right faceoff circle to beat netminder Kevin Miller up high and extend the Beast lead to 2-0 with only five seconds remaining in the period.
Things began to unravel for the Beast in the second period, with rookie sensation Jeff Jubinville scoring his ninth goal of the season by being Johnny on the spot and tapping a rebound past Trevor Cann at the 5:42 mark. Things got worse after Justin Donati was called for a questionable tripping penalty and we saw the first negative aspect of the Double Donati effect when twin brother Tyler followed him to the box after drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play.
The next two minutes saw the Beast in survival mode with Trevor Cann having to make a number of great saves regularly having to go post to post to deny the Oilers from hitting pay dirt. Braydon Rose blocked a slapshot in the back from point blank range and all in all the Beast were able to escape unharmed.
The Oilers second period shooting onslaught would continue for the remainder of the period, with the home team eventually solving Cann late. After the Beast tender made the initial save on a slapshot from the slot, Jubinville was able to tap the loose puck over to Drew Fisher who then put it across the goal line and knotted the game up at two goals a piece at 14:38 in the second period.
The Oilers nearly took the lead late in the frame but it was “Cann the Mann” putting in his early bid for save of the year when he found himself out of position and having to dive across the mouth of the goal stopping the Oilers’ T.J. Caig’s wraparound try with the tip of his glove leaving the Tulsa crowd stunned. The Oilers would end up outshooting the Beast by an unfathomable 31-7 in the second period.
The third period would see the Beast continue to get outshot but it was Captain Cal Wild who struck first blood in the period and retook the lead when he jumped all over a bad bounce after Kevin Carr misplayed the puck. Wild made him pay by snapping it past his diving save attempt for his 5th goal of the season.
The Oilers continued to fight back and evened the game back up at three when Kyle O’Kane redirected a shot from the point past Cann at the midway mark of the period. The frantic third period continued when Justin Donati left the Tulsa crowd speechless after burying a slapshot from centre ice that somehow got behind Carr at the 16:04 mark. The Oilers weren’t going down in that fashion and not even two minutes later, Drew Fisher made a great play to dance around three Beast defenders and score his 2nd goal of the night with just over two minutes left in regulation, before scoring the winner in overtime.
The Beast will look to shake off the tough loss tomorrow night in Missouri when they take on the Mavericks at the Independence Events Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:35 PM ET. You can listen live at www.4cornersradio.ca. The Beast return home the weekend of January 16-18 for a three-game set against the Montreal Canadiens affiliate the Wheeling Nailers. Friday’s game will feature a Guns and Hoses themed game, where the Brampton Fire and Police Departments will square off in a charity game raising funds for Regen Brampton at 5:30, with puck drop for the Beast at 7:30. Tickets can be purchased online at bramptonbeast.com or by calling 905 564 1684.