(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Tulsa Oilers went 2/3 on the power play, and Charlie Sampair had a hand in every goal as the shorthanded squad defeated the Rapid City Rush by a 3-1 score on Wednesday night. The game marks the first in a four-game-in-five-night stretch, which will take them across two cities.
Alexandre Ranger provided the only goal of the first period in the final minute of action. On his team’s second power play of the game with 53.8 seconds remaining in the stanza, Ranger warded off stick checks and fired a shot that beat Rush net-minder Christian Frey to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes (Erik Drapluk and Charlie Sampair assisted).
Tulsa’s advantage doubled over the midway point of the second on a play that started from the crease. On the Oilers final power play of the game with 7:48 left in the second, Oilers goalie Devin Williams, from his own crease, launched a “Hail Mary” that connected with Sampair as he crossed the Rush blue line. Sampair elected to drop back to the captain, Adam Pleskach, who rifled a shot under the glove of Frey and in, giving the Oilers a 2-0 lead after two periods (Sampair and Williams assisted).
The Rush eventually struck after being held scoreless for 53:12 of hockey, and came within striking distance of Tulsa. With 7:48 left in the game, Peter Sivak took a neutral zone turn over into the Oilers zone, and squeaked by his oncoming assailant as he entered, creating a partial two-on-one break. Sivak decided to shoot instead of pass, and fired a laser over the shoulder of Williams to cut the Rush deficit late to 2-1 (the goal was unassisted). Unfortunately for the Rush, that was as close as they would come to Tulsa, who received an empty-net tally from Garrett Ladd with under a minute remaining to take a 3-1 win, and an all-important 2 points in the standings to earn sole possession of the 4th place position in the Mountain Division.
Christian Frey suffered the loss, stopping 37 of 39 shots in the effort (3-11-2-1).
The Rush continue their busy week of hockey with a “three-in-three” two different cities. The rally continues Friday night, March 9th, as the Rush host the archrival Colorado Eagles for their final series ever with the Eagles moving to the AHL next season. Puck drop at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST.