Tulsa scored five unanswered goals at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center on Friday night, storming back to beat Rapid City, jumping past the Rush into fourth place in the Mountain Division.
The Oilers started with an early power play, something that has evaded them in recent outings, but the result was less than desirable. Tyler Coulter tipped a point-to-point pass to send himself on a short-handed breakaway. Devin Williams stopped Coulter’s chance, but Stephane Legault followed up with his own chance, opening the scoring 5:41 into the game. The Oilers’ next power play was much more fruitful. Tesink put the puck toward the net, allowing Danny Moynihan to roof a rebound over Tyler Parks with five seconds remaining on the man advantage, tying the game 1-1 8:50 in.
Rapid City once again got out to an early start in the frame. Dane Birks scored the first even-strength goal of the game, stepping into a shot from the blue line and blasting it over Williams to give the Rush their second lead of the game just 2:17 into the second period. Peter Quenneville added to his team’s lead a little more than 10 minutes later with a power-play goal of his own. The captain popped one past Williams at the 12:40 mark of the period, bringing the game 3-1 in Rapid City’s favor. Tulsa’s captain had an answer of his own. Miles Liberati found Adam Pleskach with a pass to the right-wing wall. Pleskach stepped into the circle before ripping a chance under the arm of Parks to cut the Rush lead to just one at the 17:10 mark. Tulsa tied the game just 1:39 later. Hunter Drew walked in from the blue line, cranking the puck toward Parks, who couldn’t track a deflection made by a streaking Charlie Sampair. The goal was Sampair’s 17th of the season and pulled the game even at threes with just 1:11 remaining in the second period.
Neither team could score in the first half of the final period, but Pleskach found the back of the net with 8:20 remaining in the game to give the Oilers three unanswered goals and their first lead of the night. Liberati then gave the Oilers breathing room, scoring at the 17:33 mark of the final period to give Tulsa a 5-3 lead over the Rush. Liberati stepped in from the point and sent a blast into the bottom-right corner of Parks’ cage. Moynihan topped things off with a center-ice, empty netter with just 51 seconds left to close out the scoring, giving the forward both the first and last Oilers’ goals on the night.
These two teams will meet again tomorrow night at 8:05 p.m. CST before facing off at 5:05 p.m. CST on Sunday. Both games will take place at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Tulsa and Rapid City will play just one more time this season after the weekend series.