Oilers hand Fuel first loss of season
TULSA, Okla. (IndyFuel.com) - The Indy Fuel (2-1-0-0) suffered their first setback of the 2016-17 season Friday night as they fell 6-1 to the Tulsa Oilers (2-0-0-0) at the BOK Center. After a tightly-contested opening period, the Oilers broke the game wide open by putting on a special teams clinic for the opening night crowd – tallying twice on the power play and adding a shorthanded goal to turn a 1-1 deficit into a commanding lead. In all, it was five unanswered goals and a perfect performance on the penalty kill that gave the home team a lopsided victory in the first-ever meeting between Indy and Tulsa.
Forward Darcy Murphy scored twice on the man advantage early in the second period to give the Oilers a 3-1 edge, before Dan DeSalvo stretched the lead to three soon after on an extended Fuel power play. With Reid Halabi serving a double-minor, DeSalvo sprung loose on a shorthanded breakaway, beating Indy goaltender Jake Hildebrand for a 4-1 advantage at 8:43 of the middle frame.
Tulsa added a pair of markers in the third period to put the game away. Forward Adam Pleskach netted his second of the season and the evening at 4:49, before Shawn Bates finished the damage 17:25 with a goal off of an offensive zone draw. On top of the two-goal outings by Murphy and Pleskach, four other Oilers finished with multiple points, including DeSalvo (1g, 1a), Emerson Clark (2a), Wes Cunningham (2a) and Kale Kessy (2a).
The game started with a flurry of activity, with both clubs trading goals within the first 2:14 of play. Pleskach opened the scoring at 1:10, picking up his own rebound on a short rush on Hildebrand, before Tyler Currier answered for the Fuel just over a minute later. Currier now has goals in two straight games for Indy, both serving to put his team on the board.
The Fuel had plenty of chances to get back into the game with the man advantage, but could not capitalize. Indy finished the night 0-for-5 on the power play, coming up empty on a brief 5-on-3 power play, Halabi’s double-minor, and a five-minute major penalty to Clark during a third-period altercation. Through three games the Fuel are scoreless on nine chances with the extra man – while giving up a shorthanded goal.
Hildebrand, the reigning CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week, was saddled with the loss after turning away 25 shots. Jamie Phillips recorded his second victory of the campaign with 21 saves.
Indy finishes a three-game road trip Saturday with a visit to the Missouri Mavericks. Puck drop from Silverstein Eye Centers Arena is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.